The Ratchet and Clank franchise has long enjoyed its existence as a PlayStation-exclusive series. With Sony’s more recent push to bring some of its console exclusives to PC, however, the latest game in the franchise, Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart, enjoys the honor of being the first entry in the series to come to PC. While Sony’s attempts at bringing some of its (older) games to outside of PlayStation have been admirable, some of its releases have been questionable when it comes to the technical side of things.
Despite not enjoying the fame and sales of games like God of War or The Last of Us Part 1, Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart can quite easily be considered one of the more technically impressive games in the PS5’s repertoire. On release a couple of years ago, the game hoped to make use of just about every single PS5 hardware and software feature possible, and it managed to be quite successful at that to a large extent. Bringing the game to PC means a host of challenges, however, with the chief among them being closely tied to the central gimmick in Rift Apart, which is the transition across multiple dimensions on the fly.
But, let’s get the most important thing out of the way; Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart seems to be an excellent PC port. While I wasn’t able to max out the graphics settings on my decidedly-modest PC (Ryzen 5 3600, 32GB RAM, Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 Ti) at 1080p, even playing it on medium was enough for the game to show off its gorgeous visuals and vibrant color palette, along with enjoying some of the benefits of ray-tracing features like ambient occlusion and shadows. On the performance side of things, there were definitely moments where the game was chugging along, but the lowest frame rates I ever managed to hit while playing on largely medium settings still managed to stay in the 50s.
"Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart can quite easily be considered one of the more technically impressive games in the PS5’s repertoire"
Cranking the game up to its max graphics was still relatively playable, but larger zones with lots of particle effects made the game slow down to a crawl. This was especially evident in the early sections where you’re exploring a dense cyberpunk city with lots of pedestrians and civilians all over the place. Trying to make the game push the limits of my hardware also tended to have the unfortunate result of the title crashing to desktop when things got too hairy.
The only real compromise worth noting in the PC release of Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart would be the load times. Unless you have a relatively high-end system with plenty of storage space on an NVMe SSD and hardware capable of making use of DirectStorage 1.2, you’re going to see some hitches when the game needs to load in new data.
While regular play didn’t present too many issues with the loading, the big set pieces and major cutscenes can start feeling weird because the game occasionally has to pause for a couple of seconds to load in a new dimension. This was noticeable early on when Ratchet gets thrown across various dimensions; the game straight up had to pause for a few seconds to load in a new level—a problem not present on the PS5 thanks to its use of an NVMe SSD and advanced data streaming and decompression techniques.
"The game straight up had to pause for a few seconds to load in a new level—a problem not present on the PS5"
Since Insomniac Games and Nixxes also went through the trouble of making sure Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart would be verified for play on the Steam Deck, I also tried to play a bit of the game on the handheld gaming PC. While perfectly playable, the experience is less than ideal, and several compromises have to be made in terms of visual fidelity. Short of fine-tuning some of the settings, the low preset along with AMD’s FSR technology seems to be the best way to play the game on the Steam Deck. Thankfully, storage speed wasn’t a big problem, and the experience was relatively painless once I got the game running at a decent enough frame rate.
When it comes to everything else about Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart, I find myself largely agreeing with the verdict from back when the game was first released on the PS5. The gameplay and story in the title come together quite well to form what can easily be described as one of the best games on the PS5. Visually, even with the caveats I mentioned earlier, the game is an absolute treat, and I often felt like I was watching a high-budget animated movie rather than playing a game. Just about every world you visit has been wonderfully realized, both in terms of looks as well as gameplay, and there’s tons of personality oozing from just about every corner of the game.
On the gameplay side of things, Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart will be familiar to anyone who had even a passing interest in 3D platforming action games from back in the PS2 era. The title has you running around different worlds, exploring to your heart’s content, while frequently throwing some enemies your way so that you can have some fun with the wonderfully weird arsenal of weapons you’ll have access to. Story beats are often punctuated with boss battles that, while offering some challenge, won’t really be anything that will seriously hold you back. And once you’re done with the main story bits, there are plenty of secrets and optional side-objectives to go for, including a wave-based arena mode, and tons of collectibles.
"Just about every world you visit has been wonderfully realized"
Much like its bright and colorful visuals, the story and writing in Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart also has a tendency to keep you smiling. The setup is quite simple: Clank has fixed the Dimensionator as a present for Ratchet, who can use it to look for his family. