Ratchet and Clank: QForce, known as Ratchet & Clank: Full Frontal Assault in North America, is the latest title from Insomniac Games and its released to mark the 10th anniversary of the original Ratchet and Clank title’s release. Some fans felt left down by the previous Ratchet title, All 4 One, so let’s see if Insomniac can win back the fans with Full Frontal Assault.
Insomniac has managed to take two genres (platforming and tower defence) mould them together to create an enjoyable title. Players start levels with a hardly defended generator and must instantly work towards getting defences up and running to help Ratchet stop the generator being overrun by enemies. This is where the platforming part comes in. Dotted around the initial starting area are some nuts and bolts that can be acquired. Players then have a big decision to make, to stay and help defend or run out to collect more bolts to build more defences. The platforming isn’t to the same level as in the rest of the franchise but some skill is needed to make it across the floating platform areas. These then reward the player with nuts and bolts but also more guns.
Defending isn’t the only aspect of the gameplay. Once players are confident enough they can leave their turrets, the aim turns towards going on the offensive. Destroying a number of shields and taking down the key node to turn on the planetary defences may sound like an easy task but it is far from it. Equipped with their own turrets to take Ratchet down and plenty of enemies means it is no easy task; this is only made harder by enemies are breaking through your defences.
Despite being mostly a tower defence title, the Ratchet and Clank theme holds strong. With the cost of turrets coming in the form of nuts and bolts and the over the top weaponry (which includes many weapons from previous titles including my personal favourite from All 4 One the Warmonger) upon first glance it seems like just another Ratchet title, until you play it. The cutscenes also go far to keep the Ratchet universe at the forefront of the title. This isn’t just a tower defence game made to look like a Ratchet title but a Ratchet title with tower defence gameplay.
The graphics are the usual Ratchet and Clank 3D cartoony art style that truly lends itself to the gameplay. Some of the games weaponry for instance, just wouldn’t fit with any other style: so not only does it help define the title as a Ratchet game, it also helps it pull off many elements that otherwise would seem almost silly. The soundtrack is once again full of lively and upbeat songs with various themes running throughout the title. With the high standard of voice acting, gamers will once more enjoy plenty of witty cutscenes.
While difficulty is 100% a personal preference, I prefer a title that’ll give me some challenge, especially when it comes to tower defence games. Full Frontal Assault is certainly not an easy title and even those who can usually easily complete a Ratchet level be warned it might not be so easy this time around. With plenty to think about when both defending and attacking, multiplied by the amount of enemies coming your way some may find it an uphill battle. Nevertheless when the level is completed, players will certainly get the feeling of accomplishment by triumphing over the enemy. I find this feeling is often lacking in a Ratchet title.
It isn’t often that co-op isn’t a well advertised feature but this was certainly the case with Full Frontal Assault. The co-op in All 4 One left a lot to be desired, thankfully despite not being solely built for multiplayer like All 4 One, co-op seems to flow much better into the gameplay. When on your own you must decide between defending and rushing out for more nuts and bolts; when there are two of you the task naturally becomes easier. The experience does lose a lot of its difficulty when there are two players; nonetheless taking down waves of enemies together is extremely fun.