Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart is a delightful experience full of adorable characters, heartwarming stories, flashy combat, satisfying puzzles, and breathtaking visuals. It weaves the best parts of past Insomniac Games' titles into a game that feels just perfect, both in quality and quantity. On a high-end PC, it's a thing of beauty that proves yet again that Insomniac Games are truly the wizards of cinematic experiences.
As someone who didn't play a Ratchet & Clank game before, I was constantly amazed at how much I enjoyed Rift Apart's story & characters, not to mention its stupidly fun gameplay. Its 12 hours long campaign felt like a breath of fresh air, and it made me nostalgic for a franchise I wasn't familiar with up until now. It also made me happy knowing that I experienced this latest entry in this deeply loved franchise in its best possible state, a release that feels like it got the right amount of attention and care, unlike so many other PC ports this year.
Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart kicks off after the events of 2013's Into the Nexus, as the series protagonists Ratchet & Clank attend a parade celebrating their heroics throughout the years.
The incredible dynamic between these two characters immediately highlights how much they have been through together. Somewhere after the events of Into the Nexus and before the start of Rift Apart, Clank had secretly built a Dimensionator, an object that can open up rifts to different dimensions, for Ratchet so that he could continue his search for other Lombaxes. I wish there was a story recap to set the stage, especially since the last game came out a decade ago, but more so because it's the first PC release for the franchise.
Regardless, the game spends very little time focusing on sentimental reunions and quickly takes a plunge into chaos as the series Antagonist Dr. Nefarious invades the parade and attempts to steal the Dimensionator. The Dimensionator accidentally gets damaged midst of the chaos and opens up numerous rifts, sucking Ratchet, Clank, and Nefarious into a different dimension.
In this alternate universe, Ratchet & Clank gets separated but find out that there are two Nefarious here and another Lombax called Rivet. The Dimensionator gets destroyed upon arriving, and Ratchet, while also searching for Clank, who ends up with Rivet, goes on a journey to find the blueprint to craft another Dimensionator and stop the Dimensional Cataclysm.
It's a straightforward tale of heroism and friendships straight out of a Disney Pixar movie that Insomniac handles with elegance, putting the spotlight on every character along the way, naturally showcasing their struggles and their ferocious triumphant over those struggles.
Early on, while exploring the planet Savali, Ratchet comes across another robot companion Kit who initially struggles to open up and become his friend. Kit eventually does open up to Ratchet, sharing her insecurities, as they get one step closer to becoming friends.
It's this narrative structure that has worked with many other first-party PlayStation titles, and it works perfectly well here. There are so many "aww" moments in Ratchet & Clank's Rift Apart story, and every single one of them is impactful. The story and characters aren't the only thing that's good about Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart; it's also quite fun to play.
I'm not going to lie; after playing through games like Final Fantasy 16, Remnant 2, and Diablo 4 all year long, Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart was revitalizing. Combat isn't exactly the primary focus here, but it's still genuinely fun to play.
Every weapon in the game favors different playstyles and is satisfying to use. The Executor is a shotgun with an AOE effect that's great for taking multiple enemies from a short distance. The Negatron Collider can fire up these laser beam that has incredible range. And there's the Lightning Rod that fires electric needles that chain to enemies. I enjoyed using every single weapon, but especially the Lightning Rod because enemies go all wobbly when they are stunned, and it's pretty fun watching and hearing them like that. The only thing that I didn't like about the combat was the boss battles which were all structured similarly with almost identical attack patterns.
Traversal has always been a huge part of Insomniac's titles, and Rift Apart is no different in this regard. Early on in the game, Ratchet gets Hover Boots, which are roller skates that hover. I can't overstate how much I enjoyed cruising through the game's lush and vibrant environments using this.
As a fan of Sunset Overdrive, I was overjoyed to find out that you can also rail grind in this game. Later on in the story, there are some big climatic moments where the planets are falling apart, and you just cooly grind on rail tracks to escape. It's so much fun! Any game with a good traversal tool is a good game, in my opinion, and in this department, Rift Apart is just wonderful.
As far as I can recall, every Insomniac game has these puzzle segments that I feel are there simply to break the pace. I'm not a huge fan of them, especially those circuit puzzles in Spider-Man 1, which is also one of the reasons why I never finished the game. Rift Apart features such puzzle sections as well, this time around in an alternate dimension that only Clank can access. Thankfully, these puzzles are actually fun instead of frustrating, and I appreciated the change of pace they provided from the otherwise fast and frantic gameplay. Interestingly, there's also an option to skip the puzzles, which could be handy for anyone who doesn't want to indulge in them.
The one thing I wished Insomniac focused more on in Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart is platforming. Nowadays, rarely any AAA games try to innovate in the platforming department. Psychonauts 2 is the only modern AAA video game in the back of my head in which most platforming sections felt unique and required some brainstorming. That doesn't happen here. Sure, there are some memorable escape segments where you jump from one rail grind to another and then go back and forth between portals, but these aren't challenging or unique by any stretch.
Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart is easily one of the best (if not the best) looking games I have ever played. From the lightning to the draw distances, to the textures of the character models, everything looks spectacular. What's most surprising is that it's a port of a 2021 title.
On PC, Rift Apart looks even better, thanks to a wide array of customization options, including DLSS. While you only visit a handful of planets in the game, they all look handcrafted. Spider-Man's NYC may not have given them the opportunity to show it, but Insomniac has an incredible art team that has created one of the most awe-inspiring sci-fi worlds I have explored in a while.
PlayStation's first-party games have always pushed the boundary in terms of visuals, and every new release just makes me more excited for a subsequent release. There's truly nothing on PC that looks, feels, and plays like God of War or Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart, and I'm curious to see how games like Horizon: Forbidden West and Spider-Man 2 would push the visual and technical boundaries if and when they come to PC.
I tested Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart on a PC with RTX 4080, 32 GB DDR 5 RAM, and AMD Ryzen 7 7700 8 Core Processor. It ran incredibly well, except for the most part.
With DLSS enabled at 4K and very high graphics settings, the game ran consistently at over 100 FPS. With DLSS disabled, I noticed dips between 55 to 60 FPS. However, this was after the v1.728.0.0 game update, which seems to have fixed most visual issues and improved the overall stability of the game.
I didn't get a chance to test the game on mid to low-end devices, but I'm hoping it runs fine, especially since Nixxes Software has handled this port. If you didn't know, it's the studio with a stellar record of porting console games to PC, most notably the modern Tomb Raider trilogy.
Nixxes Software also ported Spider-Man 1 and Spider-Man Miles Morales on PC, and those games were well optimized when compared to something like The Last of Us Part 1, which unlike these, was handled by Naughty Dog.
Overall, I walked away pretty impressed with Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart PC port, and Nixxes seems like the studio to trust with more PlayStation ports in the future.
Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart is a thing of beauty and a breath of fresh air among other AAA games of this generation. It's a short, sweet, and spectacular nostalgia-inducing adventure that revitalizes not just a classic franchise but a genre of games that not many modern AAA studios dare to make anymore. On the PC side of things, it's a solid port from Nixxes Software that continues its streak of putting console games to PC in the best possible state.
Review code was provided by Sony.