|System: PS3||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Insomniac||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: SCEA (SONY)||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Oct. 23, 2007||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone 10+||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
You'll need all the help you can get though, as Ratchet and Clank's latest conquest has them facing off against an all-new nemesis. The ruthless Emperor Percival Tachyon holds an age-old grudge against Ratchet, rooted in a past conflict between their ancestors, and he'll stop at nothing to turn our furry friend into Lombax roadkill. Story usually takes a backseat to gameplay in most titles, but like previous games in this series, Tools of Destruction's tale provides endless fodder for hilarious banter between the game's quirky characters; a magical mix of action and humor is a big part of what makes this game tick. The clever narrative even uncovers some facts behind Ratchet's secret-until-now Lombax lineage.
In addition to creatively felling foes and halting Tachyon's maniacal plans - and laughing while doing it, Tools of Destruction also offers its fair share of platforming and puzzling. In fact, it's worth mentioning that Insomniac has done a fantastic job of incorporating SIXAXIS motion-control into some of its puzzles, without suffering any of the frustration or tacked-on feel that's plagued so many other PS3 titles. The highlight of this execution is a Marble Madness/Mercury Meltdown-inspired mini-game that's so addictive it could probably hold its own as a stand-alone PlayStation Store download. The pitch-perfect pacing does a great job of doling out these side activities, giving you an occasional breather from the otherwise fast and furious action. And when you're not solving puzzles or blasting baddies on foot, there's plenty of vehicle-based fun to be had; the highlight of which has Ratchet taking to the zero gravity skies in his ship, fighting enemy fleets while dodging asteroids.
There's so much to love here that a review really doesn't do it justice. On top of everything else we've gushed over, Tools of Destruction delivers amazing audio work - complemented by slick sound FX, top notch voice acting and a rousing score, screen-filling bosses, truly cinematic cut-scenes, and last, but definitely not least, our favorite gaming sidekick, Clank; Ratchet couldn't conquer his latest quest without his robo-buddy. His ability to control an army of mini-bots returns, and like the rest of this fun-fueled package, it makes for some great gaming. The little guy even receives a substantial nod in Tools of Destruction's twisty tale. Whether Clank's right by Ratchet's side, or attached to his back, or off doing his own thing, his loyalty and cyber gadgets are the icing on this universe-saving cake.
Tools of Destruction is more than worth the sixty bolts. In fact, if you've been thinking about a PS3 purchase, here's your justification--the PS3 has its killer-app. Some greedy gamers might complain over the lack of multiplayer, especially seeing that the Lombax and his cyber pal have displayed their online prowess in previous titles. But honestly, even the most jaded multiplayer junkie will likely forgive the absence of this element when they discover the degree of care and quality that's gone into crafting the single-player experience. It's pacing, polish, and through-the-roof production values make Tools of Destruction an outstanding effort. So many series suffer from sequilitis, offering second, third or fourth entries that reek of phoned-in, uninspired development. But Insomniac has done the complete opposite, creating an experience that's clearly a labor of love for Ratchet and Clank's keepers. A sequel is inevitable, but topping this level of gaming goodness should pose the Lombax's greatest challenge.
CCC Freelance Writer