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Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart is perfect for series newcomers

Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart
(Image credit: Sony)

Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart heralds the next generation of games in this hugely popular series, which is steeped in almost two decades of history. And I've never played any of them, until now. 

Jumping into an established franchise can be tough going. You've got a cast of characters with complex histories, story arcs spanning years and a universe that has been built from the ground up. When you're tossed into the deep end, it can be daunting. In-jokes and references to previous games abound, along with the conceit that you actually care about the characters and their fates. If you're not already invested in the game world and its inhabitants to some degree, your experience can often be a negative one.

ratchet and clank rift apart

(Image credit: Sony)

I went into Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart completely clueless. But within minutes of the opening sequence, I was strapping myself in for the ride.

The game opens with a cutscene featuring a new character: the female Lombax Rivet. Staunch followers of the series will be in exactly the same boat as newcomers in that regard. This PS5 game looks sublime, and Jennifer Hale knocks it out of the park as Rivet — as you'd expect.

The style and humor of the title are evident right away. Before long, we transition to the titular duo attending a huge parade in honor of the heroic endeavors they've been performing since 2002 — and that I have zero knowledge of.

All I knew about the two characters prior to this was that one's tall, cute and furry, and one's short, cute and shiny. But boy howdy, do they look good! A handful of supporting characters are also present in the intro, but I didn't pay them much attention in the midst of the festivities. While that might leave Ratchet & Clank fans aghast, the truth is that it doesn't matter.

Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart

(Image credit: Sony)

With the introduction of a functioning Dimensionator (a portal-into-another-dimension-maker, essentially), and the zany villain who's not afraid to use it (Dr. Nefarious), followers of the series are in for the same slew of surprises as those of us who are just discovering this universe for the first time.

The plot is uncomplicated and easy-to-follow, the visuals are everything you'd hope from a next-gen console, and the utilization of the DualSense controller in the gameplay will have everyone ooh-ing and aah-ing their way through the experience with the same sense of awe and wonderment.

ratchet and clank

(Image credit: Sony)

The alternate dimension versions of the supporting cast will no doubt tickle those who have spent years getting to know them. A few passing comments between the characters hint at how different they are from the "normal" versions of themselves, but I don't need to know much about them to get on with saving the universe. And thankfully, Insomniac doesn't bombard you with reams of lore or unnecessary backstories on the subject.

With solid gameplay, a cast of loveable characters (who need to be made into plushies immediately), and stunning, vibrant graphics that just scream "Pixar," Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart is a must-play if you own a PS5 — regardless of whether or not you know about their past heroic exploits.

Shabana Arif

Shabana is T3's News Editor covering tech and gaming, and has been writing about video games for almost a decade (and playing them since forever). As well as contributing to Tom's Guide, she's had bylines at major gaming sites during her freelance career before settling down at T3, and has podcasts, streaming, and video content under her belt to boot. Outside of work, she also plays video games and should really think about expanding her hobbies.