Perhaps….. I am cursed….. or something. It seems that when I start to really like something, the quality starts to dwindle overtime.

I played Ratchet and Clank: Tools of Destruction and thought that was one of the few games I really… REALLY enjoyed on the BS3. The action, the humor, and even the slight ounce of “drama”. But for the most part, the game offered a bit of freedom in how you deal with combat. I enjoy games that give you a multitude of ways to kill enemies like Metroid Prime 1. Afterward, I kinda went R&C crazy and found a couple of used games for under 17 bucks, and I bought the new title as well, “Into the Nexus”. Voucher for Ass Quest and everything.

Seems I need to pump my breaks for this series.

Now, Ass Quest (Quest for Booty) was a goddamn Zelda game, and was incredibly short. The issue with this game is the same thing that plagued Zelda and Metroid games. You have your items at the beginning but lose them for the sake of story. And you spend a large majority of the time solving puzzles. Joy.

Tools of Destruction had lots of stuff going for it. But the main thing that made it a winner was the lack of bullshit. ToD was nigh bullshit free. Aside from 2 lousy fetch quests that were… quite easy, the game was a breath of fresh air from all the bullshit that most so-called “platformers” would put you through. But what I really enjoyed was how the levels actually FELT like levels. You progress through long worlds taking on swarms of enemies and evading traps… you know, what an actual GAME feels like. The weapons are impressive in their ass whippin capabilities. The hornet swarm traps were the ultimate bitch-makers in this title.

Ass Quest kinda…….idk what the hell this game was trying to be, I can see why it’s nowhere to be found unless you buy Into the Nexus.

A Crack in Time wasn’t really bad, but it is inferior in many ways. Firstly, they went into this mission based level format. IE, you’re in some wide area doing work. Most of the time, it’s really just “enemies over here, kill they ass” which isn’t bad in itself, but why a mission thing!?

And don’t get me started on the Clank segments. Ohhhhhhhhh Puzzle City is what the Great Clock is! If not for the option to skip that bullshit, it would’ve been a bad title by then.  See, that’s how you handle puzzles, like a cutscene. Let the player have the free will to skip that bullshit. And you know the best part? People are actually DRIVEN to want to solve the puzzles this way. See, when you give someone an option in games, the players become more open minded to try them all. You know why? Because there’s no pressure on them to do any one thing before moving on to the next. But yeah, there should’ve never been any puzzles in this series, even with my limited experience with it.

Otherwise, Crack in Time is…. ok at best. I do see that there’s more replay value than in Tools of Destruction via quests and the search for Zoni and mods, but that’s typical bullshit I have no patience for these days.

All 4 One was my first Ratchet Game, so after playing all those other titles, this one is DEFINITELY worse than all of them (sans Ass Quest). Especially with the imbalanced damage for weapons. I don’t know who designed that game, but dat bitch needs some damage patches. Tired of depending on the Critter Strike.

The problem with these games are not so much content (there’s more consistency here than in Sonic games, that’s for sure), but with unnecessary gameplay changes that are detrimental to fun factor. The addition of puzzles like Clank’s segments in ACiT are for intricacy’s sake rather than an actual challenge. I’m willing to forgive it because it can be skipped, but it can’t be excused for any reason. But what I do not enjoy were the “missions”. Platformers and missions don’t belong in the same sentence. Mission objectives or whatnot take away from your enjoyment via sending you all-over the world by needing to “seek and destroy” certain enemies or needing to quickly press certain switches in a specified order under 35 seconds, or even having to find some seeds to plant them just so they can grow in the future. It’s all for the sake of “intricacy” and “cleverness”, signs that the developers may be growing pretentious or feel pressured to compete against Nintendo for some reason.

That brings me to Into the Nexus. The latest game in the series that actually changes more than the gameplay. Even the CONTENT feels different in some way. While I have yet to complete it, it’s best to describe the game as being more “serious”, than previous titles. What little comedy it has seems to be diminished by the game’s overall tone and atmosphere. It feels as the game is going more for dread than Pixar.

