Ratchet: Deadlocked, titled as Ratchet: Gladiator in PAL regions, is an action/shooter game, and was the fourth game in the Ratchet & Clank series. This game features many upgrades from its predecessor, Ratchet & Clank: Up Your Arsenal. It was released on October 25, 2005 in North America. It has been called both darker and more intense than the previous three games, and was both criticized and praised for its heavier emphasis on combat. A high-definition re-release of the game, including multiplayer was delayed from its original release date of February 2013 and was released in North America on 21 May 2013, on the same day as the PlayStation Vita version of Ratchet & Clank: Full Frontal Assault. The game was available as a free download for owners of the PlayStation 3 version of Ratchet & Clank: Full Frontal Assault in North America and also in PAL regions including Europe and Australia.
This game takes place in the year 5357.
Heroes from all over the galaxy have been kidnapped and forced to compete on the leading Holo-Vision program in the criminal Shadow Sector of the Solana galaxy: DreadZone. It was the brainchild of the insane media magnate Gleeman Vox, and was watched by trillions of sentient beings throughout the galaxy. It featured illegal, uncensored, gladiatorial combat to the death, with the former hero Ace Hardlight as its uncontested and undefeated champion. After the Starship Phoenix was invaded, Ratchet was forced into becoming the newest contestant on DreadZone, with Al and Clank forced to join him. Ratchet was soon introduced to two combat bots that would accompany him throughout the game, known as Merc and Green.
Ratchet is forced to compete in five increasingly difficult Tournaments to advance in the DreadZone Tournament Rankings. After the first tournament, the Marauder Tournament (which was completed in the game's tutorial level), each tournament required Ratchet to defeat one of the Exterminators before he moved on.
As Ratchet moved through the tournaments, his rapidly growing popularity caused concern for both Vox and Ace Hardlight, who were worried that Ratchet would overtake Hardlight in popularity. Throughout the latter portion of the game, the Vox network attempts to ruin the rapidly-rising love of Ratchet and his bots. Hardlight even went as far as shooting Al to anger Ratchet.
While Ratchet was fighting in the DreadZone challenges, Clank tried to find to disable the collars and escape. While attempting to find flaws with the DreadZone Station, he met other heroes, such as Venus, who gave him information to help them escape.
After defeating Ace Hardlight, the last of the Exterminators, Vox offered for Ratchet to become one of the new Exterminators, with promises of wild amounts of money and sponsorships. Ratchet declined angrily, enraging Vox. Vox then sent Ratchet onto a final, nearly impossible DreadZone course known as the Ghost Station. Ratchet had to fight his way off the station, defeating the ghosts of enemies he had previously killed. After navigating a Hovership and destroying the Ghost Station, Ratchet returned to the DreadZone station. To his surprise, Clank had found a way to escape, but first Ratchet had to deal with Vox, who was planning to detonate the entire Station. After fighting his way to the Arena, he defeated Vox, and was able to save the other contestants and viewers from the explosion.
Alterations from previous games
Ratchet: Deadlocked is quite different from the other games. The large levels and platforming sequences were replaced by shorter, combat-based action sequences that the players may repeat any number of times for extra bolts and Dread Points, skill points, or just for fun.
The skill point system was also altered. Instead of having a single list of skill points, there was a list for each level you visited. This resulted in a much greater amount of skill points than in any early games of the series. Also, for the first time in the series, the skill point requirements were given to the player, rather than hidden.
The weapon customization was also elevated. Although there were only ten weapons in the game, the lowest in the main series, every weapon could be raised up to level 99, and have any combination of alpha mods as well as an omega mod. These mods could be swapped around, removed, and added at one's leisure.
One of the most noticeable changes was the inclusion of Difficulty settings. The game had five different difficulties, with the most difficult only being unlocked after first completing the game. The difficulties were, from easiest to hardest: Couch Potato, Contestant, Gladiator, Hero, and Exterminator.
The online mode features five modes: A completely revamped version of Siege mode from Ratchet & Clank: Up Your Arsenal, now known as Conquest. This game type features nodes which players must capture to sustain the lead. Points are awarded for taking and defending nodes as well as several different kill rewards. Other modes are common multiplayer game types such as Capture the Flag, Deathmatch, King of the Hill, and Juggernaut. Each mode is modified to fit with the Ratchet & Clank universe, but still retain its main objectives and play styles. The online multiplayer's servers have shut down as of 28 June 2012 on PlayStation 2. The game also supports a local multiplayer mode with up to four players on one screen.
The soundtrack was composed by David Bergeaud.
Deadlocked initially received mixed reviews from both fans and critics.
IGN Reviewer Jeremy Dunham wrote: "Although diehard Ratchet and Clank fans will probably miss the puzzle and platform elements that made the earlier games a more complete experience (this one included), the shooting mayhem of Ratchet: Deadlocked is still a whole hell of a lot of fun. Insomniac's hilarious storytelling doesn't miss a beat even when presented in this year's more limited form either, and the awesome combat sequences are marred only by occasional (but very noticeable) battle slowdown and infrequent camera issues experienced during rail grinding.
Ratchet's problems are easy to live with; however, when you realize just how much the multiplayer option has to offer. Five different game types, almost a dozen varying planets, plenty of customizable options, several cool power-ups, and an excellent stat tracking system are just a few of the reasons that you and nine other friends can should enjoy your next few months via Network Adaptor. Throw in a cool co-op mode and plenty of unlockable goodies, and you do not need any other reasons to pick this one up."
