Ratchet & Clank: Q-Force
Ratchet & Clank, the comedy duo from PlayStation. They have been making gamers smile for over ten years. The colorful settings, stupid enemies, great creative weapons and the ad rem comments of the protagonists provide enough entertainment, also with the Dutch voices. However, the stretch seems a bit off with the series and whether Ratchet & Clank: QForce will make up for this remains to be seen.
From attacking to defending
QForce starts funny right away. It seems like you are at the end of the game, because Ratchet, Clank and Captain Qwark are all bored. After all, they’ve defeated Doctor Nefarious, so there’s no more work, no more evil to fight. The dialogues immediately set the mood, but there is no such thing as a Ratchet & Clank without villains. Therefore, a strange villain named Stuart Zurgo soon appears; this creep doesn’t like Qwark. For that reason, he decides to disable the defense mechanism on various planets. To show the QForce, consisting of Ratchet, Clank and Captain Qwark, this Zurgo what they are capable of and to rectify this bad choice.
Each planet this time does not consist of the well-known platform gameplay that we are used to from the other Ratchet & Clank’s, because QForce has a tower defense setup. On the planets, you will be dropped from space from the Starship Phoenix II, which is your main base. You get a base on each map with generators that provide you with electricity and they are also your livelihood. When they’re all destroyed, just start over. So you will have to protect this base and you have several options for this. Enemies can invade from two directions and you can protect those paths with weapons like flamethrowers and plasma guns, but also mines and barriers must stop the enemies. This won’t be enough, though, so you’ll definitely need to step in to shoot the scum.
This tower defense setup is just the beginning, as you’ll need to get out and about to re-engage that planet’s defenses. To place plasma guns and mines at all, you need the well-known bolts, which you find throughout the map under cubes and by defeating enemies. You’ll need to explore the map, pierce the enemy’s defenses, and eventually turn on three generators to reactivate the entire mechanism and make the planet safe. This is still a tough task, because the various enemies are quite aggressive and you don’t just have all your weapons ready. Previously you could buy weapons, now you will find several weapon depots on the map that offer you multiple weapons. Each time you can choose one and that way you build up your arsenal during your mission.
As you can see, Ratchet & Clank: QForce is focused on strategy and the tower defense is well developed. It is often really necessary to return to your base after reconnaissance if danger threatens. Your machine defenses won’t last long and the big culprits will rush into your base. It is therefore important to keep a close eye on the hub and the voice of your computer, because before you know it you have to turn around to save your life. However, because the concept has remained fairly unambiguous, developer Insomniac Games apparently opted for a short single player. After four planets and thus four missions and a final boss, the credits are already falling over the screen. Very unfortunate, since Ratchet & Clank always suffices with a longer campaign and a nice story. This story is now very much pushed into the background and although the humor has remained, it remains a loss.
Another question that arises is why Clank barely makes any sense in the game. Normally he always goes on an adventure, but in QForce you don’t carry him with you. He protects your base with Captain Qwark, but they are in a very illogical place, that they can do nothing. The only correct answer then has to be that the game is a true multiplayer game. And that’s right, because it’s much more fun to play the game with three people. Ratchet & Clank: QForce then feels much more structured, because you can easily agree who will keep an eye on the base, who will protect and who will do what. So it’s really a greater pleasure to play the game with others, also because the challenge is more fun.
In addition, QForce also includes an online multiplayer variant, where you can compete against one or more other real players online to see who the king or kings are in tower defense. Two teams fighting is of course the ultimate battle, although this can only be done completely online. Unfortunately, you cannot create a team with friends on the couch. The online setup is very cool. You must first collect as many bolts as possible on a map to be able to purchase defenses later. You can also take over generators that provide extra bolts. After this you can choose defensive weapons for your weapons and an army that attacks the enemy. You will have to estimate what the best tactic is and it will show whether it works or not. On the actual attack, you can send the army over and go with it yourself, or stay and help defend your base. Paddling back and forth is of course also possible, as long as you win the bitter battle.
Insomniac Games seems to have enough resources to turn a series around in such a way that a platformer gets stuck in a completely different genre. Ratchet & Clank: QForce does something completely different and puts down a tower defense that is well put together. Together with the humor and a strategic approach you will have to knock a new enemy to the ground and this is not without a fight. It is a daring project and of course the fans prefer a full platformer with a nice story, but a small title like this, for only fifteen euros, is good in between. However, the story is a lack, Clank has a very small role and the gameplay is very short. Still, you can have enough fun with friends, offline and online, to create the best defense or attack.