Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart is easily the best game that the PlayStation 5 now has to offer. From top to bottom, it offers an experience that is practically faultless and keeps you from ever wanting to put the controller down. Not only is Rift Apart itself superb, but as a showcase for what the PS5 is capable of, it's likely the best example we have seen so far and continues to verify that Insomniac Games is one of the best studios in the world.
At its core, Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart very much follows the same format as the games that came before it. There's a pretty specific formula that Insomniac has always used with this series, but it's the way in which the studio has expanded on that here in Rift Apart that makes it so impressive. The most prominent way in which this installment sets itself apart comes with how you jump around between dimensions quite often. This is an aspect of Rift Apart that Insomniac has highlighted a lot prior to launch, but seeing it implemented in-game wowed me way more than I thought it would. The seamless jumping between environments that the PS5 now allows for leads to many boss fights, platforming sections, and set-piece moments feeling far more massive in scope than ever before.
Speaking of those set-piece moments, Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart has some baffling on-rails sections that match up to anything you might find in a franchise like Uncharted or Insomniac's other current project, Marvel's Spider-Man. This is something that I really didn't expect to see in a Ratchet & Clank game, but Rift Apart has some wildly cinematic moments that are unbelievable when seen in motion. One particular location featuring a giant robot continues to stick out in my mind well over a week after I completed the game. When I say that Rift Apart has sequences that look like a Pixar movie in video game form, that's something I'm not saying lightly whatsoever.
I think the thing that surprised me the most with Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart was the overarching story and its new characters. Coming into Rift Apart, I was a bit mixed on Rivet, the new female Lombax character. Part of this was because I just didn't want to see Ratchet and Clank themselves split up for the majority of the experience. Luckily, I immediately found myself loving Rivet from the jump. In many ways, this is her game more than it is Ratchet and Clank's, and some of the throughline themes and character moments with her are definitely a standout.
As a longtime fan, the other thing I really loved about the story is how many Easter eggs and references it throws in to past entries in the series. Even though the last game in the franchise was a remake of the original Ratchet & Clank title, Rift Apart very much takes place after the events of Into the Nexus. Insomniac does a great job of continuing to build upon everything that has come before while introducing loads of new characters to fall in love with. Even outside of the addition of Rivet, there are a lot of fresh faces in Rift Apart that I would very much like to see come back in the future.
While it's nice to have a great story and characters, most Ratchet & Clank fans likely keep coming back to this series because of the gameplay. In Rift Apart, combat feels and looks better than it ever has before. The basics of gameplay still center around using your wrench (or hammer) to whack enemies while also wielding your wide arsenal of guns and other weapons to blast enemies to smithereens. Ratchet and Rivet both have some new gadgets to use this time around as well, almost all of which are fun in their own way.
Likely my favorite of these new items is the hover boots, which allow you to zip around each level at high speeds. One world, in particular, really uses these boots to great effect and opens up the scope of things more than ever before in a Ratchet & Clank game. A larger environment like this isn't something that I thought would work well initially, but like most other aspects of Rift Apart, the freedom to explore won me over quickly.
Speaking more to the specific guns that Ratchet and Rivet can use, the arsenal is, for the most part, just as fun as we've come to expect from the franchise. I'm not sure I would say that Rift Apart has my favorite lineup of guns out of all entries in the series, but the inventiveness on display from Insomniac continues to impress more than anything. Some of my own favorites this time include the Ricochet (which allows multiple hits on enemies with a single round), the Enforcer (a shotgun that fires in spurts), and the Topiary Sprinkler (freezes enemies in place). Old favorites like the Buzz Blades and Warmonger returning again also made for a welcome surprise.
What makes weapons even more enjoyable in Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart compared to other games in the series comes with how each impacts the DualSense controller. More so than its work on Marvel's Spider-Man: Miles Morales, Rift Apart really gives you your bang for your buck when it comes to what the DualSense can offer. Much like we saw in Returnal, Rift Apart allows most of your weapons in the game to implement different effects depending on how you're pressing each trigger. For example, with the aforementioned Enforcer, simply pressing the right trigger down halfway will allow you to fire a single shot from the gun. But if you press it down all the way instead, it will fire all active barrels one after another in quick succession. Novel ideas like this combined with the haptic feedback that is used in Rift Apart continue to show why the DualSense is the best controller available right now.
It's not just the DualSense aspect of the PS5 that Insomniac takes advantage of with Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart, though. As I briefly mentioned, this game looks bafflingly good. I don't say this with hyperbole whatsoever, but Rift Apart might very well be the best-looking video game I have ever seen. Every environment, every character model, and every item that you come across looks stunning in its own way. While we have seen some pretty titles on the PS5 up to this point, Rift Apart really made me realize what games developed solely for next-gen hardware are going to be capable of in the future.
What's even more absurd is that the game performs incredibly well, too. I played Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart with the Resolution Mode turned on, which in turn allows the game to run at a higher resolution and activates ray tracing. I didn't have a single dip in framerate that I noticed throughout my entire experience, which says a lot considering how many enemies pile on-screen at times. A Performance Mode is also going to be available to allow the game to reach 60fps, but I wasn't able to check this out prior to publishing this review. Still, Rift Apart is pure eye candy no matter how you might decide to play it.
If you can't already tell from my glowing praise, Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart is absolutely worth adding to your library if you own a PS5. Not only is it likely the best installment in Insomniac's action-platformer series so far, but it also gives you one of our best looks so far at what next-gen games have the potential to do. Whether this is your first foray into Ratchet & Clank or you have been playing these games since the PS2 days, Rift Apart shouldn't be missed.
Rating: 5 out of 5
Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart is set to release for the PlayStation 5 on June 11. A PlayStation 5 code was provided by the publisher for the purpose of this review. You can check out all of our additional coverage of the newest title from Insomniac Games right here.