Into the Nexus is almost the perfect Ratchet & Clank game, reuniting our heroes after what feels like an eternity apart. The franchise has undergone a lot of experimentation, mutating into a 4-player adventure in All 4 One before examining the value of cross-buy in Q Force, it’s been a while since we last played a “traditional” Ratchet & Clank game.
Insomniac answered our prayers with Into the Nexus, a return to the crate smashing, bolt grabbing wrench-tastic platforming adventure coming exclusively to PlayStation 3 this…
…Wait, was that, PlayStation 3!? It’s not like it would have been the perfect launch title for the PS4 or anything….
It is what it is, and short of a next-gen release, Into the Nexus is ticking all the right boxes. The demo begins on Planet Yerek, tasking us with tracking down Lendra, not that we’ll get too deeply involved with story.
Those familiar with the series will be greeted with a control scheme similar to Tools of Destruction, movement and camera control are mapped to the left – right sticks respectively, allowing you to navigate the environment with ease.
Clank is back in his support role, equipped with numerous gadgets to help you traverse the environment, whether gliding over bottomless pits or illuminating the darkest caverns with his “clank light”, plus with his advanced processors he’s able to calculate and deliver one liners with ease.
It may herald a return to the Ratchet and Clank of yonder, but don’t rely on the (O) button to fire weaponry. Instead it’s to quickly access your gadgets, the most iconic of which creates a gravity beam, the order you tag targets is the direction of the stream and explorers willing to venture down the road less travelled may find secrets and extra bolts.
It may not be a full feature title but the series staple weaponry does not disappoint, those aiming to bring icy death upon foes should opt for the Wintricer, a beam of candy canes and icy winds that freeze targets, carving beautiful statues. Those who can bring themselves to smash these masterpieces watch a small present fly daintily into the air.
Not feeling the Christmas cheer, how about the Nightmare Box? A murderous Jack was once trapped in a box, throw him towards enemies and watch as he waits for the opportune moment, leaping out and scaring them to death. Using these weapons in combat will increase their effectiveness and those looking to expand their arsenal further should collect the Raritanium scattered across the world, though we weren’t offered a look at its use during the demo.
There’s more than one new gadget too, the Rift Cracker allows you to spot rifts within the world, Clank can enter these, altering the gravity in a 2D platforming section. The goal is to lead a rift creature to the exit, destroying the rift. The right stick controls the direction of gravity, with numerous switches to press and boxes to move. Enraging the rift creature results in a mad dash for the exit and relative safety, though watch for debris from the ensuing explosion.
Our hands-on drew to a close as the Gravshot swung into view, but despite my eagerness to continue, things are shaping up nicely for our dynamic duo. You’ll see more this holiday season when Into the Nexus launches (bitterly) exclusively on PlayStation 3.