Ratchet and Clank are en route to deliver criminal Vendra Prog to the Vartax Detention Centre; when their ship comes under attack by Neftin Prog which then results in the successful attempt to free his twin sister. The jailbreak leaves two of Ratchet’s allies dead and themselves stranded in an abandoned sector of the galaxy with fears that it is haunted. Upon locating Vendra and Neftin, Ratchet and Clank stumble upon an inter-dimensional threat that calls them into action to save the universe once more.
Insomniac have taken a bit of a darker approach for Into the Nexus, featuring locations and weapons that are more toward the frightening end of the scale. The darker portions of the game have been crafted superbly with an eerie feeling, but not without losing the classic Ratchet and Clank charm that the world has come to know and love. A subtle example would be the bone figures hanging from a tree or even the ghostly figures zipping around the screen in parts of the game. Taking every imaginable detail and adding loveable charm to the 5 various worlds you will be exploring, each vastly different from the next. No detail has been spared, even the description of the difficulty levels to the player beginning their adventure has been detailed to be made as quirky and humorous as possible. Trust me, when I say this you will have more than just a few chuckles yourself when playing this game. If not from the mishaps of Captain Quark then most definitely the classic one liners of Mr Zurkon and his family.
Michael Bross who is the composer behind Into the Nexus has done a fantastic job of incorporating a spooky orchestral scored soundtrack to evoke frightening emotion. Cut scenes are crafted artfully with a strong voice cast returning to reprise their respective rolls. Insomniac does a wonderful job of immersing you into their game through the intricate attention to the finest of details. A point which I cannot stress enough.
Going back to the tried and true gameplay mechanics, fans of the series will certainly let out a big cheer and a sigh of relief. Into the Nexus introduces us to a few new concepts and the return of some classics. These include new gadgets, weapons and characters. Making its debut is the ‘Grav-Tether’, a gadget that allows you to create a gravitational pull from one point to another defying gravity and enabling you to navigate various puzzles. Ratchet isn’t the only one who gets to try his hand at puzzles though. Clank gets his own 2D platform sections where he too can defy gravity and navigate parts of the Netherverse. These sections do an excellent job of varying gameplay and changing the pace. Along with these there are a few weapons that have been introduced that continue the Netherverse and spookier theme of the game. These include the ‘Nether Blades’, a gun that propels ricocheting blades that dice your opponent. ‘Vortex Grenade’, why face your adversary when you can simply teleport them to another world? and ‘The Nether Beast’, which plain and simply summons a beast from the Netherverse to deal damage.
These examples are just to name a few of the outrageously fun guns available. My favourite of all and perhaps the weapon that clearly resembles the horror theme of this game is “The Nightmare Box’ which is a weapon that upon launch frightens your enemies and draws their attention away from you. The mechanical/skeletal clown like jack in the box definitely reinforces the spookier tone perfectly for Into the Nexus.
As always, bolts are the currency. Collecting enough of these will gain access to a variety of armours of increasing strength, but more importantly guns! As we know Ratchet and Clank is home to some of the craziest weaponry available. The more you use these weapons, the more you will upgrade them. To really get the most out of them they can be upgraded further through the rarer currency known as Raritanium. Using this allows you to upgrade ammo-count, blast radius or even attack duration, These are just a few of the many branches you can invest the rare currency into.
Replayability is a major factor for Into the Nexus. Insomniac has not only offered the combat tournament named Destructapalooza, but there is also the inclusion of skill points, which unlock after achieving certain criteria during your game. Once you have completed the main story of the game you can always attempt Challenge mode, where enemies are tougher, bolts are multiplied and you can finish leveling up your weapons or find the remaining Gold bolts and plans for the ultimate weapon the RYNO VII.
With the game length set roughly between “Quest for Booty” and “Crack in Time” you will see yourself comfortably completing this game in 6 hours but without a shadow of a doubt Ratchet and Clank: Into the Nexus is a perfect way to neatly tie up the phenomenal series that Insomniac delivered for the PS3. The game length was perfect. Any shorter and I would’ve felt cheated, whilst any longer and it risked becoming repetitive. It has references to all their previous adventures, outrageously crazy gadgets and weapons. As with any Ratchet and Clank game is also has a well-told story with the classic charm and humour that veterans of the series have come to love and expect from this dynamic duo and new players will come to adore. It successfully takes a darker approach without stepping too far away from the mechanics and gameplay that make these games the exceptional work that they are. It is excellent to see the return of these mechanics after Insomniac tried to add a fresh approach to their more recent games; certainly the fans will appreciate this. I would’ve loved to have a few more moments with Captain Quark, the ‘half-a-hero’ with biceps bigger than his brain.
An added bonus is made available to those who purchase the original physical copy of this game with a disc benefit of downloading “Quest for Booty” at no fee. Into the Nexus also comfortably ties up Ratchets personal story about finding the rest of his species. The game is a guaranteed laugh, with great gameplay and at this price, wouldn’t hesitate in recommending this game to anyone.