Preview: Ratchet & Clank 2: Going Commando

October 20, 2003

Ratchet & Clank is one of the best 3d platform games I have ever played and I recently spent some time playing a demo of the upcoming sequel, Going Commando. One of the great things about RC is the diversity that the game brings to the genre. Insomniac successfully melded 3d platforming with racing mini games, stationary turret shooting challenges, and various other challenges such as the famed grind boots. Insomniac managed to deliver superb game play in every facet of the game. There have been quite a few key changes that have taken place for Going Commando and all of them are welcome additions to the new game.

The first thing you are likely to notice is that there was some tweaking done to the menus and especially the quick select menu. Overall there is a very different look and feel to them. It was necessary for the quick select menu to change for reasons that will become apparent to you in a moment.

The next major change in the game is the addition of the Gladiator Arena. In the Arena you face somewhere between 1 very large enemy to a plethora of typical enemies. You might ask yourself how this is any different than playing a level… It is similar to the battle arena you play as Mega Clank while on Planet Quartu from the original game. The major difference being that you are playing for a hefty prize in the form of a new weapon or a several thousand bolt cash prize. At this point, I am not sure if you are able to replay the battles for cash prizes in order to rack up an unholy amount of bolts or if these levels will be a one time thing. I have my fingers crossed though, as saving up for the R.Y.N.O. in the original got pretty old.

Before I get too excited and get way off track, let me touch on the most significant change. In my opinion, the reason the Quick Select menu had to change was because now weapons gain experience points (xp). Your weapons will do more damage based on the level of xp you currently have. That xp is dependant upon how heavily you use the weapon. I don’t know if this value goes down as the weapon is unused, but I will try to find out a little more before the game ships. At any rate, you can also gain “life” aka nanotech in the same manner and my initial report had listed that you will be able to reach upwards of 80 nanotech “bars” towards the end of the game. Obviously this is a big change from the first game and I will try to clarify exactly how this new XP system works.

The demo that I got my hands on also had a level called “Battle Sphere” where you have a task to complete but the difficulty is compounded by the fact that the level is in the form of a small planet. The curvature of the ground makes it very difficult to look around and figure out exactly where you are. I am not sure if these battle spheres will be implemented as whole levels or as mini-games much like the racing games.

On the racing front, Insomniac added at least one new vehicle in the form of a hoverbike. It handles much like the hoverboard and has similar missiles
and turbo functionality. I was impressed with the hoverboard in the first game and Insomniac didn’t let me down in the racing arena this time around either.

All in all, Insomniac seems to have put together a rock solid sequel with just the right mixture of platforming, rpg, and mini-games/challenges. I have a good feeling that in the future when you think of a good example of a perfect sequel that all signs will point to RC: Going Commando. You can rest assured that as soon as I get my grubby little hands on a copy of this game then I will let everyone know if the game lives up to my expectations.