Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart Review – More Characters, Less Fun

Ratchet & Clank is a curious franchise as you never know what will happen next. Back in the PS2 era, we had regular releases featuring full sequels every year or two. It was a schedule which continued into the PS3 era with equally regular releases yet these were often downgraded to budget-priced shorter games or spin-offs. You could tell those creators over at Insomniac were running out of ideas.

That’s when everything changed. The PS4 saw only a single release; a reboot of the original game to tie-in with its box-office flop of a movie. It was a solid game though, adding some extra characters and a cheerier tone which weren’t present in the original PS2 game whilst also cutting out a lot of the filler. Then things just kinda stopped and we were left wondering if we’d ever get another sequel or reboot, or combination of the two.

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Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart is a 2021 third-person shooter action-adventure game developed by Insomniac Games and published by Sony Interactive Entertainment. It is the sequel to Ratchet & Clank: Into the Nexus (2013) and the ninth main installment in the Ratchet & Clank series. It was released for the PlayStation 5 on June 11th, 2021.

Rift Apart is very much a long-overdue sequel since it continues Ratchet’s ongoing vendetta with the evil robotic Dr. Nefarious, though in the interest of progression it sadly ditches potential love-interest Talwyn from the previous few games and instead introduces a new female Lombax named Rivet into the narrative. Apart from that and a bit of a time-skip, not much has changed and our duo are thrown back into the action after a period of downtime.


Some time after the events of Into the Nexus, Ratchet and Clank are celebrated as galactic heroes during a parade hosted by Captain Quark. During it, Clank reveals that he has repaired the Dimensionator, a device capable of opening rifts to other dimensions so that Ratchet can search for the lost Lombax race, including his missing family. However, Dr. Nefarious attacks the parade and attempts to steal the Dimensionator. During the struggle, Ratchet shoots the Dimensionator, which causes dimensional rifts to begin opening randomly.

Ratchet, Clank, and Dr. Nefarious are transported to an alternate universe, where the Dimensionator explodes, damaging the fabric of space and time and separating the three. Clank awakens to find himself alone and now missing his right arm as a result of the blast. He is discovered and picked up by a female Lombax named Rivet.

Meanwhile, Dr. Nefarious ends up in a throne room where he is mistaken for Emperor Nefarious, an alternate version of himself who, unlike him, has never been defeated and rules over the galaxy. Elsewhere, Ratchet finds himself alone and starts his search for Clank. With the Emperor currently absent on a conquest, Dr. Nefarious secretly assumes his identity and sends his new minions after Ratchet and Rivet, pushing the pair to work together to save Rivet’s galaxy while Clank repairs the Dimensionator to bring him and Ratchet home.


You’ll be playing, once again, as Ratchet. He is accompanied by his robotic friend and sidekick, Clank, who is hung on his back. Additionally, the game has a playable female Lombax named Rivet, as well as a robot similar to Clank named Kit. The player navigates Ratchet and Rivet through diverse environments across a multitude of levels, defeating enemies with an array of varied weapons and gadgets, and traversing obstacles to complete key mission objectives.

The game shares many gameplay similarities with Ratchet & Clank (2016) and other entries in the series. It retains elements of previous Ratchet & Clank games, such as strafing, heavy gunplay, collection of bolts, automatic weapon and health upgrades, manual Raritanium weapon upgrading and gadgets.

Rift Apart also introduces to the series the concept of real-time near-instantaneous travel between different areas, planets and other worlds within gameplay scenes via a system of inter-dimensional portals. In order for the player to utilise this feature, a new mechanic dubbed the ‘Rift Tether’ is introduced which pulls Ratchet and Rivet from one side of a portal to another, allowing them to move quickly between points.

The game features the return of some planets explored in previous entries with a dimensional twist through their alternate counterparts, alongside new planets not seen previously in the franchise. The game features enhanced mobility and traversal options with the addition of moves such as dashing and wall running. In addition, the game’s arsenal features a mix of brand new weapons and returning classics from prior installments.

