Why does anyone hang out with Qwark?

Insomniac Games has recently been on an experimentation spree. Rather than continuing with a new, full installment in their flagship Ratchet & Clank series, they’ve been putting together games in the R&C universe but with unconventional play mechanics. In 2011, it was Ratchet & Clank: All 4 One with its design around 2-4 player co-operative play. This time around, it is Ratchet & Clank: Full Frontal Assault.

Full Frontal Assault follows after the events of All 4 One–Qwark is no longer president and has become restless. For some unknown reason, Ratchet & Clank are still hanging out with Qwark and are all contacted by a mysterious masked villain who informs them that various planetary defense systems across the galaxy have been disabled. The R&C crew must thus personally defend each of these planets against invasion by marauders for if they call in the galactic police, the evil villain will destroy the defense systems completely.

With this we end up with something like a cross between tower-defense and a (mostly) single-player DOTA clone. Each level presents a wide open map to explore centered around your base. As you complete objectives, your base comes under attack and you’re forced to rush back to defend it or to use the bolts that you’ve gathered in the mission to put up base defenses.

The problem with this setup is that every level feels the same. You always start out without any weapons and must go find them. You always start out without any money to build base defenses. You always must go out in search of everything you need to do your job. Making matters worse, the game only has five maps–two of which are palette swaps of each other and one of which is the end boss level and thus doesn’t have base defense.

What little of the game there was, I enjoyed, but there isn’t anywhere near enough game here. Even for the relatively low cost of admission (its release MSRP was $30, its now down to $20), I can’t recommend the game.

Ratchet & Clank: Full Frontal Assault: 0

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