Ratchet & Clank: Q-Force (Hands-on Preview)

You might be wondering where Insomniac Games have been since announcing their multi-platform title,Overstrike. Well, since then this is their second Ratchet & Clank title, it would seem they’re not quite ready to move out of mama Sony’s house quite yet.

In recent years we’ve had the awesome Crack in Time and last year saw the enjoyable inclusion of multiplayer to the series with All 4 One. Today’s demo was single player but there will be online and splitscreen co-op options for two players. This could work very well as the action was a little dumbed down for All 4 One to allow four players to share a single screen. It was fun, but not quite the full co-op experience long-time fans craved.

Much has been made of the new game’s tower defence mechanics that are a first for the series. Don’t worry; the game hasn’t turned into a top-down facebook game. It’s still the lush-looking planet hopping adventure that the series always delivers. Regular platforming and shooting sections nestle in between the new tower defence challenges.

The area I was defending as Ratchet (Clank and Quark will also be playable in the final game) was near to his ship’s landing pad. A large number of empty pods can have turrets built on them via a weapon select-esque pop-up menu. As long as you have the cash (or bolts in R&C world) you can upgrade these pods into various turrets, mines and barriers. These three units will become more varied the further you progress in the game with even this early stage offering flamethrowers in addition to standard blaster turrets.

Enemies attacked my arena in waves from multiple sides, but I was able to add defences to the tunnels on the approaches giving me breathing room. It’s worth taking note of what enemy types are on their way too; as Brawlers will make a bee-line for you, while crafty engineers will try and dismantle your defences and turrets. The larger wall barriers that you can set up across a tunnel have a hole in the centre that you can fire through which is handy seeing as your bullets bounce back when hitting the rest of it.

Rather than stand back and let the automated defences have all the fun, I dived in with weapons picked up from pods that only required a QTE instead of a purchase. You need to get stuck in really to pick up the bolts from defeated enemies so you can add more defences. This stage featured so many blank pods to upgrade that there wasn’t really any strategy to it at all. The only challenge came when a large boss mech came stomping in. A few crates of Warmonger rocket fire later and the mission was complete. Weapons will upgrade with use as per normal, but personal upgrades and perks will be earned via medals rewarded for completing stages.

Click here to read the rest of my hands-on preview at Delaspwn.com.

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