There is a shift happening in the world of games right now, and that shift is only going to continue, especially when quality titles such as Ratchet and Clank are making the jump. This is an experiment from Sony. A way that they can bring their AAA games to market more often in bite size chunks. Ratchet and Clank: Quest for Booty is the first time one of the biggest developers hits PSN and shows how it's done. This is a game that simply every person with access to PSN has to try, because it's the future of gaming.
Quest for Booty picks up where Tools of Destruction finished. Clank has disappeared and Ratchet is determined to find him. On his quest to find Clank, Ratchet comes across a race of people under attack from pirates and vows to help them survive. In turn Ratchet will be helped in his search for Clank so, as you can see, the storyline isn't the best point of this game but still manages to push the game along regardless. What is done well however are the story sequences with Insomniac choosing to use a story book style rather than full motion cut scenes to portray the tale, and in the context of a story with pirates and treasure, it fits the subject matter perfectly.
The gameplay itself is exactly as you would expect from a Ratchet and Clank game, quite a feat considering this is a downloadable game (although it is being released to Blu Ray in European territories). For those unfamiliar with Ratchet and Clank, it is a platform title with jumping puzzles, exploration puzzles and also basic combat with enemies. The downloadable version compresses the entire R&C universe into a short bite sized package, with an emphasis on the word 'short'.
The fact of the matter is anyone with experience gaming should complete this in one to two gaming sessions. We saw the end credits after about three and a half hours which may seem short but considering the low price we don't feel it's a problem, other than the fact the replay value is fairly low. What the game does well though is its pacing. During those three and a half hours you are constantly finding new mechanics to the game, some weapon upgrades and the repetition factor doesn't kick in. Considering I have not liked Ratchet and Clank until right now with Quest for Booty, that speaks volumes for the accessibility of the title.
There are a few bug bears with the game though. First of all, it does back track to previous locations a lot and that can be annoying. Also, in some sections when Ratchet loses a life, you are placed back at the same place Ratchet died, whereas in others (and it seems to always be in the frustrating areas), it will take you back quite some way. The lack of consistency almost kills the feel good factor of the game.
But the let downs don't impact too greatly. Another plus for the game is that it looks just like Tools of Destruction. The graphics are phenomenal and really show what the PS3 can do with nary a framerate drop. Also, the sounds and environments are ripped directly from the R&C universe giving the game even more authenticity. When you are used to PSN games being smaller fun titles, and then seeing a game like this managing to hit the same detail as a retail title, it does show the scalability of the PSN service.
Quest For Booty is an interesting experiment for Sony and in our eyes it's a success. Yes there are things wrong with it, and it's a huge download, but if this is the future of downloadable games then sign us up. We can't wait to see what other franchises Sony tries this with.