I’ll admit right off the bat that it was not my intention to play the 2016 reboot of Ratchet and Clank as my third game for these Game Logs. However, due to a series of technical difficulties, I found myself rummaging through a friend’s game collection looking for an alternative to Shadow of the Colossus. I stumbled upon Ratchet and Clank, and decided to go for it. I had heard of Ratchet and Clank previously and knew it to be a Playstation classic, though my only experience playing it came from a brief stint trying out one of the series’ spin-offs on a PSP many years ago. I figured playing through a reboot of a classic series could give me some unique points to consider.
My first impression of Ratchet and Clank was one that really surprised me: it seems to be a game that sort of detests its own existence. The game is rife with a sense of cynicism, constantly referencing the fact that it is retreading old material. Characters that have appeared in previous installments state phrases like “oh, you look familiar,” or “see you in the next reboot,” while other bits of dialogue express a detest for pre-order content, a practice that has recently become a big-budget game staple.
While I would have thought that the game’s developers would have been happy to create an edition of Ratchet and Clank fit for a new age of consoles, the game is full of a sense of angst toward the need to start everything from the beginning. The quips appear to be directed against the corporate interests that demanded Ratchet and Clank start its story over, with the game’s main villain being a disdainful corporate industrialist that cares little for the people that consume his products. The nature of the game to reflect a distain for itself causes me to think that the developers were annoyed at the idea of tossing out the relationship between Ratchet and Clank that they have developed over the course of the series’ numerous installments. I can understand how having to scrap everything and start from the beginning could be a trying experience for a veteran game studio like Insomniac that has spent years building the Ratchet and Clank story.
There is also a chance that I am misinterpreting interpreting Ratchet and Clank’s sarcasm for angry cynicism. Perhaps the game’s tendency to reference its reboot nature comes from a sense of self assuredness that Insomniac has developed over the years as an experienced game studio. My reading of the game’s attitude, however, is one that I had never experienced playing a game before. Never before have I felt like a game was constantly trying to tell me about its feelings on the manner in which it was made, and the result left me feeling somewhat uncomfortable.