Every now and then a piece of entertainment comes along to remind you that you’re not a kid anymore. I recently got that reminder from Ratchet and Clank: Full Frontal Assault. The visual style is very cartoony, which in and of itself is fine, but when paired with “LOLs (pronounced ‘ell-oh-ell’)” in the dialogue it just makes me feel old.
The gameplay is easy enough, mostly being a combination of tower defense and platform for single or multiplayer, both locally and online. You can play as Ratchet, Clank or their Zap Brannigan-style human character Captain Qwark. Your main mission in the level is to protect the base from invaders (The Grungarians) while also disabling the shields of the Grungarians’ base. While you go through the level fighting the Grungarians and disabling their machinery, you earn a variety of weapons, including a blaster gun, flamethrower and grenade launcher. I played single-player as Ratchet and actually found that most of the time you could take down the bad guys easily enough using your starting weapon. Considering how much Insomniac Games is known for its weapon prowess, this was both surprising and disappointing.
There were only a couple of issues I had with the game, but they were pretty significant. First, the game camera is manual. For an RTS-like title isn’t really surprising, as manual cameras generally work best for the genre. However, considering this is a Ratchet and Clank game featured on a console, this may be a letdown for many gamers who are expecting something different. So, take this as your camera-angle education and purchase accordingly. On a personal note, I love gaming but am prone to motion sickness from certain kinds of games, and the manual camera in this case actually made me ill. Normally, a Ratchet and Clank game wouldn’t bother me, but the manual camera ended up leaving me with a pretty massive headache by the time I was done. Again, this is worth noting for others like me, and I know there are a lot of you out there.
The second issue I had with Ratchet and Clank: Full Frontal Assault is that the level gameplay and boss gameplay were extremely disproportionate in their difficulty. As I indicated above, the levels themselves are rather easy to play, even with just the default gun, and the difficulty’s probably most appropriate for a 10-year-old. However, the boss battles are ridiculously difficult. Seriously. I died 15 times. I actually threw my controller after the twelfth death. I understand that boss battles are supposed to be harder than the level, but the imbalance here is nothing but frustrating.
Those 15 deaths, the difficulty imbalance, the weapon irrelevance and manual camera notwithstanding, the game was fine. But you know, those are all really big issues that drag down a game’s score. Ratchet and Clank: Full Frontal Assault also is dreadfully boring, so I can’t rate it anything higher than “average.”
– Amber Taylor
Platform reviewed: PS3 (system exclusive)