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Ratchet & Clank: Size Matters is an installment in the Ratchet & Clank series developed by High Impact Games and published by Sony Computer Entertainment. It was initially released in February 2007 for the PlayStation Portable, and was later re-released for the PlayStation 2 in March 2008. It was later released for download to the PlayStation Portable through the PlayStation Store in April 2009. It was the first title in the series not developed by series creator Insomniac Games, the first of two titles developed by High Impact Games (with the second being Secret Agent Clank), and the second portable title in the series.

The game follows Ratchet and Clank, who are on vacation on planet Pokitaru following their recent adventures. All the while, they are interrupted by a schoolgirl named Luna, who asks them to fight some robots so she can take pictures for a school project on heroes. Along the way, a mysterious invasion force abducts her, leading Ratchet and Clank to investigate the mysterious race who, according to myths, created most of the galaxy's advanced technology, while Captain Qwark searches for his own family history.

Despite some questions as to its place in canon, due to being developed by an external developer, Insomniac Games have confirmed that the events of Size Matters are canon.[1][2]

Gameplay

Overview

Size Matters features much the same gameplay as seen in Up Your Arsenal and other previous home console entries in the series. It is a third person action adventure game with elements of shooting, platforming, and minigames, with both single player and multiplayer gameplay. It features the Shrink Ray, which allows Ratchet and Clank to shrink down to reach certain areas or hack into locks. A few elements are slightly more simplified, such as weapons leveling only up to V4 as opposed to the usual V5. Despite the control scheme being remapped for the PlayStation Portable, Ratchet is still capable of performing most of his normal moveset. The game features an entirely new armor system, allowing Ratchet to gain pieces of full armor sets, which can be combined to create different sets to achieve varying armor bonuses and OmniWrench 10K effects.

Ratchet and Clank travel through planets in the Solana Galaxy, and must complete a set of objectives, which typically require the player to either complete a linear section of a planet, defeating enemies and traversing obstacles along the way, or to participate in a challenge that may involve a minigame. In some, Clank transforms into Giant Clank to complete an on-rails space section, while others require Clank to make use of a robotic vehicle during Clank Challenges. Clank also commands Gadge-Bots, but primarily during a minigame rather than general gameplay. Ratchet can also participate in Skyboard races.

After completing the main storyline, the player can choose to warp back to before defeating the final boss to complete remaining side objectives, or to proceed to challenge mode. Challenge mode allows the player to keep their weapons with the option to purchase Titan versions of their weapons and wield them against much more powerful versions of enemies. As these weapons are much more expensive, challenge mode has a bolt multiplier for enemies that were destroyed before Ratchet takes a hit. Unique to the series is the addition of extra items, namely armor sets, to be found during gameplay in challenge mode, requiring players to play challenge mode twice to obtain the two new armor sets.

Equipment

Ratchet begins with five units of nanotech, representing his health, which can be increased by earning experience points from defeating enemies to 50. In challenge mode, it can be increased further to 75. Ratchet obtains pieces of armor hidden throughout the game. There are seven sets of four pieces of armor each, which can be combined to achieve various effects as full sets or as mixed and matched sets, for a total of thirteen sets.

Size Matters features 13 weapons in single player, of which three are returning. The Lacerator and the Acid Bomb Glove are obtained for free on Pokitaru, the first planet, while the rest are purchased from Gadgetron vendors. Every weapon can be upgraded to V4, which transforms the weapon, and in challenge mode, the V5 Titan version of each weapon can be purchased and upgraded to V8. Weapons mods can also be purchased for most weapons from Slim Cognito, at the cost of bolts. Nearly all mods were unique and varied for each weapon.

Size Matters also features six gadgets, of which two are original. The Heli-Pack, Hypershot, and Gravity Boots are automatically owned, while the Grind Boots and PDA can be obtained. The Sprout-O-Matic and Polarizer are new gadgets that are obtained in the story. While not an equippable gadget, the Shrink Ray appears throughout the gameplay and plot.

Minigames

Direct Clank gameplay is identical to that of previous games, with a a limited moveset while being able to command Gadge-Bots. Clank is playable in other minigames, namely Clank Challenges. These involve vehicle combat challenges against other robots, a ball toss sport, and a minigame about commanding command Gadge-Bots on a two dimensional plane. He also has two missions set in space in which he controls Giant Clank and fights in an on-rails space section, during which he can score points.

Ratchet can compete in Skyboard races on two occasions, which controls differently to the Hoverboard from Ratchet & Clank, as Ratchet has more freedom of movement to fly up or down.

Multiplayer

A multiplayer mode is also included, with three gameplay modes; Capture the Flag, Deathmatch, and Iron Lombax. Iron Lombax has unique objectives, changing to suit each of the four available maps. Up to four players could play online on the PlayStation Portable, and up to two players offline on the PlayStation 2. The servers have been since been shut down.

