2003. What a year. We received two The Matrix sequels that we probably didn’t need, the first Call of Duty game came out, and Ratchet and Clank 2: Locked and Loaded (known as Ratchet and Clank 2: Going Commando) was released.
Ratchet and Clank 2 is the perfect video game sequel. It expands, builds and improves on its predecessor while cutting away all the dead weight. In R&C 2 you continue to play as the titular heroes, however the stakes are immediately raised when in the opening cinematic you’re whisked away to another galaxy, given elite commando training and some new, more powerful weapons and sent to retrieve a top-secret experiment from the bowels of a space ship hovering in the air above a distant planet. A far cry from the lackadaisical, wrench-combat heavy, crash-site investigation that opens the first game.
“A far cry from the lackadaisical, wrench-combat heavy, crash-site investigation that opens the first game”
R&C 2 is where the key features of a Ratchet and Clank game become codified – namely outrageous weapons and crazy locations. R&C 2 adds a strafing ability to the control scheme that streamlines weapon based combat, and thank God for it. Combat with weapons is given far more of a precedent over the wrench combat that took up the majority of the first game and the weapons in this game are glorious. With R&C 2 Insomniac Games cemented its position as the best weapon inventor in video games. From mini-nuclear grenades, through deployable rocket turrets to ray guns that turn people into sheep; R&C 2 provides players with a monstrous and creative arsenal with which to defeat their foes.
“From mini-nuclear grenades, through deployable rocket turrets to ray guns that turn people into sheep”
Couple this with a satisfying weapon level up system that keeps improving the power and abilities of your weapons to make them even more devastating and a solid collection of vibrant worlds full of well-designed and challenging enemies, and R&C 2 becomes one of the best action platformers ever made.
Now considering all of that, I recently attempted to play the original release of R&C 2 on an actual Play Station 2. I found its low resolution, non-widescreen presentation hard to look at and the controls spongy and unresponsive. I was heartbroken. I thought that maybe I’d ruined one of my favourites for ever. Unable to cope with this loss, I purchased the HD re-release for the PS3, which allows the game to run in 1080p in a widescreen format, with snappy controls and a solid 60fps framerate and promptly played through the first 10 hours without batting an eyelid.
“R&C 2 becomes one of the best action platformers ever made”
Ratchet and Clank 2 still holds up today from a gameplay, writing and style perspective, and with a little extra HD polish is still as easily playable, as fun and as satisfying as it was 13 years ago.