It is believed to be the most morally ambiguous and darkest of the Ratchet & Clank series, taking a more darker tone than its predecessors and the Future series, such as realistic weapons, more characters dying, mild swearing (though it is censored), darker soundtrack and much less humor. The weapons appear to be built in a more destructive sense. The co-op functionality also helped make Deadlocked a standout game for PlayStation 2.
Ratchet: Deadlocked HD was released on PlayStation Network on May 21, 2013, as a free download for users who owned Ratchet & Clank: Full Frontal Assault as consolation for the long wait for the PlayStation Vita version of the game, which was released alongside Deadlocked HD, while also being made available for $14.99 to anyone who didn't own Full Frontal Assault. It's porting was left in the hands of developers, Idol Minds.
Deadlocked HD features the original game rescaled to 1080p, with PSN functionality to replace the previous version's NetPlay support. Aside from the minor boost in resolution, the game's appearance is mostly the same.
The port suffers from a severe lack of polish, from ailments that weren't present in the original game, to failure to fix problems that plagued the original game. Framerates remain inconsistent. Occasionally running at a smooth 60 fps, while suffering slowdown when too many things clutter the screen at once. FMVs were improperly rescaled and appear blurry as a result. In-game cinematics suffer camera and graphical glitching, including but not limited to:
- Jagged setpiece movement.
- Improper camera zoom, at one point clipping into Ratchet's face.
- Gleeman's teeth appearing through his upper lip.
The single-player campaign is unchanged, but suffers from random lock-ups that can interrupt gameplay and require a full system restart, as well as a large assortment of other problems ranging from the Warbots not following orders, to vehicles not working.
One of the remaster's largest flaws lies with its multiplayer system. It no longer supports 4-player local play, instead only allowing two players, while strangely keeping slots for third and fourth players despite them being unusable. Online matches were also cut from eight players to six. The multiplayer modes suffer instability issues, with glitches being more prevalent, and online matches struggling with connection issues that force players to quit.
As mentioned before, the game contains no new textures or model refinements, with everything matching the PS2's native texture resolution. This causes several textures to look blurry on larger screens. Alongside this, some textures also tend to suffer from filtering errors which render them pixelated.
Despite these abundant flaws, the single player campaign is still completely servicable.
- An advertisement was found at the back of Jak X: Combat Racing manual and the Greatest Hits version of Ratchet & Clank: Up Your Arsenal.
- On the Japanese cover, and on preview versions of the game, Merc and Green had legs.
- Oddly on the Japanese cover, Reactor appears on it twice, and in the same spot.
- Agent Zero's (from Spyro 2: Ripto's Rage) name appeared on the scoreboard of heroes competing in DreadZone.
- Ratchet is a playable character in Jak X: Combat Racing, if the player had a saved file from this game on their memory card. In this game he wears his Marauder armor.
- Ratchet's design in Ratchet: Deadlocked is slightly taller than the previous games.
- The Marauder Armor was worn by Ratchet in the cancelled game in the series, Ratchet & Clank: Clone Home.
- Despite Ratchet & Clank Collection including the skins previously exclusive to the Japanese version of Up Your Arsenal, the HD edition of Deadlocked does not do the same.
- The HD version of the game has a completely different font and style, being shadowed (which also includes the interface, itself). Many sounds have changed, too. The game has some bugs (such as Vox's upper jaw being outside his mouth, after Ratchet reaching the second stage of the qualification course, and the camera zooming in too close on Ratchet's face before his first challenge begins, letting you see through it), only graphical.
- Although the original PS2 version had the opition to turn on subtitles durings cutscenes, it was removed in the HD version for unknown reasons.
- If you make Ratchet move very slowly, he will suddenly turn on a pouty face.
- This was the first game in the series where Ratchet did not dive in water. All oceans in the levels would kill him.
- This was the first game which did not feature extra puzzles, such as the Electrolyzer or the Hacker. As already mentioned, this fact played a role in the critical reception of it.
- This was the last game in the series to receive a T rating. Every game onwards (including the HD re-releases of this game and it's predecessors) would receive an E10+ rating.
- Deadlocked was the only game in the series where "& Clank" was dropped from the title. This was due to the fact that Clank never appeared during gameplay and that the game focused on Ratchet rather than the whole duo. However, there was a 'muscular' version of him, called Alpha Clank, who acted as Ratchet's replacement in Co-op mode.
- "Than" and "then" was confused in one of the game's skill point descriptions.
- "It's" and "its" was confused in one of the combat bots' weapon descriptions.
Notes and references
- ↑ http://ps2.ign.com/objects/737/737570.html
- ↑ Cite error: Invalid
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- ↑ 4.0 4.1 "Ratchet & Clank Update: Full Frontal Assault and Deadlocked" - Greg Phillips PlayStation Blog.
- ↑ "Ratchet & Clank: QForce PS Vita update" - Ross Alexander, PlayStation Blog.
- ↑ http://www.metacritic.com/game/playstation-2/ratchet-deadlocked
- ↑ http://www.1up.com/reviews/ratchet-deadlocked
- ↑ http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/r_ratchetgladiator_ps2
- ↑ http://www.ign.com/games/ratchet-deadlocked/ps2-737570