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Ratchet: Deadlocked (known as Ratchet: Gladiator in Europe) is the fourth installment in the Ratchet & Clank series developed by Insomniac Games and published by Sony Interactive Entertainment. It was initially released in October 2005 for the PlayStation 2, and was re-released for PlayStation 3 in May 2013 as a standalone separate from the Ratchet & Clank Collection (free to download for those who purchased Ratchet & Clank: Full Frontal Assault).

The story takes a notably darker tone than previous entries in the franchise. It follows Ratchet, a Lombax mechanic famous for having saved the Bogon Galaxy and the Solana Galaxy twice, who is kidnapped and forced to compete in the illegal gladiatorial combat sport DreadZone. He is joined by Clank and Al, along with newly introduced combat bots Merc and Green, as they compete not only for their survival, but also to take down Gleeman Vox and his vast media empire.

Deadlocked is a third person action adventure game with elements of shooting, role playing, driving, and some elements of platforming, as well as both a single player and an online mode. In contrast to previous games, Clank does not feature as Ratchet's backpack, making the fewer in number platforming segments more basic, and puzzles are almost absent. Ratchet also has a smaller arsenal of weapons, though each weapon features far more customization options in the form of alpha and omega mods. There is less emphasis placed on exploration, though far more vehicles feature than previous entries. The multiplayer battlefields and modes are heavily inspired by those that featured in the previous entry, Up Your Arsenal.

This game takes place in the year 5357.

Gameplay

Overview

Deadlocked is a third person shooter with elements of platforming, role playing, and driving, in which the player controls Ratchet, a lombax mechanic and intergalactic hero, with an arsenal of weapons including a melee OmniWrench and a basic moveset. Ratchet's weapons can level up to level 10, are highly customizable and can take a variety of collectible alpha mods to augment the weapon's abilities or unique omega mods to grant it entirely new functionality. Ratchet also has up to 999 nanotech for his health (able to upgrade his nanotech amount as he defeats enemies), is accompanied by two combat bots Merc and Green with their own arsenal of weapons to augment his, and can pilot a variety of vehicles.

Ratchet visits planets as they are unlocked, in which he must complete a series of short combat-based sequences to complete the planet and unlock the next. These challenges can be replayed for extra for bolts, skill points (which have requirements given to the player, rather than hidden as in previous games) and Dread Points if the player desires. Many challenges also take place in the DreadZone Station, which serves as the main hub in which Ratchet can purchase weapons, armor, as well as combat bot upgrades and customizations. New to Deadlocked is the ability to select a difficulty, in which they can set the difficulty to Couch Potato (easiest), Contestant (easy), Gladiator (medium), Hero (hard) or Exterminator (hardest, and only playable once the game is complete).

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 provides additional alpha and omega mods, allows weapons to be further upgraded to level 99, and more armor, weapon, wrench and bot upgrades to be purchased.

Ratchet cannot dive in water, unlike previous games, and any oceans he falls in will kill him.

Equipment

Ratchet begins with ten units of nanotech, representing his health. This is can be increased by earning experience points from defeating enemies, up to 999. Ratchet can also purchase armor from vendors which can reduce damage taken.

Deadlocked features ten weapons total, of which all weapons are original but based on weapons in previous entries. Each weapon provides distinct offensive or defensive utility, and can be purchased from vendors. The Dual Vipers are unlocked from the start. While the arsenal is much smaller than previous titles, each weapon can be upgraded to a much higher level, and the alpha and omega mods, which can be added and swapped out to the player's leisure, provide them with much more versatility and allow them to be unique. While alpha mods simply augment the powers of the weapon (such as increasing its ammo or damage, or increasing bolts earned through using the weapon), the omega mods can fundamentally change the effects of the weapon (such as the Napalm mod that spawns pools of lava damaging enemies in an area, the Mini-bomb mod causing explosive weapons to launch mini-bombs after impact that do additional damage, or the Brainwash mod causing enemies to attack one another instead of Ratchet).

Combat bots can also be customized and upgraded from Big Al's vendor. Up to five weapons are available for them to defeat enemies, and five gadgets also available that allow them to help Ratchet through various non-combat challenges. Upgrades that augment the bot's abilities can also be purchased, as well as various paint jobs and new heads to change their appearance.

