Published on August 6th, 2023 | by S. Masoud Kazemi
Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart PC Review
Summary: Rift Apart is a gorgeous game with great gameplay and fantastic story that suffers from unpolished PC port that results to constant frame drops throughout the game.
Masterwork of Balancing
Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart was the next game in the long list of PlayStation exclusives that got released for PC as well. Rift Apart was one of the first games to demonstrate the true power and potential of PlayStation 5, especially its SSD features. With the release of the game for PC, it was a good opportunity for PC players to enjoy one of the best adventure games that were exclusive to PlayStation consoles as well as show how powerful the architecture and hardware of PS5 are.
The game starts with people celebrating the heroic deeds of Ratchet and Clank but it is interrupted by Dr. Nefarious which leads to him getting the Deminsionator. A device that can open portals to other dimensions, but it leads to Cataclysm and once again Ratchet and Clank have to save the universe, but this time they meet their counters as well, Rivet and Kit.
The story of Rift Apart is just beautiful. The characters have enough depth and each has a unique background and motivation which makes them so rich. Not only that, but the structure of the story and narrative of the games is pretty well done. The game has great rhythm on where to slow things down, and where to accelerate.
The most beautiful aspect of Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart for me was all the honest and decent thoughts and feelings it wanted the player to have and learn. The game talks about how to love yourself, the importance of friendship, and forgiveness. In an era where mental health issues are one of the major problems we have, it is amazing to see the writing team put these important matters in a game whose major audience is adolescents.
While the game does give some amazing tips on those matters, it does not forget that at its core it is still a video game and should entertain the players, and it does in the most fun and explosive way possible. The gameplay of Ratchet and Clank reminded me of the old days when we got much more fun adventure games like Ratchet and Clank.
The gameplay of Rift Apart can be divided into two parts. The majority of it is fighting with all the different enemies each has its unique pattern of attack and arsenal at their disposal. The same thing will apply to you as well. You have tons of weapons in the game that you can upgrade every single one of them as well. And let me praise the team for balancing the weapons in the game because it is absolutely amazing. The game is designed in a way to make you change weapons and not stick to a powerful weapon like Rocket Launcher and use it all the time by carefully designing how much ammo you can find and carry with you. This way not only the gameplay is changing, but it is also a new challenge for the player to learn how to properly use each weapon.
The second part of the gameplay is all the mini-games like solving puzzles with Ratchet or Kit and cleaning computers with Glitch and exploring the area to find secrets and armor pieces. Not only each section is designed carefully, but they are balanced as well to make sure they don’t cast a shadow over the core and main gameplay of the game. Rift Apart had one of the best balances between different aspects of gameplay that I’ve seen in recent years. The other small point they did amazingly that has a major impact on gameplay is balancing the sense of progress and improvement as well maintaining the challenge of the game.
As you progress through the game, you will unlock powerful weapons that can be upgraded to become even more powerful. To prevent you from becoming overpowering, the enemies in the game also change. These changes can be on how many of them will face you, how they will attack you, and how they get slightly more powerful. This way when you are fighting the enemies at the end of the game, you can feel that you have become powerful and better, but that doesn’t mean you can’t be defeated. So you still have that sharp focus you had at the beginning all the time.
The only thing that is even better than the gameplay of Rift Apart is the visuals of the game. This game’s visuals are a feast of colors and beauty for the eyes. The colors, the design, and the lighting of this game are simply gorgeous. Even in the heat of battle, you can feel the beauty of the colors and design of Rift Apart’s world. And mixing that feast of visuals with subtle and thoughtful music is amazing.
In terms of design Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart is without a doubt an amazing game, in terms of performance not so much. Throughout my 12 hours of playing Ratchet and Clank frame drops were a constant issue for me, even reducing the resolution and using DLSS didn’t help that. For the majority of the time, especially when you are traveling between Rifts and fight arenas that have too many enemies, I had serious frame drops.
It is definitely not as worse as The Last of Us Part 1 port, but it isn’t as good and polished as Spider-Man Remastered as well. The problem causing those frame drops was two things for me. Firstly, the game didn’t or couldn’t utilize the full power of the CPU and GPU. Most of the time they were at 80% and the game would drop to 40FPS on some occasions. The other issue that was surprising for me was the speed of the SSD.
In the first traveling between rifts in the game, I had 2 seconds delay for the game to load the next world, and every other time in the game there would be a little stutter. That was surprising for me since I have an NVMe SSD, but it seems that it is not fast enough as the SSD on PS5. So basically Nixxes announced players should have SSD to play the game, but didn’t say how fast it should be. That means if you have a SATA SSD, you would still see more than 3 seconds of delay while traveling between rifts.
The issue is that game does not run well on the recommended system that Nixxes has announced. So they either didn’t polish the game enough to run well on the system recommendation they have announced, or they calculated the system requirement and recommendation of Ratchet and Clank poorly.
Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart is an amazing, beautiful, and fun game to experience. Everything in this game is perfectly balanced and its visual is one of the most colorful and eye-engaging you could see in a game. Unfortunately, the PC port of the game isn’t polished, and there are constant frame drops in different parts of the game.