For 14 years now, Insomniac Games has been releasing colorful, engaging and hilarious Ratchet & Clank games. From the groundbreaking 2002 original, to the imaginative and poignant A Crack in Time, the series has always found a way to constantly evolve and maintain its excellence. It’s no coincidence, then, that Ratchet and Clank have now become Playstation’s longest-serving mascots. Saving the galaxy from a slew of eccentric and mechanical villains as the two titular heroes is almost always a total blast.
Sure, there are a few missteps that don’t quite capture the soul and essence of the series, but those are few and far between. Now, after a short hiatus, the series has once again found its footing with the excellent semi-reboot of the first game, out now on Playstation 4, and an upcoming major motion picture. We’ve looked back at every game and ranked them all from worst to best.
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13. Ratchet & Clank: Full Frontal Assault: Ratchet & Clank: Full Frontal Assault is a spinoff that doesn't always work. It's the second time Insomniac attempted to change up the formula by incorporating a new tower defense element, moving away from the series' traditional action-platforming. The game is also relatively short, featuring only five levels set in three different planets, and can be completed in under four hours. The storytelling and writing is the weakest it's ever been, relegating Ratchet and Clank's usual epic battles to conflicts that are much less interesting. Main villain Zurgo also lacks the charisma and motivations of some of their other antagonists, like Dr. Nefarious.
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12. Secret Agent Clank: Developed by High Impact Games, Secret Agent Clank has you going on a James Bond-esque adventure as Clank, replete with cool gadgets and plenty of spy movie references. It's the first time Clank is the main star of the show, and his sections of the game mostly work. However, you'll also find yourself playing as Ratchet and Qwark in separate missions that are cumbersome slugfests. You've to survive waves and waves of generic enemies, continually throwing the whole game off the track, and hurting its pacing. The game would be much better off with just the Clank sections.
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11. Ratchet & Clank: All 4 One: After 2009's conclusive and splendid A Crack in Time, it was difficult for Insomniac to follow it up with a game that's even half as good. That's why the studio opted to release a spin-off that focuses on co-op play for the first time in the series. All 4 One is gorgeous, features most of the franchise's' beloved characters, and is relatively fun to play. But the entire package lacks a certain spark, and there's no getting around the fact that it just isn't a complete Ratchet & Clank experience. There's barely a story here, and the game is at its most engaging when only played by three or more people.
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10. Ratchet & Clank: Into the Nexus: After All 4 One and Full Frontal Assault, the series was in danger of never seeing the light of day again. Insomniac was determined to go back to the drawing board, and return the franchise back to its roots. It did just that with Into the Nexus, as it was the first single-player-focused Ratchet & Clank title in three years. A new mechanic focusing on gravity elevates the experience, allowing you to travel to areas you'd otherwise never be able to reach. Some excellent new weapons are introduced, like The Winterizer, which freezes enemies and turns them into snowmen. Into the Nexus' main issue, however, is that it feels like a short budget title. What's here is mostly great, but there's just not enough to it. It feels like a primer for something much grander.
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9. Ratchet & Clank: Quest for Booty: Quest for Booty suffers from the same problems as Into the Nexus; it can be completed in less than four hours and is a stopgap rather than its own full-length experience. However, the game is priced accordingly at $14.99, and contains a fun story about space pirates, with Ratchet exploring colorful tropical islands. It's slightly better-looking and more polished than its predecessor, Tools of Destruction, and introduces new puzzles involving Ratchet's trusty Omniwrench; you've got to find and grab creatures called Heliogrubs in order to light up dark, inaccessible areas.
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8. Ratchet & Clank: Size Matters: Size Matters was the first time Ratchet & Clank made its way onto a portable system, and the transition was seamless. It employs tight controls, thrilling action, space combat involving Giant Clank, and a story that focuses heavily on Captain Qwark, and his quest to find his true parents. While it isn't too different from the core Ratchet & Clank games, as it fails to introduce enough new elements, the ability to play a high-quality series entry on the go is worth the price of admission alone.
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7. Ratchet & Clank: Here's the one that started it all. After Insomniac was finished with Spyro, the developer was determined to drastically change the way we play 3D platformers, and what we should expect from them. Ratchet & Clank was easily one of the Playstation 2's first excellent exclusives. A story about two outcasts—one whose entire species is extinct, and the other who's a factory reject—is easily relatable and filled with plenty of gags and much-appreciated nuance. The panoply of bizarre guns at your disposal was the first time Insomniac showcased its creative abilities with weapons, and the slew of planets you explore are all varied and well designed. While later entries certainly made some much-needed refinements, this 2002 original is an important and nostalgic trip down memory lane.
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6. Ratchet & Clank: Up Your Arsenal: The third Ratchet & Clank game on the Playstation 2 slightly moves away from platforming, and instead focuses more on combat and bombastic action. Up Your Arsenal contains a new control mechanic, which allows you to better aim with your weapons, more closely resembling a third-person shooter. Its 2D side-scrolling mini-games featuring Captain Qwark are welcomed departures from the core experience, and the new multiplayer modes, such as Deathmatch and Capture the Flag, are actually fun. Long-running villain Dr. Nefarious makes his grand debut here as well. But Up Your Arsenal's action-heavy approach and minor issues with pacing make it inferior to its predecessor Going Commando.
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5. Ratchet: Deadlocked: After three games in three years, Ratchet & Clank was in danger of becoming stale and predictable. With Up Your Arsenal successfully closing out the original trilogy, Insomniac decided to have another go at the series before it would eventually move on to the Playstation 3. Deadlocked is unlike any of the games in series. It contains a darker tone, and entirely removes Clank as your sidekick and playable character. The little robot is relegated to the sidelines, as Ratchet is teamed up with two hilarious combat bots. The story is also quite different, as Ratchet is forced to compete in a popular and deadly tournament called the DreadZone, created by Gleeman Vox. Deadlocked bravely tries to do something new with the tried-and-true Ratchet & Clank formula, and it succeeds.
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4. Ratchet & Clank: Going Commando: After the first Ratchet & Clank's commercial and critical success, Insomniac followed it up with a more polished and longer sequel. Going Commando improves on nearly every aspect from the original. It's prettier, sports sharper sound effects, includes a few addictive mini-games, and allows you to upgrade your weapons for the first time. The story also features a more mature Ratchet and Clank, who're enjoying lives as celebrities after saving the galaxy. The villain, a corrupt corporation and its latest deadly product, is a refreshing departure from the first game's more generic Chairman Drek. However, Going Commando is infamous for its high difficulty, as the game becomes frustrating towards the end, forcing you to combat endless waves of brutal enemies. But it's the only issue in an otherwise near-flawless package.