Ratchet's gadgets are limited to the Swingshot, Charge Boots and Grind Boots. There are no puzzles in the game, unlike previous entries.

Vehicles

There are four different vehicles that Ratchet can pilot: the Hoverbike, the Landstalker, the Puma and the Hovership.

The Hoverbike is the fastest vehicle with a laser cannon on the front, which is fast and easy to manouvere but not heavily armoured. The Landstalker is a four-legged vehicle with two machine guns and large plasma mortars that lock onto enemies, making it a slow moving vehicle but powerful vehicle dealing heavy damage. The Puma is a fast battle car with two small machine guns for the driver and a heavy duty cannon a passenger can use. Finally, the Hovership is a flying vehicle with a single cannon and lock on missiles that that is useful to pilot in the air.

Multiplayer

It is possible to play the singleplayer campaign with another player through co-op mode, in which the second player replaces the two combat bots. The second player can use unique skins such as Alpha Clank or Jak.

Both online (up to eight players) and local offline (up to four players, limited to two in the HD port) multiplayer can also be played, which features five different modes playable in maps based on planets in the singleplayer mode. The modes featuring are Conquest (a revamped Siege from Up Your Arsenal) in which the team must capture nodes and kill enemies to score points, Capture the Flag, Deathmatch, King of the Hill and Juggernaut. Players can equip all weapons from the singleplayer mode and pilot all vehicles from it depending on their chosen map.

The Insomniac Games website featured a ranked online leaderboard for registered community members, until the servers were shut down on June 28, 2012. The new servers were back up for the PlayStation 3 HD remaster.

Synopsis

Setting

Deadlocked takes place in the lawless Shadow Sector of the Solana galaxy, a region of space in which the illegal DreadZone combat sport is filmed, during the year 5357. Planets visited in the Shadow Sector are much less likely to be populated than those across the rest of the galaxy, typically take on a much darker color palette, and the only planet returning from a previous game is Orxon from the original Ratchet & Clank. Events also often take place in the arena in DreadZone Station.

The Shadow Sector in which the illegal reality show DreadZone is filmed is largely disconnected from the rest of Solana politically, and is largely dominated by Gleeman Vox' vast media empire. All weapons and armor used by Ratchet are manufactured by DreadZone, rather than Gadgetron, as are most of the enemies he encounters. The DreadZone reality show is a completely underground and illegal sport that relies on kidnapping its contestants to make them fight to the death, but generates huge revenue and has acquired six trillion fans across four galaxies. The DreadZone tournaments are also often reported by Vox News' anchormen Dallas and Juanita, who tend to smear many of the contestants that are performing well while advocating for the Exterminators, a team largely endorsed by DreadZone that is responsible for murdering many of the contestants.

Plot

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 & Clank Badass

Ratchet and Clank as they appear in Deadlocked

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 harming 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.

Development

Ratchet nexus

Ratchet & Clank: NEXUS concept art, the original project idea before Deadlocked.

After completing Up Your Arsenal, Insomniac tried to deviate from their roots with a grimmer story.[1] At first, the team began work on a title known as Ratchet & Clank: NEXUS, which would take place on a single planet, with a global conflict between two alien races in which both Ratchet and Clank had differing ideas about the war, though the project heavily changed direction and became Deadlocked.[2]

Instead, the team began work around a new concept, the idea of Ratchet being kidnapped and forced to participate in a combat sport, and the team aimed for consistent and coherent design and worldbuilding around this idea.[3] In this idea, the battlefields from Up Your Arsenal became a large focus in Deadlocked, and much of the multiplayer from the previous title was expanded upon.[4]

There are changes seen in earlier footage compared to the final release, such as Merc and Green being shown to have legs (they also have legs on the Japanese cover).[3]

Soundtrack

TaunterMain article: Deadlocked soundtrack

The soundtrack was composed by David Bergeaud.

