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Ratchet & Clank: Into the Nexus is an entry in the Ratchet & Clank series serving as an epilogue to the Future saga,[1] developed by Insomniac Games and published by Sony Interactive Entertainment. It is a shorter title than A Crack in Time, but longer than Quest for Booty or Full Frontal Assault.[2] It was released in November 2013 for the PlayStation 3. It was also added to the PlayStation Now streaming service library of games. A related mobile spinoff, Before the Nexus, was also released that could transfer Raritanium to an Into the Nexus save.

The game takes place in four worlds in the Polaris Galaxy (including three in the abandoned Zarkov Sector, said to be "haunted"), in which Ratchet and Clank have been assigned to escort dangerous criminal Vendra Prog, the last of a race known as the nethers, to the Vartax Detention Center on the Nebulox Seven Prison Ship. When her brother Neftin Prog hires the mercenary group Thugs 4 Less to free her, she seeks to bring the nethers from the Netherverse to attack this dimension. Ratchet and Clank aim to stop her from doing that, but Prog's search to find her own race may give Ratchet the opportunity to search for his own. The plot centers around Ratchet coming to terms with the decisions he made in A Crack in Time.

Into the Nexus is a third person action adventure game in the vein of core Ratchet & Clank gameplay, with elements of platforming, shooting, role playing and side scrolling. It features many new weapons and gadgets based on manipulating gravity and interacting with the Netherverse, along with many weapons and gadgets returning from past titles. It also features entirely new Clank gameplay, in which Clank completes side-scrolling sections within the Netherverse wherein he can manipulate gravity to reach objectives.

At launch, each physical copy of the game included a download voucher for Quest for Booty (which have since expired).

Gameplay

Overview

Ratchet using Heli-Pack

Ratchet using Clank's Heli-Pack to glide

Into the Nexus is a third person three dimensional action game with elements of platforming, shooting and role playing, in which the player controls the lombax Ratchet, who carries a broad arsenal of weapons and gadgets, as well as his sidekick Clank, who Ratchet carries as a backpack to make use of the Heli-Pack, in addition to having his own sections. Ratchet has a similar core moveset to previous entries with an updated control scheme, has many returning weapons and gadgets, as well as several new ones with a focus on gravity manipulation and interaction with the Netherverse. Clank has entirely new gameplay sections, which are two dimensional sidescrolling sections in which he is sent to the Netherverse, and crosses this environment by manipulating its gravity.

Ratchet and Clank travel between four planets in the Polaris Galaxy on the Aphelion, where they must complete a set of objectives before moving on to the next one. These objectives involve crossing a linear platforming section on a planet defeating enemies along the way, completing a sidescrolling mission in the Netherverse as Clank, competing in the Destructapalooza arena for prizes, or hunting gargathons to collect and sell their horns to the Smuggler.

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 Omega versions of their weapons, which are then upgradeable three more times to VX. As these weapons are much more expensive, challenge mode has a bolt multiplier for enemies that were destroyed before Ratchet takes a hit.

Ratchet equipment

Ratchet begins with ten units of nanotech, upgraded by defeating enemies in increments of ten to 200. He can also purchase armor from an armor vendor to reduce the amount of damage taken.

Into the Nexus features twelve weapons, of which four are returning and the remaining weapons are new. Ratchet obtains the Omniblaster and the Fusion Grenade early, while the remaining weapons are earned either through vendors or other means. While Mr. Zurkon returns from previous games, the Groovitron does not (with the Nightmare Box fulfilling a similar function). Many weapons focus on interaction with the Netherverse, such as the Netherbeast and the Netherblades. Each weapon can be upgraded twice to V3, at which point its name and functionality will change, and upgraded more up to V6 if the Omega version is purchased in challenge mode. Returning from Tools of Destruction, weapons can be upgraded using Raritanium, earned both in-game and transferred from Before the Nexus, that is used to upgrade each weapons' abilities as well as coming with additional special upgrades. GrummelNet weapon vendors also feature a firing range allowing Ratchet to try out each weapon before buying.

Into the Nexus features five gadgets, of which two are new: the Grav-Tether and the GrummelNet Jetpack. The Grav-Tether allows Ratchet to move through the environment by manipulating gravity across tethers, while the GrummelNet Jetpack is an upgrade for Clank allows the duo to fly throughout areas when Clank has enough fuel. The Hoverboots, Heli-Pack and Swingshot all return from previous games.

