Secret Agent Clank Review

There’s no questioning that since its conception, Ratchet & Clank has been the best platformer around. The Lombax and his robotic pal have been in zany adventures all over the universe, and on several platforms. Secret Agent Clank marks the second time the series has appeared on the PSP, the first being Size Matters. Despite its lengthy and well-respected lineage, however, Secret Agent Clank is anything but a normal R&C game.

Fans of Ratchet & Clank are used to two things: clever writing and stories, and button-mashing, weapon-heavy combat. Secret Agent Clank features the former. As for the latter, it’s no secret to say that this game isn’t quite like the R&C you’ve grown fond of.

The biggest difference has to do with the focus on Clank. The game starts off with our tiny hero watching as his furry pal is busted for stealing the Eye of Infinity gem. Obviously he’s innocent, so it’s up to Clank to find out what’s going on. Unfortunately, Clank has never been the brawn of the group, so unlike past games you’ll have to rely more on his brain.

What this means is that rather than the platforming action you’re used to, the game focuses instead on stealth, rewarding you for and punishing you for not utilizing Clank’s stealth capabilities and moves. For a good portion of the game, you’ll have to progress with stealth tactics; it’s not until Clank’s gotten a good deal of weapon upgrades that he can handle the normal R&C tempo.

To break up the monotony, mixed in with Clank’s missions are intervals of playing as Ratchet, and–in a confusing move–Captain Qwark. Ratchet’s missions take place in jail, and are a far change from Clank’s stealth gameplay, instead focusing more on the traditional R&C aspects of button mashing and weapon shooting. While Qwark’s missions are fun and entertaining, I’m still not sure why they’re included as they serve no real purpose for the narrative, and really don’t connect at all to the rest of the game. It’s a nice change and was fun to play as the green-clad hero, but with the rest of the game it just didn’t make sense.

Now, even if Secret Agent Clank isn’t the same Ratchet & Clank you’re used to, you can still expect the zany writing and character dialog. Still, no amount of clever writing can help make sense of the vastly different gameplay elements. One minute you’ll be Solid Snaking it up as Clank, the next you’ll be holding off swarms of foes as Ratchet in a shower, and the next you’ll be playing some sort of musical minigame, all before you’re back to Clank and trying to pass guards by acting like a statue.

It’s nice to see a series make attempts at doing something new to stay fresh, but as the saying goes, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. With Size Matters there was little different from the Ratchet & Clank gameplay that we all have grown to love, and people enjoyed the game. With Secret Agent Clank, it’s almost like High Moon Studios decided they wanted to make a stealth-action game with wit, and rather than create a new IP, instead opted to use an existing one just to have building blocks to work with. Unfortunately, the end result never quite comes together as one cohesive product. It’s a solid handheld title, but as part of the Ratchet & Clank series, it just doesn’t compare.


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Author: Brendon Lindsey View all posts by

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