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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 Interactive 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 first portable title in the series.

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

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, role playing, puzzle solving, and racing, 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, though 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 will combine to create an OmniWrench damage, effect and combine pieces of different sets to achieve other hidden effects.

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 is a third person three dimensional action game with elements of platforming, shooting and role playing, in which the player controls Ratchet, a lombax mechanic, with a broad arsenal of weapons and gadgets, who carries his sidekick Clank as a backpack allowing him to make use of the Heli-Pack. Ratchet uses numerated nanotech for health, introduced in Up Your Arsenal, and can equip an entirely new armor system allowing him to mix and match armor pieces to unlock new OmniWrench abilities. A major feature of the game is the Shrink Ray, allowing the two to shrink down to size to reach some areas. As it was developed for the PlayStation Portable, it uses a remapped control scheme, Ratchet's arsenal can upgrade weapons up to three times rather than four, Ratchet has limited swimming, and Clank cannot use the Thruster Pack.

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 Robot War III side missions. Clank also commands Gadge-Bots, both in a minigame and his own sections. 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.

Equipment

Ratchet begins with ten 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 thirteen sets of four pieces of armor each, which can be combined to achieve various effects as full sets or as mixed and matched 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 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. Weapon mods can also be purchased for each weapon to amplify their effects.

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

Clank is controlled in his own sections similar to his sections in previous games, in which he can command Gadge-Bots, and has a limited moveset compared to previous games. Clank is playable in other minigames, such as Robot War III missions that allow him to control a vehicle to compete against other robots, a minigame allowing him to command Gadge-Bots on a two dimensional plane, and sections in which he controls Giant Clank and fights in an on-rails space section.

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 Capture the Flag, Deathmatch, and Iron Lombax modes. 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.

Synopsis

Setting

Size Matters takes place in the Solana Galaxy from previous titles, though the only planet returning from previous titles is Pokitaru. Aside from Pokitaru, Ratchet and Clank primarily travel to planets associated with the technomites, and as such, most of the planets Ratchet and Clank travel to appear to be largely void of life. On a few occasions, Ratchet and Clank 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.

The game takes place after Deadlocked.

Plot

Ratchet wanted to take a break and went on vacation to the tropical planet of Pokitaru. However, 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, but shortly after, Luna was kidnapped by robots. After chasing and defeating the robots, Clank then stumbled upon a mysterious Technomite Artifact from an ancient race of the same name. Ratchet denied that the artifact was made from Technomites. The duo then set out to save Luna. In the process, they discovered a forgotten race of smart, but diminutive, inventors known as the Technomites. They traced the artifact that Luna dropped when she was captured to Ryllus. After some advice from Captain Qwark (who had followed them to Ryllus, wanting to find his lost family), they fought their way through the enemies and reached a mysterious building. Here, they came across a Technomite map room and also found the coordinates to 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.

Ratchet on Metalis

Ratchet on Metalis in Size Matters

Ratchet met a Skyboarder on Kalidon, who gave him a Shrink Ray for beating him at a race. They entered the building on Kalidon and defeated Mungo. The duo caught up with Luna, but discovered that she had turned on them. Ratchet was knocked out by the robots, and sent to a space station for testing, while Clank was sent to fight against other robots alone, on the arid planet of Metalis. Clank managed to escape and made his way to find Ratchet.

On Medical Outpost Omega, Ratchet had a strange dream while unconscious. In the dream, he encountered odd hallucinations of characters and enemies he had encountered in the past, including Alonzo Drek. Once Clank finds Ratchet, he is able to awake him from this dream. The duo then went on to destroy the space station, and soon found out that Luna was simply a robot puppet the Technomites used to lure Ratchet into a trap. The duo arrived on Dayni Moon, and disabled Luna in a boss-fight. Clank however, was also disabled and Ratchet had to shrink himself to enter the small robot's body and fix him. Afterwards, they discovered Otto's goal, which was to create an army of Ratchet clones, through the DNA testing on the space station. Otto planned for this army to capture other intelligent beings, so that he could transfer their knowledge to him and become the smartest being in the known universe. On Quodrona, Ratchet fought off the army of clones, and thanks to a confused Qwark (who was set-up by Faux-Family.com into thinking Otto was his father), they neutralized Otto, and switched his intelligence with Skrunch, forcing the former to lose all intelligent thought, and the latter to become super-intelligent. Qwark also found out that his real family were, in fact, great superheroes in their time, but were killed in a freak accident. Later, in Clank's apartment in Megapolis, Ratchet and Clank relax and watch a commercial about the Ratchet clones Otto created as a tiny Qwark tries to show off in front of miniature Ratchet clones.

Development

SM Poster

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% (based on 58 reviews)[4]

PS2: 64.14% (based on 36 reviews)[5]

Metacritic PSP: 85 (based on 50 reviews)[6]

PS2: 62 (based on 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 [12]

IGN PSP: 9.0/10[13]

PS2: 6.0/10[14]

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

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".[13] 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.[15] 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.[14]

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][13] 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.[14] 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";[13] in its PlayStation 2 review, it called the story "extremely weak" as the narrative felt "loose and flippant" when compared to Tools of Destruction.[14] 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 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 12.6 Ratchet & Clank: Size Matters for PSP Review. GameSpot. Accessed August 8, 2018.
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 13.3 13.4 Ratchet & Clank: Size Matters for PSP Review. IGN. Accessed August 8, 2018.
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 14.3 14.4 Ratchet & Clank: Size Matters for PS2 Review. IGN. Accessed August 8, 2018.
  15. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named GameSpot_PS2