Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart
By Marc Saltzman,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Action-heavy adventure features a lot of humor, heart.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
This fantasy action game is about aliens who travel to various worlds and battle robots and alien creatures. It's a good message, as they fight against evil, but they're still engaging in plenty of combat, so positives are slightly limited by the negatives. That said, there are strong themes of friendship, support, and compassion, such as Rivet (a female protagonist) making her damaged partner, a robot named Clank, feel worthy and special. Perhaps Rivet can relate, as she has a prosthetic arm, which is also a positive message for players to see.
Positive Role Models
You play as two protagonists. One is Ratchet, an alien that somewhat resembles a bipedal fox. He's a skilled mechanic and intergalactic hero, and battles evil forces across dimensions. He's noble and wants to fight against foes, but he uses weapons to blast or smash aliens. You also play as the female Rivet, who, along with Ratchet, is of the Lombax species. She's funny, nimble, also a positive heroine -- but uses weapons too. These characters show support and compassion, too, such as when Rivet assures Clank, a broken robot, that he's still worthy and they're a team. We learn later that Rivet has a prosthetic arm, which could be a good role model for those in the disabled community.
Ease of Play
Despite a few bugs, this PS5 exclusive is easy to play, with tight and responsive controls. Extra haptic (vibration) feedback is built into the controller, so you can feel everything the character does.
Violence & Scariness
It's not graphic, but animated violence is a core gameplay mechanic. As Ratchet, you'll fight enemies usually from a third-person perspective, which includes the use of over-the-top alien weapons like large blasters, plasma rifles, and explosives, etc. (including fire and ice attacks). At times you may see alien blood (which isn't red). Ratchet also wields a wrench for melee combat.
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Products & Purchases
There's an option for players who purchase the Standard Edition to upgrade to the digital Deluxe Edition (there is an in-game menu prompt guiding players to make the upgrade through PlayStation Store). This isn't seen if the Deluxe Edition is purchased. This is also the latest chapter in the long-running Ratchet & Clank franchise, which has covered multiple games and a movie.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Ratchet and Clank go into bars, but the main characters don't consume alcohol.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart is an action/adventure game exclusively for the PlayStation 5. As with past games in the series, much of the action involves third-party combat against robots and alien species that has the heroes using over-the-top weapons (like large laser blasters or plasma cannons) to destroy enemies or, at times, a wrench or hammer as a melee weapon. Sometimes there's animated alien blood, but it's not red, and there's no gore shown.You can go into bars, but Ratchet and the newly introduced character Rivet don't consume alcohol. Parents should also know that there are positive messages in the game, too, like friendship, support, and compassion. Specifically, the Rivet character, who has a prosthetic arm, makes her damaged robot companion feel special about being "broken," when he's taunted by a bigger robot. This teaches that one should support their friends, especially when they're feeling down. While there isn't downloadable content offered, players can choose to upgrade the Standard Edition of the game to the Digital Deluxe Edition.
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Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart
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What’s It About?
In RATCHET & CLANK: RIFT APART, an evil robotic emperor is intent on conquering cross-dimensional worlds, and has its sights on your own dimension. This is a third-person action game that focuses heavily on combat and platforming challenges. As in its popular predecessors dating back to 2002, you play as Ratchet, a heroic alien accompanied by a robotic companion, Clank. This time around, you also get to control a new character: a female fighter named Rivet (part of the same Lombax species as Ratchet). Your goal is to stop a dimensional collapse by traveling to various worlds and dimensions, looking for help along the way (including from characters like The Fixer), fighting against robot and alien enemies, and taking down the evil emperor, Nefarious. You'll rely on over-the-top (and often wacky) weaponry and take advantage of new gadgets, including hoverboots, to navigate around environments. Between the hoverboots, some "rail grinding" moments, and swinging between aerial targets, you'll zip above nighttime cityscapes, barren desert lands, and several other locations. Taking advantage of the PS5's power, Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart seamlessly switches between gameplay and cutscene sequences without any discernable difference in production quality. The game also takes advantage of the improved PS5 DualSense wireless controller and its amped-up haptic feedback, including adaptive triggers that provide tension when you're interacting with the environment. The game is available on a Blu-ray Disc or as a downloadable 40GB Digital Deluxe edition, which includes extras such as five armor sets, a sticker set for Photo mode, 20 Raritanium, a digital soundtrack, and a digital art book.
Is It Any Good?
This is as much a technical marvel (taking advantage of what the PS5 is capable of) as it is a well-crafted single-player adventure. Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart has strong story and emotion, impressive graphics/animation and voice acting, and great pacing. Aside from a relatively short experience (and no multiplayer mode) and a couple of glitches that will no doubt be ironed out, this is a welcome addition to the franchise, and a stellar action/platformer for those new to the series. Without giving away too much, adding a likable female character like Rivet is a great idea. Rivet adds another "dimension," if you can pardon the pun, in both gameplay and in the story. (Previously, we thought Ratchet was the last of the Lombax species in the galaxy.) There's also more to the story surrounding each planet, which makes the universe feel deeper, too. You'll meet some memorable characters, with a few twists thrown in. Controlling Ratchet and Rivet feels great with the PS5's DualSense wireless controller. The Ricochet, for example, was inspired by pinball, and you can feel the silver ball as it pops up next to an enemy, bounces off its head, and potentially strikes other enemies in a combo attack based off your timing. The game runs at a smooth 60 frames per second and loads fast, switching between gameplay and cutscene quickly and seamlessly. Some of the set pieces are huge, while up close the detail is amazing, like the fur on Ratchet and Rivet's bodies. Gamers will no doubt enjoy the new weapons added, along with some new gravity-defying moves performed by Ratchet and Rivet with their enjoyable wall running. Plus, Clank still has his more puzzle-centric levels, too, which breaks up the gameplay nicely.
The game can be finished in a weekend, though, which might not be enough meat for some, after shelling out $69. There's no multiplayer, and it's a pretty linear adventure, so there's little replayability. That said, the more you play, you more you can access various planets and portals (in a desired order), and other goodies pop up. There's also an unlockable Challenge mode once you complete the main game (as with past Ratchet & Clank titles, it lets you play the story again while retaining all weapons with any upgrades and mods, and more), as well as a Photo mode. Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart is an extraordinary solo adventure that gets it mostly right. It's super fun, offers responsive controls, and is ideal for most players. It has humor and heart and intense third-person gameplay, and it's a stellar example of PS5's technical prowess.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about whether kids should play an action game like Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart. Is it safe, since it's clearly a fantasy cartoon adventure and purposely over-the-top? Or is it no better than more mature games, since Ratchet uses weapons and can draw blood from enemies? Is there a difference?
How important is it that players get to assume the role of a male and -- for the first time in the series -- a female character, too? Will gamers enjoy controlling Ratchet and Rivet? How important is it for disabled gamers to see a main character like Rivet, who has a prosthetic arm, featured prominently in a major video game?
- Platform: PlayStation 5
- Pricing structure: Paid
- Available online?: Available online
- Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment America
- Release date: June 11, 2021
- Genre: Action/Adventure
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Adventures, Robots, Space and Aliens
- ESRB rating: E10+ for Alcohol Reference, Animated Blood, Fantasy Violence
- Last updated: August 20, 2022
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