A rousing, smart distillation of western society over the past few years, Ratchet & Clank’s return fits complicated world events into a comfortable platform/my-first-shooter frame. Rebellion against a bumbling authoritarian leader, multiverse traveling akin to Marvel, and genuinely nuanced approach to character drama allow A Rift Apart to eclipse the seemingly perfect predecessor.
Where that prior game told a softened tale of never trusting one’s heroes, A Rift Apart shows what happens when too many people fall for their artificial gusto. Ratchet and compatriot Rivet deal with their own interpersonal squabbles, learning to forgive and trust those who once wronged them. There’s depth to this approach, wrapped in a glistening technical sheen that even as this console generation matures, will undoubtedly remain a lush spectacle.
Thick in wild sci-fi worlds and lore, A Rift Apart makes the complex real world digestible to an impressionable age group, the routine “working together” character motivations less obvious until the climax, and overcoming two Dr. Nefarious super villains is richly satisfying. One Nefarious becomes a lackey to the other, the submissiveness faultless satire of a former US Vice President, and maniacal idiocy equally so of a President. The connection is clear and in videogame terms, a satirical masterpiece that can only result when our reality turns so utterly rotten.