Tools of Destruction and Crack in Time had a natural balance between the light and the shade. While it was comical at best, it could also be dramatic at best. Tachyon was a midget who was also quite clumsy, but man did he make Ratchet feel like shit with all the smack talking about “I killed yo peoples, whatcho you bout to do?!” or Azimuth with his own desires to revive the Lombaxes while at conflict with Clank’s duty to make sure no one uses the Time Clock. Something that Lost Mind FAILED HARD to do with the conflict with Tails and Robotnik with Sonic in between. They built it up over time, see. But even with all the dramatics, the games were still very light-hearted. They can get serious and laid-back at their own pace. Kids games do well when they treat the kids like adults and not retards (see Winnie the Pooh).

On the other hand, Into the Nexus doesn’t seem interested in striking a balance as the game comes off more serious and….. “spooky” if that makes sense. Especially when you get to the orphanage with all these drawings of eye-balls and what not. It’s slightly disturbing when you’ve got this crazy bitch who worships a giant eyeball and all.

But since I’ve only started, I can’t say much on content. The mechanics, however……

Lets just say switching up the CONTROLS for no reason other than intricacy has completely pissed me off. Now if I want to toss my wrench, I need to use L1 and Square instead of the more familiar R2 combo. And I can only fire weapons exclusively from R1 while Circle has no function beyond intricacy. This is a dick move. You know how when you work with a certain printer at work, and you know how it works well, but then the bosses change the printers? That one change might seem harmless, but it’s enough to drive people full blown batshit. People LOVE familiarity with controls in sequels and a series because it means they can jump right in without the need to relearn how to play the game. With Sonic games, you’re always relearning how to play the games because Sega is an asshole factory. Everyone was ADAMANT in using GC controllers for Smash Bros Brawl due to that familiarity. One of the biggest advantages of the playstation brand is that the controllers themselves never change in design. So even if you go into a new playstation, you can feel right at home as the controller is the same.

That said, WHY THE FUCK DID THEY CHANGE THIS!? I’ve used and abused the Circle because it’s much more intuitive as this series was not a 3rd person shooter. But that seems to be what they’re shooting for as you cannot shoot in any direction anymore either. You can only shoot toward whatever the camera is looking at. And there seems to be no way to change this. Previous titles gave you different control “styles” to accommodate players who prefer to play in a certain way. For this game, you need to be accustomed to 3rd person shooters, no exceptions. And 3rd person shooters are AWFUL games.

With this, it’s clear the game is some kind of Dead Space Parody. You have the more “serious” tone, the “scarier” and more disturbing atmosphere, and the controls of a 3rd person shooter. And a reduced frame rate so the game looks slower as well. This would’ve been….. ok had it not been for the “intricate” gimmicks they have for this game. The oh so great rift points. Basically, these pink circles on the walls are things you have to use to get around. What you have to do is find 2 of these things pointing at each other and using a rift gun, shoot them to connect them to each other and create some sort of gravity bridge that pushes you from one point to the next. Simply put, you’re creating gravitational ziplines. This wouldn’t be so bad if they weren’t all over the damn place and they’re used for more goddamn puzzles. There are points where you have to make multiple rifts or w/e and then jump from one to another. The problem is sometimes you have to make rifts while you’re in mid-rift or before a time limit goes out. I’m certain it’s going to be a lot more obnoxious as I go through.

Another gimmick they have which is actually kinda fun is the netherrealm parts with Clank. If you played a game like Metal Storm on the NES, it’s basically like that. You flip gravity around so you can traverse dangerous pits and manuveur around enemies. Though it seems it’s only available in the first world. Would’ve prefered more of those than those damn rift points.

Another annoying thing is you don’t get an abundance of money in this game like before, and raritanium is… well.. “rare”, so buying and upgrading weapons have to be done sparingly…. which wouldn’t be so bad if the game’s enemies weren’t pretty fuckin hard. I think I died like 5 times from those turret warriors, my loathsome adversaries. Top it off, you got ammo starvation. It’s like Metroid Prime 2 all over again, and that is NOT a good sign.

I’ll wait to complete the game before a final judgement, but so far, it’s not lookin good. Story is alright, at least you have a villain that’s interesting for once.

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