Ratchet and Clank 3 up your arsenal
Ratchet and Clank 3 is regarded by many as being the best of the original trilogy of games but in all honesty, I don't agree with this. I think the game tells a good narrative but is a little confused in terms of what it's trying to be from a gameplay perspective. I love this game to bits and have enjoyed playing through it many times however I am not blind to its faults which I will discuss these throughout the review.
The story of Ratchet and Clank 3 takes a step back from the first two games focus on consumeristic satire and instead moves towards satire based around fame and fortune. It's seen with Qwark always taking the credit for Ratchet and Clanks heroics and the Annihilation Nation gladiator arena being televised with loads of cameras floating around Ratchet. The satire and jokes are a lot more on the nose this time around with the game poking fun at real-life celebrities such as the in-game Courtney Gears being a parody of Britney Spears. This type of on the nose comedy is fine but I must admit I preferred the way the first two games handled things. The story itself however is fantastic and this is mainly due to the introduction of Dr. Nefarious, one of the only recurring villains in the series. He became an instant fan favourite for how ridiculous he was whilst at the same time actually being rather menacing. All the main characters get great character development here with the long-time rivalry between Qwark and Dr. Nefarious, Clank having his own TV show and Ratchet desperately trying to save his galaxy. There's a lot going on here but it all fits together really well. I wouldn't say it's ultimately the best story a Ratchet game has ever delivered but its solid and was a great way to round off the original trilogy of games.
As said in the introduction I feel like the gameplay for Ratchet and Clank 3 is a little confused with itself. The game obviously carries over many mechanics from the first game but this time around there's a lot more focus on combat rather than platforming. This isn't necessarily a bad thing as shown in the next title Ratchet: Deadlocked however here it feels like there has been a shift in focus towards combat but since the game doesn't base itself completely around combat you kind of get mediocre 3-D platforming and combat sections rather than a complete focus on one or the other. For example the use of multiplayer maps incorporated into the main story for a couple of cheap missions is really lazy to me. There also isn't much in terms of difficult platforming sections in fact whilst writing this I genuinely can't think of any off the top of my head. It's not that the gameplay isn't entertaining but I feel like it fails to live up to the first two games.
We get introduced to a couple of new gameplay mechanics such as the 2-D Qwark Vid-Comics, a rhythm mini-game and hover ship missions as well as a couple of 'open-world' sections where you could choose which order you completed objectives in. These mechanics are okay but we lose a couple of series staple mechanics such as grind rails and race sections. This game is also much shorter than the first game of two games. In the first title, you would have two or three paths to explore per planet were as in this game it is almost completely linear and you're lucky to get more than one. I do understand that this game only had around 8 months for its development compared to the usual year and apparently, from what I've researched, the development was a nightmare. I won't be too harsh on the developers but there was a definite decline in the amount of content for this game.
The soundtrack for Up Your Arsenal is good but I do believe this is where the series slowly starts to care less about their music. The first two games have some classic hits but this game really doesn't. In fact the only time I really noticed the background music was when you revisited planets from the first game where you would have a remixed version of the original that was instantly recognisable. Don't get me wrong this game still has a far better soundtrack then what you end up getting from the future saga but it's far more forgettable than the original two games.
Overall as much as I've picked out many negatives here I honestly love Ratchet and Clank 3, it's easily one of my favourites. It introduces one of my favourite villains in gaming and really fleshes out the characters more than we've seen before. As much as the gameplay is lacking in some mechanics it's still very fun to play and looks just as good as the first title.
This game may have some flaws but that doesn't stop it from being nefariously good.