It’s just downright impressive. At times it really is like playing through a Pixar movie:
Check out the original Ratchet and Clank below and you can get an idea of how the developer really has tweaked and improved upon that strong foundation in almost every single way.
Off on a tangent: I really wish Nintendo had put this amount of love, polish, level of presentation, and attention to detail into the new Star Fox Zero game, which is basically a spiritual remake/remaster of Star Fox 64 in many ways. I think Star Fox Zero pales in most areas when compared to what Insomniac have done with the remake/remaster of Ratchet & Clank on PS4.
Here’s some footage of Star Fox Zero, the latest game in one of Nintendo’s flagship and most beloved franchises, for comparison:
Now, it definitely doesn’t look bad in the trailer above, but I would love to see a new Star Fox games that was as relatively cutting-edge, beautifully presented, graphically stunning, and as all-round epic as the original Star Fox on SNES was for its time:
The level of presentation in Star Fox Zero, as seen in the intro cutscene below, just doesn’t achieve that same level of relative greatness for me in 2016. It feels a bit lazy and underwhelming—and that’s even with the understanding that this intro is actually a nod to the original Star Fox 64 one.
The gameplay and general design still looks pretty solid, which you can see better in the footage below, but that footage also betrays the fact that you’re basically forced to use the dual-screen control method throughout the game, which I personally think is going to turn out to be a bad decision ultimately—a decision where a gimmick may come at the cost of what would have been a better control and gameplay solution at the end of the day if the developer had just stuck with the more traditional single-screen movement/aiming combo, at least on the Arwing sections—and it just doesn’t make much sense either at times (the Arwing ship model clearly shows guns that only fire forwards).
If you pay attention to the footage below, you can clearly see some areas where the whole dual-screen control method really is causing some unnecessary clunkiness to proceedings, especially in the boss battles:
So, overall, a remake/remaster like Ratchet & Clank is about all I could have expected and asked for from such a game, whereas the remake/remaster that is Star Fox Zero falls short of my expectations for such a beloved and once cutting-edge franchise in so many ways. One game feels like it was given all the budget, time, and resources it needed to be pretty much the best game it could be in 2016, and the other feels like it was a bit rushed and wasn’t given the level of resources and love it truly deserved.
Neither game is going to be bad, but I think it’s all about the difference between a game being good and a game being genuinely great, and being the kind of game we will still talk about fondly another 20+ years down the line.
I’m not absolutely sure if the new Ratchet & Clank is going to be one of those games, as polished as it looks, but I’m almost completely certain the new Star Fox isn’t—unless something is being seriously lost-in-translation between what I’ve seen/read so far and what the final game turns out to be.