Clank gameplay

Using the Rift Cracker, Clank is able to be transported to the Netherverse to retrieve items. Clank can move through the Netherverse in a side-scrolling environment, and can manipulate gravity to rotate the environment allowing him to move around to where he needs to be to cross. Clank also needs to move as quickly as possible before being killed by a Nether.

Synopsis

Setting

Into the Nexus is set after the events of Full Frontal Assault, in which Ratchet and Clank now work alongside Cronk and Zephyr for the Polaris Defense Force. It takes place in four planets in the Polaris Galaxy, including three in the haunted Zarkov Sector: the temperate planet Yerek, the oceanic planet Silox and the swamp planet of Thram. This sector was closed off by the Galactic President of Polaris after issuing code Alpha-9, declaring it to be haunted and ordering citizens to flee. Ratchet is initially skeptical that the sector is haunted by ghosts, until he learns these "ghosts" are in fact an ethereal race known as the nethers. Dangerous criminal Vendra Prog is a nether herself, and is attempting to bring her race back to the universe. Ratchet and Clank also return to the huge city on planet of Igliak, which serves as the capital of Polaris.

Plot

Vendra Prog in containment orb

Ratchet and Clank look towards a restrained Vendra Prog

The game begins with Ratchet and Clank escorting the dangerous criminal, Vendra Prog, on the Nebulox Seven Prison Ship to the Vartax Detention Center, where she was set to serve a quintuple life sentence for a violent assault on Pollyx Industries and the kidnapping of CEO Pollyx.

As they approached the Vartax Detention Center, Ratchet and Clank had to re-couple the ion converter after damage to the ship from Teratropes. As they completed this task, they received a transmission from Polaris Defense Force captain, Talwyn Apogee. She made Ratchet promise to wake Cronk and Zephyr, who were asleep on the ship, before bringing Vendra Prog out of cryosleep.

On route to waking up Cronk and Zephyr, they met The Plumber, who was picking up contract work between fixing toilets. After being woken up, Cronk and Zephyr accompanied Ratchet and Clank to take Vendra Prog out of cryosleep. As she was removed from cryosleep, the power core was disrupted because of a power fluctuation which disabled gravity on the ship.

While Ratchet and Clank went to secure Vendra, Cronk and Zephyr attempted to restore gravity to the ship. After avoiding several attempts on his life from Vendra manipulating hazards on the ship, Ratchet repaired the containment cell, restoring the[proton field and restraining her. By this point, Cronk and Zephyr had managed to reroute power to the external generator and had Ratchet reactivate it from outside the ship.

After restoring gravity, Vendra's twin brother, Neftin Prog, who was also a wanted criminal for taking part in the assault and kidnapping at Pollyx Industries, attacked the ship with hired Thugs from the company Thugs-4-Less. Thugs-4-Less invaded the ship to free Vendra. Ratchet and Clank fought their way to the Nebulox Bridge to find Cronk and Zephyr restrained and the ship loaded with Pyrocidic bombs. Vendra and Neftin escaped and the explosives were detonated. Ratchet and Clank were blown out of the bridge into space, but Cronk and Zephyr were consumed in the explosion.

Vendra realized that Ratchet and Clank had survived the explosion and she commanded the Thugs to attack them in the debris of the ship. They defeated several Thugs hunting them and avoided several attempts to be rammed by a ship piloted by the Thug Satch. By Grav-Leaping to parts of the destroyed Nebulox, Ratchet managed to avoid Satch's ship and jump onto it, where they would then head to the planet Yerek in the Zarkov Sector.

