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Developer:
Insomniac
Publisher: Sony
Platform: PS2
Release Date: 11/2/04

by Jason Ferguson




The Ratchet & Clank series has been among the most enjoyable on the PS2. Combining action, humor and RPG elements, the game series seems to get better with each installment. Ratchet & Clank: Up Your Arsenal features several new additions, such as a multiplayer mode, Captain Qwark mini-games, and more! The series just got even better.


After their previous adventures, Ratchet and Clank have become celebrities and heroes. Although, Clank seems to get all the glory while Ratchet does all the work. He even has his own TV show called “Secret Agent Clank.” The Galactic Rangers, robotic protectors of the universe, certainly aren’t helping much since they seem to run in fear from every threat. In the midst of all this, a new villain arises named Captain Nefarious. This robotic genius plans to totally wipe out all organic life in the galaxy. Needless to say, this isn’t a good time to be an organic life-form. In order to defeat their latest rival, Ratchet and Clank will have to team up with old friends from the series, like Helga and Captain Qwark. Only together will they be able to save organic life from the wrath of Dr. Nefarious!


Being able to see familiar characters from the previous games in the series is a lot of fun. The characters and their interactions are also quite amusing. Don’t be at all surprised to find yourself chuckling from time to time as you play the game. Captain Qwark’s monkey friend was always able to get a laugh out of me as he frantically searched for bananas despite what obstacles laid in his way. Speaking of Captain Qwark, the game allows you to see a good deal of his history by collecting video comic issues and playing through them. The mini-game is pretty simplistic… you control Captain Qwark and just run, jump and fire the occasional weapon. But still, it adds variety to the gameplay and gives you a chance to learn more about one of everyone’s favorite R&C characters. There are also a lot of side quests throughout the game that can be completed to earn extra bolts and some cool gear. These range from destroying enemy bases to assasinating an enemy leader.


At its core, the gameplay has remained pretty much the same throughout the series. You’ll do a lot of platforming in each stage and collect bolts for cash, but there is also a lot of action. Armed with your trusty wrench, you’ll hack and slash your way through armies of enemies. You’ll also collect a huge assortment of weapons and gadgets, all with different purposes. Some are pretty straightforward, like a sniper rifle, while others are more creative, like a gun that turns your foes into sheep. Using the right weapon/gadget at the right time is really important, and adds some strategy to the game. The weapons are pretty diverse, and each have their own strengths and weaknesses. Should you try to take an enemy out from a distance with the sniper rifle, or should you try to destroy multiple foes at once with the nitro launcher? You need to think fast. One cool addition to the game is the ability to buy guns from the previous games in the series by loading them from previous R&C games on your memory card.


As Ratchet uses each weapon it will gain experience and eventually level up. There’s an experience bar clearly on the screen, which shows how much experience the item has to gain before it will level. When a weapon levels up it grows stronger, and often gains new abilities, such as lock on. Ratchet will also level up his health as he slays foes. You’ll start out with only a few HP, but it will increase much higher as you progress through your adventure... which is a good thing because this installment seemed more difficult to me than the rest.


Throughout your journey you’ll make many stops at the Phoenix, which is your homeship. The Phoenix gives you a place to practice in a training mode, offers new armor for sale, and gives you a place to play your vid-comics. You can also buy new weapons and equipment there, and obtain your newest mission from Captain Qwark by visiting.


What makes Up Your Arsenal stand out from the rest is the new multiplayer, which allows eight players to play online or 4 offline. There are several different gameplay modes, including Siege mode, Capture the Flag and Deathmatch. Siege mode allows you and your foes to fight over a base. The first to capture an enemy base wins. Deathmatch is simply the most frags wins. Capture the flag is pretty straightforward too… get the enemy flag and return it to yours. Gameplay in multiplayer ends up being much like the single player mode: collect weapons, kill foes. The only difference is you can play with your friends and you have a Siege, Deathmatch or Capture the flag goal. The multiplayer adds endless replay value to an already great game. It also adds a lot of variety to the gameplay, especially since you can choose from several modes. This adds a new dimension of fun to the game which will likely keep you playing for hours.


R&C offers beautiful graphics, with well done character design and animations. The worlds are bright and detailed, and the gameplay experience is often a splendor to the eyes. Like many action/platformers, the camera causes some problems, but it’s certainly manageable. The game has a lot of voice acting, and all of it is high quality. The music and sound effects are also very well done. The tunes fit each level very well and you’ll probably find yourself really getting into the musc. It’s obvious that a lot of attention to detail went into this game,


If you’ve been keeping up with the series, R&C: Up Your Arsenal is an obvious purchase. If you haven’t been following the series, don’t worry, this is a good place to start.


Final Grade: 92%




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