Last year SCEA brought out two of the best platforming titles that the PS2 has to offer - Sly Cooper and the Thievius Racconus and Ratchet and Clank - two very different types of platformers that really took the gaming world by surprise. The first of the two to get a sequel is Ratchet and Clank, which was given more weapons, redefined gameplay and slicker graphics, resulting in more platforming fun. This is Insomniac’s latest Ratchet and Clank: Going Commando an excellent platforming title for the PS2.
Ratchet and Clank wasn’t my favorite platformer last year, and that was for one big reason, and that being the game seemed to tail off at the end and I felt as though it got a bit repetitive and plain. This year you will find that SCEA has put so much work into every part of the game, so you can truly see great improvements in every category, which is how sequels should be!
For fans of the original Ratchet and Clank you will be right at home with Going Commando because the game starts only a little after where the last one ends. The two are sitting around living off the glory of their previous accomplishments hoping for a new mission to come to place. Well as you find out in the first cut scene you are teleported to a new world where there are many problems taking place and it is your job to go and stop them. You can clearly see that similar to the Jak and Daxter series this game is starting to try to provide storylines that are more appealing to the older crowds.
In the original Ratchet and Clank you were given a different type of platformer that really set it’s self apart from other titles by adding a lot of different gameplay elements. Along with the platforming, you also had action with tons of different weapons, and RPG elements with a lot of stats and upgrades to be had in the game. Not all of this was fully put to use in the original, but it laid the groundwork for what seems to be a series that is really coming together.
Ratchet and Clank was a game that really tried to make use of the weapons but in last year’s version you really didn’t have to use them. The wrench (which is still available for use in Going Commando) did the trick for the most part in the game and the weapons didn’t always have to be used. This is no longer the case in Going Commando, where your success lies in the firepower of your weapons. The game hosts all new weapons (due to new Gun Manufacturer), which really give some new sides to the game. One of the really key features of Going Commando is the ability to upgrade your weapons, you do this by constantly using a certain weapon and when you gain enough experience with that particular weapon you can then upgrade it to a better model.
A core enhancement made this time is the inclusion of RPG elements in the gameplay. Not only can you upgrade the weapons, you can also increase you health by defeating enemies in the game. The more you fight, the more powerful you become, health-wise. You can also increase it by finding hidden nanotech upgrades, which speed things up.
One thing that really impressed me about Going Commando is that the developers did an excellent job mixing things up so you aren’t forced to go level through level doing the same thing over and over again. Instead throughout the game you will be doing plenty of side/mini games that will help to mix things up. These will include space combat, vehicle missions, desert mining, hoverbike racing, and more. These gives the game a nice fresh of breath air that helps try to keep things from becoming too repetitive.
The platforming elements of Going Commando seem to have been untouched from the original game. The game still plays identically to the original, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it would have been nice to have seen some variety to the gameplay. The one complaint I do have about Going Commando is that the game feels like an expansion pack rather then a new game. This doesn’t have to deal with the length just that nothing has really changed (with the exception of more weapons) from a year ago.
Similar to the original, Going Commando it is quite long compared to other platforming titles, which is about twenty hours. Compare that to most platformers which are in the ten hour range and you get a lot of value for your buck. Where the original started getting boring in the end, Going Commando stays interesting and will keep you wanting to play till the very last few levels.
When Ratchet and Clank was released it was going up against some very tough competition being SCEA’s very own Sly Cooper. Sly Cooper was beautifully cel-shaded and was really a graphical work of art. Ratchet and Clank was the game that deserved a lot more credit then it received in the graphic department due to being overlooked, but it would really be impossible to look over Going Commando, because it is just a beautiful game.
Ratchet and Clank was already a very detailed and colorful title, but Insomniac obviously wasn’t satisfied and went above and beyond last years graphics to create a great looking title. Ratchet and Clank have been given a lot more detail and really show their true character. All of the enemies in the game look great, they have their own distinct look and feel to them that will really allow you to make clear distinctions of who they are.
The environments in Going Commando have also been upgraded from last year with great detail and wonderful settings. All of the levels are very different so you won’t get bored at looking at the same place for the whole game, which is a big plus. Overall the graphics of Going Commando are commendable; they really go above and beyond last year’s and make for one great looking title.
To be honest the first Ratchet and Clank was a game that I really didn’t have a whole lot of fun with, it just seemed to get old really fast, but in Going Commando my opinion changed. The game is a fun one to play, with all of the upgrades and levels to play in you will never really get bored and it’s easy to just sit down and play this one for hours. Things do start to drag on at times, but the final reward of finishing the game is great and therefore makes for a pretty fun game.
It’s become a given lately, if SCEA publishes a platformer then you should go out and buy it, and the same goes for Going Commando. If you are looking for a good platforming title for that special someone this holiday season Going Commando is a great choice.
The owner and editor-in-chief of Darkstation.com. I've been apart of the website since 2002 and purchased the website in 2010. Owning and running Darkstation is a dream come true. I love video games and I love writing and talking about them even more.