A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
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What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Ratchet and Clank Future: A Crack in Time is a platform/action game filled with lots of gun-based play, but that it is both whimsical and fantastical in nature. Players only go up against evil aliens and robots, and the weapons they use are highly cartoonish, such as a rifle that fires sonic belches. When enemies are killed they typically just disappear in a flash of light and bolts, though some do leave small greenish puddles behind. Our heroes are tried-and-true good guys who are trying to help one another, as well as any peace-loving aliens they encounter and the galaxy in general.
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What's it about?
The ninth game in Sony’s popular platformer/action series, RATCHET & CLANK FUTURE: A CRACK IN TIME sees our lovable lombax Ratchet (an orange cat-like creature) and his robot pal Clank at opposite ends of the universe. The former is searching the galaxy for his chum while the latter is trying to make sense of the giant clock/spaceship in which he finds himself captive. Ratchet spends most of his time exploring planets and solar systems flying around in his small ship, taking on any aliens foolish enough to cross his path with a massive arsenal filled with bizarre gadgets and weapons, including a rifle that shoots sonic belches and a huge ball of energy that can be guided with the PlayStation 3 controller’s motion sensitivity feature. Clank gets into a few frays himself, but also solves plenty of mind-bending puzzles, many of which are based on manipulating time and creating multiple versions of himself to perform several tasks simultaneously.
Is it any good?
Aside from some new weapons and puzzles and the fresh story in which they find themselves, not much has changed with Ratchet and Clank since last we saw them. But that’s not really a complaint. As usual, this cat and robot duo are starring an accessible and compelling mixture of platform-style play, clever puzzles, and spectacular action that’s been wrapped up in several layers of broad, good-natured humor.
The best parts take place planet-side, as Ratchet explores new worlds and puts his massive arsenal to work in interesting ways against a seemingly never-ending stream of baddies. A close second are the puzzles Clank takes on. Trying to work out how to get multiple Clanks in different time streams working together can be challenging, but it’s highly satisfying when you finally manage it. The weakest parts of the game take place in space when Ratchet battles enemy ships. These missions are just too simple and arcade-y to fit with the rest of the game. Thankfully, many of them are optional, and those that aren’t are fairly short and well worth working through to experience the rest of this great game.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about different kinds of platform games and the audiences each is best suited for. What’s the difference between a Mario game and a Ratchet and Clank game? A Ratchet and Clank game and a Lego game? A Lego game and a LittleBigPlanet game? Why are some of these titles suitable for younger audiences while others are better matched to slightly older players?
Families can also discuss humor in games. What sort of an impact does humor have on the action in a Ratchet and Clank game? Would it seem darker and more intense if there weren’t so many jokes? Should comedy affect a game’s potential age range?
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