Once on Yerek, after mourning the loss of Cronk and Zephyr, they contact Talwyn and explain the bad news. Despite her pleas for Ratchet and Clank to return to Meridian City to avoid losing them as well, they vowed to make things right by recapturing the twins. While tracking down the twins on Yerek, they found several abandoned cities that were seemingly haunted and soon learned that Yerek and the rest of the Zarkov Sector was abandoned 20 years ago due to becoming haunted by ghosts and that Vendra and Neftin originated from Yerek. After receiving a Grav-Tether from Pollyx's assistant, they tracked down Pollyx in Azeril Caverns where he gave Clank an upgrade to travel into the Netherverse. Eventually they found that it was the Nethers escaping into their dimension through Nether Rifts. Ratchet and Clank realized that the "ghosts" were actually Nethers and upon finding Vendra's holo-diaries in the nearby orphanage, learned that Vendra and Neftin were responsible for the evacuation of the sector. They quickly discovered Thugs-4-Less were protecting Neftin and Vendra Prog, and Ratchet and Clank infiltrated the Thugs-4-Less outpost with assistance from Talwyn. After tracking the twins to a cave underneath the orphanage, they learned that Vendra and Neftin built a home-made Dimensionator in order to bring Nethers into Ratchet's dimension. They also saw the leader of the Nethers, who went by the name of Mr. Eye. Mr. Eye noticed Ratchet and Clank and commanded the Nethers to attack them. Captain Qwark arrived in the nick of time with Aphelion and saved them from the monsters. Realizing that the twins were headed to Silox, they traveled there to stop them from unleashing Mr. Eye on the galaxy.

Upon arriving, although he still wanted the twins to pay for Cronk and Zephyr's death, Ratchet became more sympathetic towards them as he understood that they wanted to be reunited with their race, but that their plans were a great danger to everyone else. He and Vendra began communicating and Ratchet tried to reason with Vendra not to unleash Mr. Eye but to no avail. After reaching the Sky Train Station, Neftin tried to stop Ratchet, but Ratchet managed to defeat Neftin. In the end; however, he was unable to prevent Vendra from bringing over the Nethers and Mr. Eye. As Ratchet predicted, Mr. Eye betrayed Vendra and imprisoned her in the Netherverse.

After barely escaping the Nether leader, Ratchet and Clank agreed to meet Neftin on planet Thram, so that they could make a deal. In exchange for helping Neftin steal the Dimensionator to free Vendra, Neftin and Vendra must turn themselves in. After Neftin agreed to the deal, Ratchet and Clank headed to the Intergalactic Museum of History in Meridian City. After trekking through the museum and finding the Dimensionator, they gave the device to Neftin. Shortly after, Mr. Eye attacked the city in order to destroy the Dimensionator. They fought Mr. Eye and initiated a two-fold plan with Ratchet fighting Mr. Eye while Clank searched for Vendra. After a lengthy battle, Ratchet stunned Mr. Eye long enough for Vendra to return and helped seal Mr. Eye and the Nether army back into the Netherverse. Keeping true to his promise, Neftin, as well as a disgruntled Vendra, turned themselves in.

Later, Ratchet and Clank sat in the museum and observed the Dimensionator, watching it fall apart and falling into a short laughing fit. Clank asked Ratchet what would have happened if the device was functional when it was used. Ratchet decided that despite wanting to find his race, he settled on staying there with Talwyn. Ratchet then left to meet Talwyn, not knowing Clank swiped the Dimensionator.

Development

Background

Brian Allgeier's team, after A Crack in Time, worked on a family Ratchet & Clank game with All 4 One and a competitive game for Full Frontal Assault, which allowed the development team to do something different. However, Into the Nexus was developed to allow the team to again return to the series' traditional gameplay, with Allgeier wanting to "make Ratchet feel like Ratchet again". The team began making a prototype level that they described as a "jungle gym" to perfect the quintessential feel of controlling Ratchet, and then worked in a project designed to explore the darkness of space. Allgeier thought it would be "fun to take [the series] in a spookier direction".[1]

The title shares some similarities with a cancelled project from 2006 titled Ratchet & Clank: NEXUS, but is otherwise unrelated.[3] A working title for Ratchet & Clank: Into the Nexus was Ratchet & Clank: Into the Nether Regions referencing both the exploration of the darkness of space and acting as an innuendo common to the Ratchet & Clank series titles.[1]

The game featured a rich purple and green color palette throughout, to provide it a horror-themed color scheme.[4]

Gameplay

This whole world is somewhat alive.
 
