By Spencer . February 14, 2007 . 2:55pm
After Ratchet saved the universe in Deadlocked he and his robotic sidekick, Clank, are kicking back on a beach. During their much deserved vacation Ratchet is disturbed by Luna, a little girl who wants to see him do heroic acts. Ratchet steps up to the challenge (read: tutorial level) when she is kidnapped. Naturally, Ratchet steps in to the rescue her and his adventure begins. Unlike all of the other Ratchet & Clank games, Ratchet & Clank: Size Matters is developed by High Impact Games instead of veteran developer Insomniac Games. If you’re a fan of the series you won’t notice any difference since High Impact Games stays true to the series and created one of the best games on the PSP.
Most of the time Ratchet & Clank: Size Matters plays like a platformer, but like other games in the series there is much more action. You’re going to need to strafe with the D-pad, dodge jump and use an arsenal of alien weapons to save the universe. As usual Ratchet has a creative arsenal of weapons to use, each with limited ammo, which forces players to try out different guns. He starts out with the Lacerator, a basic laser gun, and the acid bomb glove that splashes green acid on a group of enemies if aimed properly. When Ratchet pulls out his gun he automatically locks on to the nearest enemy which allows players to concentrate on avoiding attacks instead of having to play with the camera. However, due to the PSP’s tiny screen you’re going to find yourself ambushed by off screen enemies. The environments are big and the camera stays right on Ratchet’s shoulder to keep the feel of the console versions, but there is no way to zoom out to see the group of tiny green aliens poking you. Because the areas are tiny you’ll find yourself using Ratchet’s wrench a lot more since it doesn’t waste bullets and it can hit enemies you can’t see with its wide range. As Ratchet smashes robots and cracks open crates he earns bolts that lets him buy new weapons such as the shotgun-like Concussion gun, the Scorcher flamethrower and my favorite weapon the Agents of Doom which are tiny robots that home in on enemies. Every weapon in Ratchet and Clank gains experience and the more you use your favorite gun the stronger it becomes. Ratchet gets stronger over time too, his nanotech increases and he gains more life. Something new to the series is Ratchet can pick up different pieces of armor to reduce damage. There are gloves, helmets, boots, and body armor that players can mix and match to create a custom suit for Ratchet.
While you’re going to spend a fair amount of time shooting aliens and using the Hypershot to swing to the next platform, Ratchet & Clank: Size Matters mixes gameplay up more than any other game in the series. In levels where you play as Clank, you’re guiding groups of gadgetbots to bases where they open doors. In another Clank Challenge you’re battling in a destruction derby where Clank is sitting in a robotic vehicle with spinning saws. The game kind plays like an episode of Battlebots where you’re going to ram into other enemies and snag power ups to fire missiles. Other times Clank transforms into a Giant Clank where he flies through outer space and fires enemies with his laser blasters. The Giant Clank levels are one of the best additions to the Size Matters, they are fast paced battles with a slight taste of bullet hell shoot ‘em ups during boss battles. Ratchet has his own set of mini games where he grinds on rails to open locks and races on a skyboard. Skyboard racing is the game’s nadir. During these annoying segments you have to control an unresponsive hoverboard and hit orange lit arrows to catch a speed boost. Tanks of fuel are scattered on the track that let Ratchet use speed boosts and jump in the air. When you’re in mid air you can barely control your hoverboard and you will find yourself needlessly crashing into the sides of the canyon. Skyboard racing aside there are so many styles of gameplay in Ratchet & Clank: Size Matters, you never feel like you’re grinding through the game.
Ratchet & Clank: Size Matters takes advantage of something that few PSP games do, online play via infrastructure mode. There Is the obligatory deathmatch mode where you can battle with up to four players with weapons like the Bee Mine launcher. Capture the flag is another favorite added in Ratchet & Clank: Size Matters, but the Iron Lombax mode is the game’s best feature. Iron Lombax matches are team games similar to Ratchet: Deadlocked’s conquest mode. There are four levels and each has a different goal. In Mega Cannons you’re capturing generators to power a Mega Cannon and it’s a battle to see who can shoot their cannon first. Moon Cow Disease has players race to collect cows with a suck cannon. Once cows are collected players change them into a meat crate and put them on a delivery truck. Features like leader boards and “nemesis”, which lets you tag players who killed you in online matches makes Ratchet & Clank: Size Matters multiplayer experience equal to, if not better than some console titles.
Another plus for Ratchet & Clank: Size Matters is that loading times for the game are minimal. It’s a fluid game just like the Playstation 2 titles. Actually that’s the best way to explain Ratchet & Clank: Size Matters, a portable down version of the PS2 series, that looks pretty close to the PS2 game and spices up the gameplay with extra modes. If you’re a fan of the series or if you own a PSP don’t skip Ratchet & Clank: Size Matters.