HD port

Deadlocked HD was developed by Idol Minds, and features the original game rescaled to 1080p, though there are no new textures or model refinements and graphics match the native texture resolution on PlayStation 2. Players have noted a few issues with the cinematics, with some full motion video cinematics being improperly rescaled, in-game cinematics sometimes suffering camera and graphical glitches, and inability to turn on subtitles. There are also some framerate and technical glitches reported in the gameplay. The port features PlayStation Network multiplayer functionality, though four player local play is no longer supported and limited to two player local play, and eight player multiplayer limited to six.

While the Ratchet & Clank Collection included skins previously exclusive to the Japanese version of Up Your Arsenal, the HD edition of Deadlocked does not do the same.

Reception

Aggregator Score
GameRankings 82.64% (based on 61 reviews)[5]
Metacritic 81 (based on 51 reviews)[6]
Publication Score
Eurogamer 7/10[7]
GamePro 4.5/5[8]
GameSpot 8.6/10[9]
GameSpy 4/5[10]
IGN 8.8/10[11]

Ratchet: Deadlocked received mostly positive reviews, though it was not as well received as the previous three titles and scored lower. The departure from platform gameplay was generally accepted as the action packed gunplay and vehicles as well as the expanded multiplayer were well received, although reviewers noted the game was short and the series formula with its gun gameplay was becoming repetitive due to so many releases in a short space of time.[7][12][9][11]

The gunplay and the weaponry, as well as the two combat bots, were broadly well received. IGN praised the fact that "mindless shooting isn't always the way to win" because "using the right combination of weapons against the right set of enemies in conjunction with the smart utilization of your two robot bodyguards makes a big difference", although they expressed disappointment at weapons from Up Your Arsenal such as the Rift Inducer not returning.[11] GameSpy claimed that the series "has always been about whacked-out and over-the-top gunplay, and Deadlocked is just the next logical step in its evolution".[12] GameSpot also praised how the alpha and omega mods make weapons "more effective and more stylish".[9]

The multiplayer was a particular area that received praise, with many reviewers noting that it made up for the title's shortcomings. GameSpot claimed the multiplayer "does a great job of fluidly combining typical shooter fare with the quirky Ratchet and Clank universe" despite not being "exactly innovative".[9] GameSpy felt the multiplayer was "far more important" in Deadlocked, while IGN called the expanded multiplayer capabilities the "real focus" and both praised the offline co-op as well as the expansion on Up Your Arsenal.[12][11]

Reviewers felt that Deadlocked fell short of previous titles as it had less variety. Eurogamer claimed that "stood next to the previous games in the series it's not quite as varied and interesting, and forcing the gameplay down the cul-de-sac of almost pure combat makes for a pretty repetitive experience that may feel like an unnecessary release in the eyes of the fan base".[7] GameSpot also claimed the game "is a little on the short side, and it's quite a bit like previous games (to the point of feeling all too familiar)".[9] IGN criticised the lack of open world exploration, and claimed that "this is a shooter and melee experience through and through, and almost every last hint of platforming has been left for dead along with Chairman Drek somewhere near the orbit of Veldin".[11]

Gallery

Trivia

References

  1. IGN Presents The History of Ratchet & Clank p3 IGN. Retrieved April 19, 2017.
  2. Ratchet & Clank: 10 Years of Concept Art Insomniac Games. Retrieved August 16, 2017.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Retro GAMESPOT - Ratchet: Deadlocked Developer Interview (2001) YouTube. Retrieved August 16, 2017.
  4. uselesspodcasts: Ratchet and Clank - Developer Commentary - Ep 12 YouTube. Retrieved July 18, 2017.
  5. Ratchet: Deadlocked GameRankings GameRankings. Retrieved August 16, 2017.
  6. Ratchet: Deadlocked Metacritic Metacritic. Retrieved August 16, 2017.
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 Ratchet: Gladiator Review Eurogamer. Retrieved August 16, 2017.
  8. Ratchet: Deadlocked Review GamePro (archive). Retrieved August 16, 2017.
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 9.4 Ratchet: Deadlocked Review GameSpot. Retrieved August 16, 2017.
  10. Ratchet: Deadlocked Review GameSpy. Retrieved August 16, 2017.
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 11.3 11.4 Ratchet: Deadlocked Review IGN. Retrieved August 16, 2017.
  12. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named GameSpy

External links

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