Brian Allgeier, creative director, {{{3}}}
Into the Nexus Concept Art

Into the Nexus concept art

During early development, a prototype level was created to ensure the game felt as it should for a traditional Ratchet & Clank game. One of the game's key themes when developing was manipulating gravity in various puzzles and gadgets.[1] Inspiration for many gameplay features was taken from previous games in the series, as the developers played through previous games and took inspiration for favorite features to bring back, while tweaking the game engine.[5]

The 2D sections using Clank were inspired by a concept of turning Clank into a shadow. Insomniac Games's creative director, Brian Allgeier, used a projector to demonstrate Clank changing gravity. This eventually developed into the sidescrolling Netherverse sections with gravity changing mechanics.[6]

The game uses Insomniac Games's newest PlayStation 3 engine.[6]

Storytelling

The plot was written by TJ Fixman‏‎,[7] who intended to give the series a scarier direction when exploring the darkness of space, while maintaining the Ratchet & Clank series' expected humor.[1] It continues Ratchet's personal story-arc and acts as an epilogue to the Ratchet & Clank Future saga.[3]

Originally, the story was going to center around the idea of the return of both the lombaxes and the cragmites from the Great War, and many concepts were drawn up about what lombax society would look like.[8]

Soundtrack

The composer for Into the Nexus is Michael Bross, who also composed the music used in the announcement trailer.[9] The soundtrack is orchestral with spooky elements to go with the theme of some haunted areas.[6] The music for the final boss is divided into three pieces and some themes from previous games are referenced in the soundtrack.[10] Certain pieces of the soundtrack were recorded from a live orchestrated performance by Nashville Music Scoring at the Ocean Way Nashville Recording Studio.[11]

Announcement

When Worlds Collide Heroes Return

When Worlds Collide Heroes Return

On July 9, 2013, Insomniac Games tweeted references to Thugs-4-Less from Going Commando, including a link to the Ratchet & Clank Wiki's's Thugs-4-Less Henchman article,[12] followed by a link to a Thugs-4-Less Prison clip from Ratchet & Clank: Going Commando,[13] a clip asking who Thugs-4-Less' next employer would be (with another link to a YouTube clip from Going Commando)[14] and a tweet using the hashtag "#THUGLIFE" and an image of a Thugs-4-Less Henchman.[15] The PlayStation official Twitter page Tweeted an image to Insomniac Games on July 10, 2013 with the text "When Worlds Collide Heroes Return."[16] Insomniac Games then posted the image stating there would be big news on July 11, 2013.[17]

Ratchet and Clank Into the Nexus Announce Trailer

Ratchet and Clank Into the Nexus Announce Trailer

Announcement trailer

On July 11, 2013 Ratchet & Clank: Into the Nexus was announced and a trailer was released.[3]

Other versions

A PlayStation Vita version was considered, but Insomniac Games were cautious after previous issues when developing the Vita version of Full Frontal Assault.[1] On July 19, 2013, Amazon France listed Ratchet & Clank: Nexus on PlayStation Vita for release November 4, 2013, but this was removed shortly after.[18]

Insomniac also wished to port the game to PlayStation 4 even prior to its release, but failed to do so due to the huge differences between the Ratchet & Clank engine for the PlayStation 4 compared to the PlayStation 3.[19]

Reception

Aggregator Score
GameRankings 77.06% (based on 34 reviews)[20]
Metacritic 76 (based on 60 reviews)[21]
Publication Score
Game Informer 8/10[22]
GameSpot 8/10[23]
GamesRadar 3.5/5[24]
IGN 8.2/10[25]
Polygon 8.5/10[26]

Into the Nexus received generally positive reviews from critics. Reviewers praised the gameplay, with focus on the weaponry and jetpack sections, soundtrack, the sense of humor, though they were divided on its length.[22][23][25][26]

Reviewers generally praised the gameplay, but had a few criticisms. Polygon was very positive, calling it an "excellent distillation of everything good about Ratchet & Clank for its final PlayStation 3 outing", referring to the variety of "off-the-wall weapons" as the "core strength" with new weapons such as the Winterizer being "playful and surprising" additions, and also praising the jetpack addition and the Clank gameplay.[26] IGN particularly praised the gameplay on planet Thram involving the jetpack, calling it an example of how "escalating firepower and evolving gameplay can reinvent a player's relationship with a game world", though had minor criticisms of the "weak" final level, calling it "a little too sterile and lifeless".[25] Game Informer called the replayability, controls, weapons and gadgets "excellent", while also praising the Clank gameplay as a "welcome challenge" and for changing the action "at the right times", and said that most worlds were "straightforward" but saying that completionists would enjoy planet Thram.[22] GameSpot called the weaponry overall "fantastic", but claimed some weapons were "uninspired".[23]

Critics largely praised the story, particularly for its humor. GameSpot claimed the series' sense of humor was "intact and always hilarious", as it was"sprinkled throughout a smart script narrated by a fantastic vocal cast".[23] Game Informer called it "predictable", but filled with "smirk-worthy jokes" and praised the ending as a "nice tease" for fans.[22] IGN also praised the "homicidal sense of humor" from Mr. Zurkon.[25]

