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The Top 10 Games Of 2021 - Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart

The Top 10 Games Of 2021 - Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart
Images via Insomniac Games

Written by 

Tom Chapman

Posted 

9th Dec 2021 15:16

Sometimes three isn't a crowd. Proving this in spades is Insomniac Games' Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart - which is heralded as the adorable adventure franchise's return to form. It turns out that all we needed was a woman's touch.

Like so many platformers, the Ratchet & Clank name had slipped into obscurity alongside Crash Bandicoot. It's that balancing act of releasing another game just for the sake of cashing in on the broad family appeal and actually delivering a good entry. 

Arguably more confusing than the aforementioned CrashRatchet & Clank had already been rebooted in 2016 with the pretty well-received reimagining. With 15 games already under the series' belt, Rift Apart managed to bring everything together with a neat bow.

Lombax With A Vengeance

Ratchet and Clank Rift

When Sony rolled out the PlayStation 5, there were accusations that its lineup of PS5 exclusives was a little limited. Following in the footsteps of Marvel's Spider-Man: Miles MoralesRatchet & Clank was another colourful cartoon caper that made the most of the PS5's beefy graphics.

Despite the long history of this dynamic duo, the idea of a potential reboot relatively soon after the last had some of us moaning, "Oh, not another one." By the time we got round to Rift Apart, it was clear we were lost in a multiverse of timelines and continuity.

This only worked for the writers' benefit because it turned out they could do literally whatever they wanted by simply shrugging and saying, "Meh, it's the multiverse."

In terms of visuals, Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart stuck a middle finger to the competition as possibly one of the best-looking games of all time. Everything boomed on the PS5, with the console's new-gen credentials making every colour pop and every new planet/reality bring a different aesthetic. 

The DualSense controller sang with every vibration and a bit of haptic feedback, while the promise of no loading screens meant you could leap through rifts without being bogged down in the pauses of yesteryear. Putting it all together, it's a fully-fledged new-gen game with the charms of previous entries.

A Rivet-ing Experience

Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart Rivet

The result was a charming tale that ripped the long-time pals apart and literally tossed them across time and space. By separating Ratchet and Clank, it allowed Jennifer Hale to shine as Rivet. The legendary Mass Effect voice actor got to voice a female Lombax called Rivet - who spent most of the game paired with the blathering bucket of bolts that is Clank. 

If Rivet isn't primed for a whole game on her own with Kit by her side, then there's something seriously wrong. In an era where women are finding their voice in video games more than ever, Rivet was a well-timed addition to the franchise, while feeling like she'd been here the entire time. 

Also along for the ride, Dr. Nefarious was back for more. Poking fun at itself, this wasn't the laughable Nefarious we'd bested before. Instead, we got the terrifying Emperor Nefarious from Corson V. The ever-favourite Captain Qwark also made a welcome return, but it's just tragic Jim Ward's declining health meant he had to hand over the reins to Scott Whyte. 

At the centre though, Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart is still very much a classic Insomniac game from back in their days on the PS2. Whereas Crash 4: It's About Time completely reinvented the wheel in 2020, Ratchet & Clank largely kept the same core mechanics - and shined for it.

With everything from the Marvel Cinematic Universe to Pokemon and even Sonic the Hedgehog getting in on the Multiverse hype, Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart put the concept at the pinnacle of the genre and took the crown. Microsoft and Sony have delivered some great exclusives over the years, but in 2021, Rift Apart tore the competition apart.