In one of the most recent trailers for Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart, I noticed something that the developers haven’t really touched on yet. It’s a mechanic that I think has always been present in the games, a dodge. However, in Rift Apart, it’s been augmented to make characters stop existing temporarily, allowing them to effectively dodge attacks. This screamed out at me as a mechanic from another series, Dark Souls, and any ARPG for that matter. It’s the i-frames that players use to avoid taking damage, and it’s been transplanted tactically into this platfomer.
The dodge isn’t something that Ratchet has always been able to do. Now both the game’s protagonists have the power to pull it off, but it’s aided by the dimensional rift issues that are affecting the universe across the game’s story. Somehow, these characters have been altered on a level that allows them to simply cease existing, and that’s a very cool way of contextualising a mechanic that you want to include to make combat easier. I think that the developers must have had a lot of fun coming up with ways to make it work, and I’m glad that it now seems to fit so well. To be honest, I’m thankful for the combat scenarios I’ll encounter, because they’re often hard as nails.
Ratchet and Clank games have always had tough combat. Sometimes it’s intentional, as with the various battle arenas throughout the games. However, sometimes the mechanics of the game are what makes the combat difficult. It’s not always clear, because it feels like your skills are what needs to be improved, not the game. I’ve always felt like the games don’t lend themselves to combat though. They’re platformers with great combat woven in, but the games have never felt like these two worlds mesh very well. The combat always feels a little clunky, and the games have suffered because of it.
In Rift Apart, I think that Insomniac Games will have finally hit the mark on combining combat and platforming. As long as they have, the game will feel as good to play as it looks, and it looks incredible. I’m also pretty excited to feel the combat through the unique DualSense feedback that this game will have.