There are also an assortment of accessibility options, including a high-contrast mode and toggles for simplified traversal, camera sensitivity, flight assistance, etc., to ensure that all players can enjoy the gameplay and complete the story. The option to skip Clank’s slower, trial-and-error based puzzles without penalty is also a very welcome addition.


Just like the last few games in the series, Rift Apart looks outstanding with contrasting colours and tones with clean, crisp animations and spectacular lighting. It also takes advantage of the extra power of the PS5 with speedy transitions between dimensions which are very much the game’s heavily-used new gimmick. From start to finish, the game looks like a big-budget Dreamworks blockbuster.

The game features an original score composed primarily by Mark Mothersbaugh and Wataru Hokoyama. Known for his works in animated movies such Hotel Transylvania and The Croods: A New Age while also juggling Hollywood blockbusters including Thor: Ragnarok, Mothersbaugh was contacted early in the game’s development who later agreed to compose for the game. By combining eclectic synth sounds with orchestral beats, Mothersbaugh was able to deliver a more cinematic sound experience evoking a retro futuristic sound.

Rivet is lovingly voiced by VA legend Jennifer Hale, a brilliant addition, though I do miss the gorgeous Tara Strong who voiced Talwyn in the previous games. Still, many heavy hitters from the voice acting world reprise their roles here; James Arnold Taylor returns as Ratchet, David Kaye is Clank and Armin Shimerman reprises Dr. Nefarious.


The trophies are a nice mix of story completion elements and small challenges. The use of a guide helps but the collectable markers on the in-game maps make trophy hunting pretty easy. There is one missable trophy, Extinction Event, so keep that one in mind when you visit Sargasso and everything else can be picked up through general play if you mix up your weapons enough. A guide still comes in handy since one set of collectables doesn’t appear on maps and you’ll also need a strategy for defeating ten enemies by launching their projectiles back at them using a shield, which can be mildly frustrating.


Dimensional travelling aside, there’s not really anything new of note here since Ratchet & Clank has always been good at delivering excellent variety in its environments, well voiced characters and brilliantly destructive weapons, though levelling up your favourite weapons until they become super powerful still means never using them again because you won’t want to waste the XP. As such we’ve got more of the same, and while that’s not exactly a bad thing, it can feel a little stale. It’s often fun, but nothing we haven’t seen before.

Sadly, I encountered more than a few bugs as Ratchet/Rivet would often smack into oddly placed invisible walls mid-jump or glitch through floors for no clear reason requiring a checkpoint restart. At under 20 hours for 100% completion, it’s not exactly deserving of its original £70 price tag so I’m glad I waited long enough to grab it for £30. I wouldn’t want to pay any more for essentially more of the same, and honestly I’m not sure dragging the game out any longer would make it a better investment.

It’s a charming little action-platforming-shooter but never really goes above and beyond, at least not with its style of storytelling. As such, it’s not quite the flagship PS5 exclusive title I was looking for after the mixed bag of ideas which was Astro’s Playroom and the disastrously imbalanced Neptunia ReVerse. Sure, you can switch between playing as Ratchet and Rivet but this does nothing to mix up the gameplay because they both play exactly the same way and even share new weapons and gadgets, like some sort of intergalactic Dropbox. In fact I’d have to say none of the new characters (with the exception a new main villain) bring anything of value to the stagnating narrative and can make the game, at times, sadly kinda boring.


  • Stunning visuals as always
  • Superb voice talent
  • Fun gunplay


  • Repetitive, overly familiar elements
  • Some bugs here and there
  • A bit overpriced at launch

Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart

Above Average

Essentially more of the same Ratchet & Clank quirkiness with a lick of next-gen paint. Fun when the action peaks, but also rather samey after all these years of similar gameplay and a story that doesn't pack much punch.

Gary Green
PS5 version reviewed