Due to the PlayStation 2's player limit Deathmatch was not available, and Iron Lombax was always played against a timer (or in case of the Mega Cannons map, an AI). Maps are also much smaller compared to their PlayStation Portable version, featuring less objects and gameplay elements.

Synopsis

Setting

Size Matters takes place in the Solana Galaxy from previous titles, though the only recurring planet is Pokitaru. Aside from Pokitaru, Ratchet and Clank primarily travel to planets associated with the technomites, and as such, most of the locations visit to appear to be largely devoid of sapient life. On a few occasions, they must use the Shrink Ray in order to shrink down to reach a technomite stronghold on the planet, on which they will discover the technomites have a fully fledged but completely hidden civilization due to their small size, such as on Challax.

Plot

Ratchet wanted to take a break and went on vacation to the tropical planet of Pokitaru. While he and Clank were relaxing, the duo met a young girl named Luna, who was writing a school report on heroes. Ratchet agreed to help her by showing off his moves, though Clank was skeptical about this. Shortly after they were finished, Luna was kidnapped by robots. After chasing and defeating the robots, they failed to rescue her, and she was carried off in a ship to Kalidon. However, one of the robots had dropped a mysterious artifact, believed by Clank to be from the technomites, which Ratchet believed to be a fairy tale. The duo then set out to save Luna, following the coordinates on the artifact to planet Ryllus.

Upon their arrival they found out that Captain Qwark came with them as a stowaway, wanting to find his lost family. He advised them to take the artifact to the biggest building in the area. Here, they came across a technomite map room, where they received coordinates for Kalidon. Meanwhile, Qwark had looked up his family tree on a suspicious website and decided to followed the leads he came across, and continued to search for his family. During this the local cameras observed Qwark, unbeknownst to him.

On Kalidon they were told by Qwark that he had received a message from a website called 'Faux-Family.com', containing his entire family tree, after which he left to find them. After, Ratchet met a Skyboarder, who gave him a Shrink Ray for beating him at a race. Ratchet and Clank entered a local factory on Kalidon and defeated a ferocious beast known as Mungo. The duo then caught up to Luna, but were promptly betrayed, as she revealed it was all an act. Ratchet was knocked out, and sent to Medical Outpost Omega for an operation and testing, while Clank was dumped on Metalis, where he woke up in the middle of Robot War III. He managed to escape and made his way to Ratchet, thanks to Skrunch who somehow acquired footage of Ratchet undergoing surgery.

At the medical space station, while Ratchet remained unconscious, he had a strange dream, in which he encountered odd hallucinations of characters and enemies he had encountered in the past. Once Clank found Ratchet, he was able to awake him from this dream. The duo then went on to destroy the space station, and soon found out that Luna was in league with the technomites and their leader, serving to lure Ratchet into a trap. Using found coordinates they traveled to Challax, where they discovered a Technomite City, and that Luna was actually a robot. She left before they could act however, leading them to follow her to Dayni Moon, where she revealed the technomites goal. She explained they took Ratchet's DNA to create an army of Ratchet clones, with which they would no longer be taken advantage of, as no one gave them credit for using their technology. After her defeat Clank, however, was also shut down when technomites infiltrated his body. Ratchet had to shrink himself to enter his body and repair him, after which they left to the Clone Factory on Quodrona.

On Quodrona Ratchet fought off the army of clones, and eventually managed to find the technomite emperor; Otto Destruct. Destruct explained that his true plan was to use a new machine he built to steal the brain power of every intelligent being in the solar system using his clone army, transfering it all to himself to become the most intelligent person in the universe. After his monologueing they engaged in a long battle, during which they were hindered by Qwark, who believed Otto to be his father. After Otto's defeat Skrunch arrived again, with proof of Qwark's real parents, and their death. Angered, Qwark attempted to use Destruct's device on himself, but failed when he was interrupted by Skrunch, and then shrunk by Destruct. Ratchet then activated the machine on accident, causing Otto's intelligence to be switched with Skrunch. Later, in Clank's apartment in Megapolis, Ratchet and Clank relaxed and watched a commercial about the Ratchet clones Otto created as a tiny Qwark tried to show off in front of miniature Ratchet clones.

Development

Promotional poster for Size Matters.

