Last week, I was lucky enough to check out Insomniac Games’ upcoming platformer, Ratchet and Clank: Up Your Arsenal. Easily the most ambitious platformer Insomniac’s made to date, Up Your Arsenal is essentially two games in one: a fully fleshed out multiplayer title and a huge single player experience that continues the intergalactic storyline of the two unlikely heroes. I sat down with Ryan Schneider of Insomniac, who gave me some of the details behind the game before we leapt into gameplay.|
First of all, Up Your Arsenal is technically significant within online play for a number of reasons. It will be able to support up to 8 players online in a match at 60 frames a second with full voice support. Yep, we’re talking live time communication with your teammates as you take out enemies and accomplish goals. What’s more, these 8 players could potentially belong to an online clan which can host up 64 players. You won’t have to worry about having to always track your friends down, because you’ll have buddy lists readily available to you. Plus, Arsenal also features a ton of stat tracking so you and your friends will have bragging rights about your gameplay. If you’re not interested in that, you can also leap into a quickmatch based on your experience level with the game. Players will have access to 20 multiplayer skins and co-op vehicle gameplay as well. All of this will be driven from the memory cards on a gamer’s system in real time, which has never been done before in a PS2 title.
There will be three modes of online play: there will be three battle modes in online play: the typical capture the flag and deathmatch modes, along with a new mode called siege. Siege tasks players with the destruction of their opponent’s base while they protect their own. However, to do so, they have to essentially pick their enemy’s base apart piece by piece. This means taking out defensive turrets and nodes, respawn points that also act as equipment centers before taking the entire base out. While many of the features and gameplay within Up Your Arsenal is designed to get players online quickly and painlessly for multiplayer matches, gamers who aren’t interested in this mode won’t be forced to go online or buy a network adapter. Many of the “tasks” or objectives from online play have been seamlessly integrated into some of the plotlines within the single player experience.
As far as single player games are concerned, Ratchet and Clank picks up after the adventure of the Protopet. Much of the success our duo has received is now due to “Secret Agent Clank,” a “holovid” series that celebrates Clank’s James Bond-like calm under fire. Ratchet, who’s been told that his acting is horrible, winds up playing second fiddle to Clank’s suave man…er, robot of mystery. This all changes upon the message that Ratchet’s homeworld of Veldin is under attack by a being calling himself Dr. Nefarious. The bad doctor’s bedside manner is decidedly unfriendly towards Ratchet or his people: he wants to eliminate all organic life in favor of mechanical life forms, and he’s unleashed monstrosities called Tyrannoids to do his dirty work. Unfortunately, no one’s managed to defeat the doctor. No one, that is, except a fallen hero rarely seen in the universe anymore and his team: Captain Quark and the Q-Force.
In Up Your Arsenal, Quark isn’t even a shell of his former self. He’s completely lost his sanity and no longer remembers who he is. However, his memory can be jogged by playing holovid comics of Quark’s famous adventures against Nefarious. Mini-games comprised of 2D platforming elements, the holo-vids provide additional backstory of why Nefarious is who he is and how Quark became the tragic hero that he is. These comics are played aboard the Starship Phoenix, a flying spaceship that acts as a mobile hub transporting you around the galaxy. You’ll be able to buy new armor and weaponry, both of which you’ll be able to try out in a simulator.
Players of the Ratchet and Clank Games have gotten used to the wacky nature of the weapons in the games. Well, this has been significantly upgraded within Up Your Arsenal. There are twenty weapons in this game, five of which make a return from Going Commando. Unlike the previous title, every single weapon can be upgraded five times, with an additional three levels of upgrades once you’ve completed the game once. This grand total of eight weapon upgrade levels provides a ton of destruction in the midst of battle. Along with the increased damage that you can release upon enemies, you can also make Ratchet invincible with a new ability called Inferno, where Ratchet wields two wrenches set on fire. What’s also cool about Up Your Arsenal is that you’ll won’t need to go searching for a vendor all the time. With the new PDA, Ratchet can buy weaponry and ammo to resupply your weapons anywhere in the field. This game looks like it’s be the greatest title in the Ratchet and Clank series when its released next month. Check back soon for a preview and a full review!
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