A galaxy far, far away
Graphics and art
The animation in "Ratchet & Clank" games has always been — and still is — beyond reproach, but the graphics engine is starting to show its age. Although all of the characters in the game, from the furry Ratchet to the sleek Vendra, look good, they also look a little too smooth and featureless on close inspection. Jagged edges on scenery and clothing pop up frequently, too.
The art design, on the other hand, is up to usual series standards. Each character has a distinctive look and set of mannerisms, and the enemy design is excellent. The Nethers, neon purple beings from another dimension who teleport around the battlefield at will, are a particular standout.
Music and sound
"Into the Nexus" has a score that more or less just fades into the background. It's pleasant enough to listen to, whether you're hearing an upbeat tune while traversing a jungle world or a frenzied melody while fighting swarms of enemies in the arena.
The voice acting is where the sound design excels. Characters like Ratchet, Clank, Captain Qwark and Talwyn Apogee (the incomparable James Arnold Taylor, David Kaye, Jim Ward and Ali Hillis, respectively) have been in so many games that their voices are well-oiled machines at this point.
Nika Futterman, better known as Catwoman on "Batman: The Brave and the Bold" deserves special mention for her excellent turn as Vendra, instilling the villainess with both menace and pathos.
The bottom line
The "Ratchet & Clank" faithful will not find much that's new in "Into the Nexus," but after a few experimental games by the franchise, it's a very welcome return to form. The game feels refined instead of repetitious, and maintains both the humor and the heart that have become the franchise's hallmarks.
If this is Ratchet and Clank's last hurrah on the PS3, the duo goes out in style. All that's left now is to await their next-gen adventures.
Developer: Insomniac Games
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment America
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