With the advent of downloadable games from both Sony's and Microsoft's services, the most we expected to get out of publishers is a few simplistic games here and there. Never did any of us imagine we'd be getting deep and complete games such as Gran Turismo and Warhawk via a downloadable service. Obviously, this only bodes for Sony, as Microsoft's Xbox Live has yet to offer downloadable games that can compete. Regardless, a new full-blown videogame has landed as a downloadable game, and it's a Ratchet and Clank game.
Ratchet and Clank: Quest For Booty is a title we've long heard about, as its name and PlayStation Network destination was leaked many months ago on the internet. You'd imagine that a series as large and gorgeous as Ratchet and Clank would have to be cut down to become downloadable, but Insomniac has made no sacrifices, other than the length of the game, in bringing us an all new Ratchet and Clank experience. A $15 price-tag gets you a game worth 2.5GB in size, and about five hours in gameplay time. The value is certainly nothing to scoff at, considering how many full priced games out there last the same, and even less than that.
If you haven't completed Ratchet and Clank Future: Tools of Destruction, skip to the next paragraph, as there are some spoilers ahead. Ready? Okay…Quest for Booty pretty much picks up where the last game left off. By now, Ratchet fans should know that Clank was kidnapped, and so Ratchet and Talwyn are out to find him. The game picks-up aboard Rusty Pete's ship, and Ratchet looks to find Darkwater, as he believes Darkwater knows about the mysterious clan of Zoni who kidnapped Clank. Unfortunately, Darkwater is dead, and now the duo will have to find a way to solve the puzzle of Clank's kidnapping on their own with the help of clues left behind by Darkwater across the game's four stages.
New gameplay elements have been added to Quest For Booty, as Ratchet can now use his Omniwrench to lift, throw, and manipulate objects like never before. This new ability to move objects around will prove to be useful for Ratchet as the game's puzzles and challenges were specifically designed with the new gameplay mechanics in mind. Picking up objects is as simple as coming up to them and pressing the square button. You'll be able to hurl the objects at a variety of different targets, including doors and enemies. There'll be a variety of different objects to pick up, with different types of objects serving different functions. For example, some objects are explosive, while others aren't. Another new ability is the Kinetic Tether, an item that enables Ratchet to use kinetic energy in order to overcome obstacles, such as gaps. One example of the tether is latching it on to a concealed bridge, and pulling that bridge open to form the pathway.
Veterans of the franchise should have no trouble adjusting to the all new adventure, as it plays largely identical to Tools of Destruction. You'll still make use of the same controls, solve puzzles using similar tactics (albeit with new abilities), run, gun, jump, scale, collect, and so forth. Additionally, thanks to a price point of only $15, the gamer should have no problem enjoying himself/herself to the fullest with this experience. The price of the game really makes the game feel that much better; for $15 you're getting, what is pretty much, a full-fledged videogame experience. There may not be an online mode or mini-games, but you still get a very satisfying adventure complete with new mechanics, while still featuring superb presentation.
Which leads me to the visuals. Once again, compromises were not made to the game engine, so don't think that Insomniac cut out the cut-scenes and substituted them for stills or something of that nature. The story unfolds the same way it has in the past, through beautiful cut-scenes that give us an up-close look at the immaculate details of this game engine.
The visuals are still brimming with the same details we saw in Ratchet and Clank Future, but with a change here and there. Nothing bad, though. Quest For Booty actually looks a bit sharper than Tools of Destruction, as the image quality is cleaner, there are even less jaggies to be seen, textures are slightly more crisp, lighting has been toyed with a bit, and screen tearing is practically non-existent. So believe it or not, but Quest For Booty is actually better looking than the game it follows, if even marginally, and that's a pretty notable achievement. If Quest For Booty has visual improvements, we can't imagine what the 2009 Ratchet game will look like.
Audio is still as superb as ever in this franchise. The voice acting continues to be some of the best out there, doing a fantastic job at really bringing the game's presentation to life. All of the voice actors reprise their roles, and the quality of the audio is still top-notch, despite being a downloadable game. The soundtrack is great, with the intro song boasting a Pirate-esque theme to it, and the background tunes sounding like classic Ratchet.
Ratchet and Clank fans should really find themselves loving everything about Quest For Booty. At $15, this is one of the best bang-for-your-buck deals out there for all gamers. With AAA quality presentation, complete with superb visuals, voice acting, and gameplay, Quest For Booty is a quality product any way you look at it.