Size Matters was the first title developed by High Impact Games, made up of many former Insomniac Games employees, as many of the employees had been excited about the prospect of forming their own company. Sony were looking for a team to develop a Ratchet & Clank game for the PlayStation Portable, and offered the opportunity to High Impact Games, as they were the only team able to bring a complex PlayStation 2 game over to the console, due to their expertise with the series. The team aimed to unlock the full power of the PSP console to achieve console-quality performance, and during the Giant Clank sections, the game featured 20,000 particles on screen at once. They also aimed to capture the feel of the Ratchet & Clank series, and make it accessible for portable gamers.[3]

Reception

Aggregator Score
GameRankings PSP: 85.33% (58 reviews)[4]

PS2: 64.14% (36 reviews)[5]

Metacritic PSP: 85 (50 reviews)[6]

PS2: 62 (35 reviews)[7]

Publication Score
Eurogamer PSP: 8/10[8]

PS2: 5/10[9]

GamesRadar PSP: 4/5[10]

PS2: 3/5[11]

GameSpot PSP: 8.2/10[12]

PS2: 6/10 [13]

IGN PSP: 9.0/10[14]

PS2: 6.0/10[15]

Size Matters received generally positive reviews from critics for its initial PlayStation Portable, who particularly praised its gameplay and graphics.[8][10][12][14] However, the PlayStation 2 port was criticized, particularly for its camera controls and graphics scaling poorly to the console.[9][11][15][13]

The gameplay on PSP was praised by reviewers for both versions, with reviewers praising the game for bringing the series' usual gameplay to the portable experience. IGN praised the control scheme mapping for allowing the game to play and feel like previous titles on the PlayStation 2, describing moves standard such as changing between weapons as "easy as breathing".[14] GameSpot described the weapons as the "star of the show", and praised them for being fun to use, for the upgrade system, and for staying true to the series' formula.[12] Eurogamer gave similar praise to its weapons and control schemes, and also praised the variety offered by the minigames, though it described the multiplayer as a "bonus" as opposed to an exciting feature.[8]

Reviewers were more critical of the gameplay for the PlayStation 2 port, particularly criticizing the camera controls and also the minigames for being difficult to control. Eurogamer criticized the camera controls for runining the experience, describing it as too difficult and frustrating to control.[8] GameSpot similarly criticized the camera for "undermin[ing]" the core gameplay, which it described as otherwise "solid" albeit ending too quickly.[13] IGN cited the minigames as a frustration, but described the intrinsic gameplay the "strongest attribute" and "only saving grace", while also criticizing the camera controls.[15]

The game for PlayStation Portable received particular praise for its graphical and technical accomplishments. Eurogamer, GameSpot, and IGN compared the visuals to the previous PlayStation 2 titles and noted a smooth framerate and performance.[8][12][14] IGN and Eurogamer cited the game as one of the best showcases for the PlayStation Portable's capabilities.[8][12] However, when ported to the PlayStation 2, Size Matters was criticized for appearing bland in comparison to other PlayStation 2 titles.[15] Eurogamer also noted that the visuals did not upscale well, stating that what appeared "sharp and smooth" on PSP instead appeared "jagged and blocky" on PlayStation 2.[9]

Reviewers were divided on the story and writing of the game. In its PSP review, IGN praised the humor and voice acting of the game while calling the plot "predictable";[14] in its PlayStation 2 review, it called the story "extremely weak" as the narrative felt "loose and flippant" when compared to Tools of Destruction.[15] Eurogamer similarly praised the humor and voice acting, calling the storyline "grin-inducing".[8] GameSpot was uncritical, saying that the story is "good" and "drives the action along quite effectively".[12]

Gallery

References

  1. Twitter logo.png Tweet by @insomniacgames on Twitter.
  2. Stevenson, James. Interview with James Stevenson. Ratchet & Clank Wiki. Technobliterator. February 12, 2018.
  3. Interview: High Impact's Lesley Matheson On New Studios, Tech, And More. Gamasutra. Accessed August 18, 2018.
  4. Ratchet & Clank: Size Matters for PSP GameRankings. GameRankings. Accessed August 8, 2018.
  5. Ratchet & Clank: Size Matters for PS2 GameRankings. GameRankings. Accessed August 8, 2018.
  6. Ratchet & Clank: Size Matters for PSP Metacritic. Metacritic. Accessed August 8, 2018.
  7. Ratchet & Clank: Size Matters for PS2 Metacritic. Metacritic. Accessed August 8, 2018.
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 8.4 8.5 8.6 Ratchet & Clank: Size Matters PSP Review. Eurogamer. Accessed August 8, 2018.
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 Ratchet & Clank: Size Matters PS2 Review. Eurogamer. Accessed August 8, 2018.
  10. 10.0 10.1 Ratchet & Clank: Size Matters PSP review. GamesRadar. Accessed August 8, 2018.
  11. 11.0 11.1 Ratchet & Clank: Size Matters PS2 review. GamesRadar. Accessed August 8, 2018.
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 12.3 12.4 12.5 Ratchet & C lank: Size Matters for PSP Review. GameSpot. Accessed August 8, 2018.
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 Ratchet & Clank: Size Matters for PS2 Review. GameSpot. Accessed August 8, 2018.
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 14.3 14.4 Ratchet & Clank: Size Matters for PSP Review. IGN. Accessed August 8, 2018.
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 15.3 15.4 Ratchet & Clank: Size Matters for PS2 Review. IGN. Accessed August 8, 2018.
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