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: Reviews: Ratchet & Clank: Up Your Arsenal (PS2) Review
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Ratchet & Clank: Up Your Arsenal (PS2)
Suggestive title innuendo aside, Ratchet & Clank: Up Your Arsenal is the most refined in Insomniac Games� triple-A series. Insomniac Games� Ratchet & Clank was an excellent platformer, alongside Jak and Daxter, it enabled the PlayStation 2 to be considered the console of the year in terms of platforming games in 2002. The company followed up last year with Going Commando, which introduced some interesting minigames to the already successful formula. I�m not entirely sure how they did it, but Insomniac Games is three-for-three as Up Your Arsenal doesn�t redefine the series, but it is easily the most polished, and the multiplayer is just kick-ass.

In Up Your Arsenal, the ever-lovable Clank has set off to become a television star. His dreams of stardom are shattered quickly as the Dr. Nefarious has plans to cause major chaos. Clank and Ratchet team up to stop this as soon as possible, as expected.

It is readily apparent that the single player hasn�t changed much in the third game of the series. The game still gives you a number of missions, some of which don�t do much but get you to another point to continue the story. There are a few optional side-quests thrown in there for variety, but for the most part, the game doesn�t stray far from the combat-intensive platforming found in the earlier games.

It is hard to complain much though since Ratchet & Clank: Up Your Arsenal pulls off the combat-platformer line of play so incredibly well. You�ll find a repertoire of enemies ranging from ninjas to gladiators, all in the robot variety, of course. The game isn�t light on weaponry, either. You�ll find the typical weapons like the shotgun, sniper and grenade launcher, but there are others � more interesting weapons � like one that lets you turn enemies into sheep or unleash an army of robots to attack enemies. Like before, it is possible to level-up weapons that gain features as you use them, making them more powerful.

And while the single-player campaign offers an enjoyable yet similar experience, the multiplayer mode is. You can play multiplayer either offline with up to three other players (provided that you own a multitap) or hop online and engage in battle with up to seven other players. The game includes two standard modes: Deathmatch and Capture the Flag, which are self-described. The third move � Siege � is by far the most interesting. In this mode, players are split up into teams and will need to turn neutral nodes found in the environments into nodes for their team. The goal is to collect as many as possible, thus gaining the turret they contain, in an attempt to finish off the other team. Taken as a whole, the multiplayer mode doesn�t do anything particularly different or innovative, but it adds a lot of replay value and truly showcases the excellent combat engine behind the Up Your Arsenal. I should mention that the multiplayer mode is made easier by the addition of a full-on first-person viewpoint but also one that resembles third-person shooters .

Visually, the Ratchet & Clank pushes the PS2 to great extent. The game�s environments are all colorful but incredibly detailed, offering varied locales for each of the different places you�ll visit. The character models are, naturally, just as detailed with overall excellent character animations and super-fluid animation. The PS2 manages to keep up with the game, pushing 60 frames per second, although there are some drops when too much is going on-screen, particularly in the way of explosions.

The game�s audio is just as solid. The sound effects pack a punch and really bring to life the game�s many weapons. The voice acting is solid and enlivens the cutscenes that tell the story.

The Ratchet & Clank has always been excellent. Ratchet & Clank: Up Your Arsenal, while not radically different than its predecessors with the exception of the new online play, still provides some of the purest, most enjoyable gameplay available on the PlayStation 2.

-- Jose Liz


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