Reviewers were divided on the short length of the game, with some saying that it should have lasted longer, though most considered the price good value. Polygon called it the "sole price for polished variety" of gameplay.[26] Game Informer said that the game left the reviewer "hungry for more", and opined that "maybe" we should demand "bigger and better things".[22] IGN commented that it was short by design, but said that this allowed it to be "taut, and always moving forward".[25]

Production credits

Staff

Director Brian Allgeier
Writers T.J. Fixman
Composer Boris Salchow

Voice cast

Ratchet James Arnold Taylor
Clank David Kaye
Qwark Jim Ward
Talywn Apogee Ali Hillis
Vendra Prog Nika Futterman
Neftin Prog Fred Tatasciore
Thug 1 Dave B. Mitchell
Thug 2 Dave Wittenberg
Thug 3 Alastair Duncan
Computer Ali Hillis
Weapons Grummel Travis Willingham
Armor Grummel Nick Jameson
Cronk Dan Hagen
Zephyr Paul Eiding
Terachnoid 1 Jason Palmer
Pollyx Richard Horvitz
Mr. Eye Fred Tatasciore
Announcer Dave B. Mitchell
The Plumber Jess Harnell
Smuggler Jess Harnell
Parrot Jess Harnell
Mr. Zurkon Marc Graue
Mrs. Zurkon Ali Hillis
Zurkon Jr. Nika Futterman
Stone Stonefield David Kaye

Gallery

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 Traditional Ratchet and Clank Is Back With Into the Nexus. IGN. Accessed January 16, 2018.
  2. Twitter logo @InsomniacGames on Twitter.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Ratchet & Clank: Into the Nexus Coming to PS3 This Holiday. PlayStation.Blog. Accessed January 16, 2018.
  4. Sony Computer Entertainment (2018). The Art of Ratchet & Clank. Dark Horse Comics. p. 223.
  5. Ratchet & Clank: Into the Nexus Preview playthrough with Dev Q&A on Twitch.tv
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 Ratchet & Clank Into the Nexus Demo Live Stream with Q&A from Brian Allgeier on Twitch.tv
  7. Twitter logo @TJ_Fixman on Twitter.
  8. Sony Computer Entertainment (2018). The Art of Ratchet & Clank. Dark Horse Comics. p. 227.
  9. Twitter logo @BrianAllgeier on Twitter.
  10. [Exclusive] Interview : Michael Bross - News. Ratchet Galaxy. Accessed January 18, 2018.
  11. Into the Nexus Music Recorded by Symphony at Ocean Way. Insomniac Games (archived). Accessed January 18, 2018.
  12. Twitter logo @InsomniacGames on Twitter.
  13. Twitter logo @InsomniacGames on Twitter.
  14. Twitter logo @InsomniacGames on Twitter.
  15. Twitter logo @InsomniacGames on Twitter.
  16. Twitter logo @PlayStation on Twitter.
  17. Twitter logo @InsomniacGames on Twitter.
  18. Amazon France lists Ratchet & Clank: Into the Nexus for Vita. Computer and Video Games (archived). Accessed January 18, 2018.
  19. Insomniac Live - Ratchet & Clank Future: A Crack in Time - pt 3. YouTube. Accessed February 22, 2018.
  20. Ratchet & Clank: Into the Nexus GameRankings. GameRankings. Accessed January 18, 2018.
  21. Ratchet & Clank: Into the Nexus Metacritic. Metacritic. Accessed January 18, 2018.
  22. 22.0 22.1 22.2 22.3 22.4 Short But Sweet - Ratchet & Clank: Into the Nexus. Game Informer. Accessed January 18, 2018.
  23. 23.0 23.1 23.2 23.3 Ratchet & Clank: Into the Nexus Review. GameSpot. Accessed January 18, 2018.
  24. Ratchet and Clank: Into the Nexus review. GamesRadar. Accessed January 18, 2018.
  25. 25.0 25.1 25.2 25.3 25.4 Ratchet & Clank: Into the Nexus Review. IGN. Accessed January 18, 2018.
  26. 26.0 26.1 26.2 26.3 Ratchet & Clank: Into the Nexus review: closure. Polygon. Accessed January 18, 2018.

External links