Ratchet & Clank: Up Your Arsenal

Content review for this game:
Pertaining to the ESRB rating and My age rating.

Gameplay sum up: The basic formula in every Ratchet & Clank game is: land on a planet, destroy enemies in your way, get to the other end of that planet, watch a cutscene, find out what planet to go to next, and repeat. During these missions you'll mostly be shooting and hitting things, but you'll also be jumping and/or hovering (with the help of Clank) from platform to platform, collecting bolts (currency), grinding on rails, walking on magnetized walls, swimming, sky diving, flying, and many other things during the course of the game. In addition to the base formula, this adds a main hub in the form of the starship, Phoenix, where you can play Qwark vid-comics (explained later), train, buy weapon and armor upgrades, and change the appearance of your spaceship.

Every level has dozens of breakable crates scattered throughout; filled with bolts, health, and ammo. Enemies also shed bolts when you destroy them, and act as the game's currency for buying and upgrading all of your weapons. All levels have more than one weapon kiosk, which is used to buy new weapons and ammo. Weapons will also level up automatically (and gradually) the more you use them, resulting in increased fire power and new abilities.

The majority of the platforming will be done using Clank. He sits on Ratchet's back like a backpack, and (by the third level) is equipped with a built-in, mini helicopter that comes from his head, which is used to hover over small gaps, and jump extra high to reach normally unreachable platforms. To traverse larger gaps, Ratchet will use the Swingshot, which will grab onto certain hooks in the sky, and swing him to the other end. Other than using it as a weapon, Ratchet will use his wrench to open certain doors, by grabbing onto unscrewed bolts and turning them until the door opens. Ratchet will also have to use other devices to get through an area; like the Refractor, which is used to bend and redirect lasers, and in turn, open doors. And disguise himself as a Tyhrranoid, then play a mini-game where you match up the buttons on screen in the right timing, which will have them disable force-fields on the other side.

A few key moments in the game put you in the shoes of Clank. Clank can enter smaller places than Ratchet, and activate devices to further progress certain levels. Although Clank isn't equipped with guns, he can hit things with his fists and control groups of fellow robots. Clank will use these robots to traverse the area by giving them commands (with the quick weapon select menu) like Attack, Follow, Wait—and he'll also have to have a certain amount of them to unlock doors and progress to the end.

In additon to controlling the robots, Clank now has a gun that shoots bananas, which is used to command his monkey side-kick, Skrunch. Clank can use this device to shoot the bananas onto hard-to-reach buttons. Skrunch will then follow the banana, and stand on the button, which will open doors and extend bridges. Clank can also use this to shoot bananas into the path of gun-equipped security spotlights, and let Skrunch distract them, while Clank sneaks by unscathed. Another area has a giant Clank fight on a set of a miniature city (he's filming a movie), while fighting (godzilla-style) with robot ninjas and another oversized monster.

Like the last game, There's one planet that gives you access to the arena. The arena is a place where you can compete in multiple matches, which pit you against dozens of opponents, with a variety of obstacles and objectives. After completing an event, you'll earn a set amount of bolts. Other than just fighting enemies, the arena has specific objectives, like beat enemies before time runs out, don't get hit even once, finish the round before you're knocked out by gas, etc. This also adds the arena-like battle mode. These have a missions' select screen, just like the arena, and award you bolts upon completion. However, unlike the arena, the battle mode is integrated into the main game. In these events, you'll compete alongside allied robot rangers, as you fight dozens of enemies, while trying to take back bases and get turrets up and working with your wrench—a couple of these missions also put you in a hovership.

The Qwark vid-comics are available to play in the Phoenix, and are a video game within a game. You acquire chapters of these vid-comic gradually, and play as Qwark through several side-scrolling levels, while punching and shooting enemies, jumping from platform to platform, and then fighting a boss at the end of each level. Completing these missions will also earn you skill points, bolts (the game's currency), and platinum bolts, which are used to unlock the game's extras.

