When Sony announced that they were not continuing the Ratched and Clank franchise I was deeply saddened, but somewhere deep inside I knew that they were full of crap. [i]R&C[/i] have been highly successful and they wouldn’t be Sony if they didn’t try to milk that for all it was worth. Enter [i]Ratchet: Deadlocked[/i].
[i]Deadlocked[/i] is a game based in the world of [i]R&C[/i], but it removes Clank from the equation and places him in a NPC role so he is in the game, but Sony didn’t technically put out a new [i]R&C[/i] game, they put out a new Ratchet game.
Over the course of the franchise the [i]R&C[/i] games morphed quite a bit and strayed from the traditional platform style game and managed to successfully turn into a 3rd person shooter with a lot of focus on weapon xp and upgrades. Since Insomniac seemed to nail it perfectly I don’t think many people were bothered by this transformation. I know I wasn’t. [i]Deadlocked[/i] takes this concept to a whole new level and shelves the platform concepts that made [i]R&C[/i] popular. [i]Deadlocked[/i] focuses on the Battledome/Arena style battles found later in the series. Ratchet is somehow suckered into being a gladiator of sorts and performing for an evil TV mogul named Vox. Vox forces Ratchet to perform on a reality show based around huge arena battles and gladiator fights.
As you can probably guess, the battles general follow the theme of Ratchet versus tons of enemies with a larger than life boss fight at the end. Despite my true love for the platforming aspect of the [i]R&C[/i] games I got totally sucked into [i]Deadlocked[/i]. As in the previous games you can upgrade your weapons to out of this world limits and [i]Deadlocked[/i] actually sets that limit for your weapons at level 99. Yes, the vast majority of my weapons are at level 99 due to being on my 3rd play through the game.
The weapons, levels, and bosses in [i]Deadlocked[/i] are just as unique and fun as every game that precedes it which is flat out impressive. [i]Deadlocked[/i] also sports split screen action and online multiplayer goodness. I passed on the online component of play, but Dots and I engaged in a little co-op action. Before I explain the co-op I need to explain one key addition of [i]Deadlocked[/i] and that is your bots. Instead of having weapon based bots to help you out, you get a pair of robots to cover your back for the duration of the game. Like your weapons, these bots can be upgraded and customized. You will make use of the bots very frequently and they can be revived should they happen to get taken out by an enemy. The bots are capable of turning the bolts that always appear in [i]R&C[/i] games as well as firing off EMPs (you will need this for many large enemies) and dispatching a grind rope to aide you in getting from platform to platform.
The big difference in playing co-op versus single player is that you loose the bots and the 2 players must work as a team to utilize the tools previously allocated to your bots. This adds a very challenging yet fun aspect to the co-op levels. Dying in co-op is like many FPS games where you respawn as long as your partner is still alive.
As much as I love [i]Deadlocked[/i] I hesitate to slap it with an A++ super rating because it does depart so greatly from what many fans of the [i]R&C[/i] series may be looking for. That being said, it’s a great game despite its roots and is definitely one of the better games out right now. I think it goes without saying that [i]Ratchet: Deadlocked[/i] is a must buy.