A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this adventure features a gun-touting cartoon hero who saves a child from abduction. While there isn't explicit violence or gore, much of the gameplay involves shooting, throwing bombs, and whacking enemies with a wrench. Most of these enemies are robots, and the alien weapons are fantastical. The title contains a sexual pun, but most kids will probably miss it. This game can be played online over Sony's Wi-Fi network, which Common Sense Media doesn't recommend for anyone under age 12.
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What's it about?
After saving the universe not once but three times, you (playing as Ratchet, a long-eared alien with a yen for weapons) decide to take a long-overdue vacation on a remote planet with your faithful robotic companion, Clank. After a young girl who has recognized you is kidnapped, you and Clank cut your holiday short to save her -- and uncover a plot that could put the galaxy in jeopardy ... again. That's how Sony PlayStation Portable (PSP) game RATCHET & CLANK: SIZE MATTERS -- the latest in the multimillion unit-selling sci-fi franchise starring these two comical and courageous cartoon heroes -- begins.
The games can best be described as \"platformer\" action games: You have to run, jump, climb, swing, dodge, and fight through various worlds while acquiring a huge assortment of weapons, from laser pistols and shrink rays to electromagnetic cannons and bombs that spew acid when detonated. While enemies come in many shapes and sizes, they're all mechanical and leave bolts behind after they've been eliminated. Collect these bolts to buy better weapons, weapon modifications, and ammo. Mini games include racing challenges, spaceship dogfights, and a Lemmings-like robot game.
Is it any good?
Unlike the PS2 entries in the series, Size Matters offers four separate head-to-head modes over a Wi-Fi network. In the main multiplayer lobby, you can choose to join or host a game like Death Match (the person with the most kills wins) or Capture the Flag (find the enemy team's flag and bring it back to your base), as well as a new type of game, Iron Lombax, which is an objective-based mode in which each team must perform the requested tasks before their opponents do.
Size Matters shows off the PSP platform's power. It looks and plays as well as its PlayStation 2 predecessors -- with detailed and fluid animation, explosive weaponry, entertaining cut-scene sequences, and wireless online play for up to four gamers. Despite a couple of minor issues -- including tricky maneuvers and inconsistent button assignments -- Size Matters easily earns its high rating. Overall, it translates well to a handheld format and proves that the PSP is more than capable of delivering a console-like experience while on the go.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about what makes a hero in real life vs. in video games. Would a gun-toting hero be accepted in real life? How do people solve conflicts outside the video game world? Also: The storyline involves a child's abduction, so parents might want to remind their kids to never talk to strangers or get in a car with someone they don't know.