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Gaming Evolution
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Gaming Evolution
Gaming Evolution
Published by: Sony Computer Entertainment
Developed by: High Impact Games
Genre: Third-Person Action
Players: 1-4
Rated: E10 (Everyone 10 and up)
Release Date: February 13, 2007
Written By: Matthew Prunty
Screenshots: Link
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Ratchet & Clank has been one of the flagship titles of the Playstation 2 console that almost everyone has either played or owns. Getting its start back in 2002, gamers got a blend of platform and third-person shooter elements, which blending together nicely with humor and interesting take to level design. With the release of the later 2 titles, the series saw new characters and new features and elements, but stayed true to the formula that brought the series global success. Now with the first creation for the PSP handheld, gamers get a chance to take Ratchet & Clank with them anywhere they go, without suffering for the transition.

After three intense battling adventures on the Playstation 2 console, Ratchet & Clank wanted to take a break from it all. While resting on an island, they are approached by a girl named Luna, who wanted to take some pictures of Ratchet acting heroic. While trying to recreate some of his memorable battle sequences, Luna is kidnapped. She drops a device that directs the tag team toward a tiny race of creatures. So of course, without hesitation, they set off to rescue the little girl. I wonít spoil anything about the story, but I can definitely tell you that once you dive into it, you will be hooked for a long time.

While the plot will have you hooked, the weapons will always steal the show. As the series progressed on the PS2, Ratchet acquired several moves and weaponry over the series, and they are all within Size Matters. You have your basic laser-pistol like weapons, rocket launcher, acid bombs, robot helpers, etc. As you progress through the title, you will acquire new weapons and weapon upgrades (mods), allowing you to dish out some heavy damage, while looking good for the camera. The guns even morph into new weaponry when you fill the experience meter with points from killing various enemies.

Weapons arenít the only pieces you can collect and upgrade along the way. Ratchet will also pick up pieces of armor ranging from helmets, to gloves, to boots of different abilities. If you are lucky enough to complete a set of a particular armor, you will gain a power effect like fire or ice for your wrench weapon. This is a nice ability to have in certain areas, but just like I said, if youíre lucky enough to complete the set, you will gain yet another new ability.

For those new to the series, thereís more to the game than just Ratchet shooting off over the top guns and beating up robots with a giant wrench. When gamers take on the role of Clank, you are open to new abilities. Clank can take control of other robots to help solve complicated puzzles. He can also access smaller out-of-the-way areas. The finest feat he has is the ability to turn into a giant war machine, which turns the game into a Star-Fox epic mini-game.

Size Matters is a great fit for the PSP. For those who have played the PS2 version, you would see similarities within the graphical presence. So may see that is a negative comment towards the PSP, but the fact of the matter is that the handheld isnít running at full power, while the PS2 processor runs at more than 70 MHz faster, so when a PSP title can capture the same visual feetís, itís a compliment towards the developers of this title. Some differences you would come across between the PS2 and PSP builds is that during cut-scenes, Ratchet would be dressed in his armor, but within the PSP build, you have him only in pants and boots, with no armor on.

High Impact Games has created pretty immersive worlds within limited disc space, allowing for character and detailed to be displayed within the various environments and characters. The only problem I could find within the graphical presence of this title is that as you distance yourself further and further from an item, planet, etc., you will notice the decrease in detail as it fades into the backdrop.

When a game makes the transition from the PS2 to the PSP, usually the controls are the first section to take a huge blow. Most games are designed for dual analogs sticks with four shoulder buttons, while on the PSP; there are only two shoulder buttons and one analog stick. High Impact Games solved this problem beautifully, though some maneuvers take time to successfully pull them off. The camera is now controlled by the shoulder buttons on the PSP, whereas on the PS2, gamers had the right analog stick to control all the camera movements. Strafing is done via the D-pad, while the analog stick controls the normal movement of the characters.

Giving the limitations of the PSP controls, some gamers may have a hard time performing all the trademark maneuvers from the series. But after a little practice, Iím sure gamers will still find the game and the interactive experience very much enjoyable.

Size Matters offers up a solid in-depth single-player mode that requires quite a bit of playtime in order to survive and conquer everything the mode has to offer. But even when some would consider that enough, there is also a rather robust multiplayer mode that supposes Wi-Fi gaming and connectivity (Infrastructure and As Hoc). This mode also offers up a nice selection of balanced weapons, sweet maps to do battle on, and multiple skins to choose from.

When with both modes, this game offers up even more content. As you play through the game, you can come across a nice selection of collectible Titanium Bolts, armor upgrades, skill points, and a plethora of other goodies to sink your teeth into. So for those who donít get their feel from the single-player option, they will have tons of fun with the multiplayer realm.

Though I have had limited experience with the Ratchet & Clank series, I found this game to very fun and addictive no matter the experience of the game. The controllers take a bit to get use to, but it doesnít stop you having an enjoyable gaming experience on the PSP. This 1.8GB UMD disc is backed with in-depth single and multiplayer modes, tons of unlockables to acquire, immersive visual presentation with a solid core found within the gameplay mechanics. At the end of the day, gamers will have the perfect ďpick up and goĒ title to play on their PSP with no regrets.


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