4.5/5 ★ – theebigbamtheory's review of Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart.
Insomniac Games has been around for a long time, and with Rift Apart, they made a showcase of their gigantic well of talent, skill, and experience. It is a very fun game, and also a honest to god next gen showpiece.
Rift Apart brings the concept of dimensional rifts into the classic R&C formula, with an approach favoring style over substance. Many of the planets you visit will have enemies spawning through rifts, adding context to an ridiculous onslaught of hostiles. There are also certain rifts that you can teleport to, making you more versatile in the face of battle. The most impressive use of rifts are perhaps the scripted set pieces where you'll be hopping from one dimension to the next, leveraging the PS5's instant load times. These are all fun additions, and there are certain planets that uses the rifts in a deeper way (for example, forcing constant switching between dimensions to progress), but Insomniac definitely could do a lot more with this idea, especially gameplay wise.
The rifts also have a connection to the story, as you would expect. The titular Ratchet and Clank gets to meet their other dimension counterparts after a unexpected incident throws all the dimensions into disarray, and they have to work together to fix this mess. The story shines the most when you get to see the main cast interact with each other. Rivet, Ratchet's counterpart, feels uneasy at first with Clank as she has a losing streak at the hands of many robots, but things get much more wholesome as they bond and open up more with each other. This trend is visible with many of the other character interactions, as Rift Apart successfully does it best to make you feel warm and fuzzy in the inside.
Gameplay-wise, it is perhaps the most well made R&C game yet. The controls and gunplay feel as smooth as ever, with traversal abilities such as the Phantom Dash and Jet Boots enabling you to dance and weave in the battlefield as you look for the right time to blast your weapons. The arsenal of weapons in this game is as creative and fun as you expect from a R&C game, with highlights such as the laser beam Negatron Collider, and the minigun-esque Blackhole Vortex. The feel of the weapons are already great by themselves, but the DualSense features add even more layers of satisfying feedback. There's nothing quite like feeling the adaptive triggers clacking constantly while you're fully blasting enemies with an automatic weapon.
In technical terms, this game is simply sublime. The planets you visit are very varied in vibes, and the atmosphere in each of them are all successful potrayed in wonderful cartoon detail. Abandoned scary bunkers, sunny swamps, storm-filled fortresses, this game has it all. On the Performance RT mode, the balance of smooth 60 FPS with high raytraced fidelity is soul-soothing.
If there's anything flawed from this game, it's definitely the soundtrack. The orchestral instrumentations fail to make it memorable, as the soundtrack seems to be content with being a background filler. It's nothing offensively bad, mind you, but it could be so much more. I also feel mixed about collectibles placement and the level design. Many of the collectibles are placed in very obvious places, and it can make them feel less satisfying to get. The level design also can be a bit too simplistic and linear at times. These aspects are perhaps the only ones where it seems like Insomniac took a step back, considering many of the older R&C games have executed these aspects better.
Overall, Rift Apart might be "just another R&C game", but no matter what, you can count on this game to show you a good time.