Slow burner delivers the goods

Ratchet remains one of the great video game characters, and it all looks terrific. Images: Supplied
Ratchet remains one of the great video game characters, and it all looks terrific. Images: Supplied
RATCHET & CLANK: DRIFT APART
From: Sony
For: PlayStation 5

★★★★ 

It feels odd to write this but, for a game that likes to throw a million things at you at once and makes it clear the only pace it likes is fast, this is a bit of a slow burner.

In fact, it took me a while before I decided that, yes, the introduction of a beloved franchise to the new console generation has worked really well.

Ratchet & Clank: Drift Apart is the 16th game in the series and the first to harness the power of the PS5.

While it looks wonderful (more on that later), it takes its time to really present and play as a game that comes from this generation and not the last.

You step back into the shoes of Ratchet, the heroic Lombax, alongside robotic sidekick Clank.

I confess I hadn’t dipped into the series for years so was a bit lost with the story at first but can tell you it involves the theft (by Dr Nefarious, naturally) of the extraordinary tool known as the Dimensionator, which can do all sorts of wonderful things with the space-time continuum.

The pair are separated, and up pops a playable female character, Rivet. Switching between the main characters, you must gather resources, explore planets, traverse all sorts of environments and fight lots and lots of enemies with a variety of weapons.

The real "wow" moments come thanks to the randomly generated rifts that have been created by the Dimensionator.

Presenting as a sort of aura-like bubble, they allow you with the press of a single button to launch yourself into a new area or level. No loading screen, not even a hint of lag in the graphic fidelity — it is a credit to the processing power of the PS5, and it really broadens your gameplay options.

You can also have a lot of fun with the weapons, which are typically crazy but offer you loads of variety depending on what sort of enemies you face.

Ratchet remains one of the great video game characters, and both he and Rivet — yes, and old mate Clank as well — bring great joy as you control them and interact with the various worlds around them.

And it does look great. Modern technology has spoiled us — nothing seems that amazing any more — but there are lots of moments that make you sit back and think, um, yes, this is actually quite stunning.

Puzzle solving is challenging without being off-putting, and the upgrading and unlockable mechanics are straightforward.

A minor criticism is that camera views can occasionally be awkward, especially when you are clambering over things like a goat. And if I’m honest, bits of the game do feel a tad same-y after a while.

Overall, though, brilliant stuff. Perhaps the first real game of this generation that makes you feel like waiting six months to get a dang PS5 is worth it.

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