Crude Humor:

  • There is a spoof-like program on the tv called "Nature's Mysteries," and is like a documentary on Big Foot; one backwater hillbilly states, "He was buck naked and holding a banana...or maybe it wasn't a banana...it could be..."
  • In a later scene, a father tells Ratchet (the main character) that his daughter says Ratchet is good with his hands. Ratchet then starts to say, "Oh, no sir! I swear! That's not..." But then realises that's not what the father meant.
  • In a brief scene, after Ratchet defeats a boss, Qwark (another main character) comes in and steps on one of the dead monster's many eyes, resulting in the squished eye excreeting a green goo/liquid, but it's brief (and cartoony).
  • While Quark argues with a monkey, you hear him say, "It was mating season, how was I suppose to know she was your sister?!" (Quark was raised by monkeys). Later, while looking for Qwark (who has gone missing), Ratchet and Clank come upon Qwark's crashed, abandoned spaceship. Clank finds something in his ship and then says, "We must have just missed him. This pocket Crotchitizer is still warm." Ratchet responds with, "EWW!
  • One of the game's levels places you in a giant sewer, with the main enemy being the Amoeboids. These creatures pretty much resemble a large goopey, green mass of snot, and act as such when you destroy them. You can also collect sewer crystal from giant King Amoeboids, which you can then trade to a side character for bolts (the game's currency). After receiving them, he'll say, "Mmm...fresh from the bowels of a King Amoeboid!"
  • When the main villian, Dr. Nefarious, gets too angry, he short circuits, and then completely freezes up. An audio recording then proceedes to play from his head; it seems to be a soap opera couple making out. Here is an example of the kind of things they say: Janice (name of woman): "Oh, Lance, I can't, it's not right, you're my cousin's uncle's son!" Later in the game another scene apparently continues the conversation: Lance: "That's what makes it so good Janice! Feel it! My heart pounding like an anvil!"
  • There is a side character in this game called "Courtney Gears," a pop singer/dancer (ring any bells?). In one scene, they show one of her music videos, where she dances somewhat provocatively. However, she's just a robot. Later, another scene depicts Courtney Gears kidnapping a side character, and proceeds to strap him into a chair. He then says, "Like, wow, Courtney, I didn't know you where this kinky!" But she replies, "Do you ever shutup!?"

Fantasy violence: (This is the third in the series) While watching tv, Ratchet and Clank tune into a news report about the Tyhrranoids (main villain's lackys), who are attacking Ratchet's home planet of Veldin. After remeding the situation there, they find out this is part of a bigger more insidous plot. The main villain, Dr. Nefarious (who was once humanoid), is planning to use his Biobliterator to turn every organic being in the galaxy into robots. Time to stop this madness...

The story itself is full of silly, slapstick, sarcastic, and clever humor, with several spoof-like documentaries based on Qwark's story like, "[Qwark's real life story has been] Meticulously reconstructed by our crack team of researchers, with the aid of eyewitness accounts, bathroom gossip, wild speculation, and a magic 8-ball." Or later in, "With great reluctance, Qwark accepted his meager fee (100,000,000,000,000 dollars) for his services, and promptly donated the entire sum to the 'Qwark for tots scholarship fund,' a charity providing makeovers, and buxom bimbos for needy people named Qwark." There are also a few spoof-like commercials for Annihilation Nation (that acts as the game's arena), and shows small, wimpy creatures trying to compete in the games and failing miserably. So in other words, it is sarcastic and a bit over-the-top, but pretty harmless, cartoony, and all done in a fun, light tone.

The violence is very fantastical, with mass explosions, crashes, constant fire from the enemy, utter mayhem and frantic chaos. And although you will fight a variety of wild creatures, the majority of your enemy consists of several different types of robots. Ratchet will be fighting them with a couple of dozen (fully upgradeable) weapons. The majority of these weapons have exaggerated and ridiculous fire-power, a gun that creates mini blackholes, a weapon that sucks enemies in like a vacuum, nuclear hand grenades, etc. Ratchet can also attack enemies with his wrench. When Ratchet disposes of an enemy, it will explode into a cloud of bolts (currency), metal (if it's a robot), colorful firework-like particle effects, and/or puffs of smoke. Beyond this, the overall tone of violence is mild, the cutscenes' action is comparable to Looney Toon's over-the-top antics, and the actual gameplay is no worse (in fact, maybe more mild) than the sometimes chaotic and moderately violent cartoons kids watch today.

Mild language: (The ESRB didn't mention this in their rating, although it's mild) Later in the game, Quark is thought to be dead. As they have the funeral, a man speaks about all of Quarks good qualities. One main character starts to say, "What a load of bullsh*t," but is stopped before he can say sh*t.

Content review posted: 03/2008

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