I’m a bit confused by Into the Nexus. It’s meant to cap off the Future series, but new things are teased at the end. It’s nice that the PS3 got it as a swan song, but looking at the cloud save options and the PS4 launch lineup, I can’t help but feel like Sony had bigger plans for Into the Nexus than it was able to pull off. And it’s a shame, too, because Ratchet & Clank is in top form here. I only hope that a good portion of its audience didn’t skip the title because of new hardware coming down the pipe so soon after the game’s release.
Insomniac took the Ratchet & Clank brand in a couple of unexpected directions. All 4 One was an interesting idea that would have worked better if local players other than the first could save their progress, and Full Frontal Assault was great for fans of tower defense but lacked some of the series trademark humor and exploration. Insomniac took note of those things, and Into the Nexus is a new adventure in the vein of Tools of Destruction and Crack in Time, even if the game length is closer to that of Quest for Booty.
Ratchet’s pack is full to the brim with returning and new gadgets. Hover boots are back, for example, and they’re joined by a jetpack. The jetpack is not always available, but when you get to take it out for a spin, you’ll wish it were. Raining down death from above while flying around large, open levels is exceptionally fun.
Weapon leveling is still-present, but Into the Nexus borrows more from Tools of Destruction than A Crack in Time in that, along with an experience bar tied to weapon use, you’ll also upgrade weapons by collecting and spending raritanium to fill out a hex grid full of weapon buffs. After seeing the grid disappear in A Crack in Time I was disappointed, and I’m elated to see it return here, as it really allows each weapon to be unique. Each weapon’s upgrade grid is large, too. After my first play I didn’t have any complete, and only two weapons leveled up to three. There’s a lot to fill out, and the rewards will just keep coming through subsequent playthroughs.
Into the Nexus is short. I completed the adventure in just about six hours. In that six hours, though, I was collecting new weapons, leveling them up, exploring five distinct planets, loving the jetpack segments, platforming through zero gravity, engaging in some very well-put-together boss encounters and solving 2D rift puzzles as Clank to open up new areas for Ratchet to explore. There’s a ton to do, and the short length serves to make New Game+ a very attractive proposition. A return to its roots is exactly what Into the Nexus needed to be, and it serves as a great farewell to the series’ PS3 era.
Pros: Great weapon variety, interesting zero-gravity gameplay, return of the raritanium upgrade grid
Cons: Six hours is on the short side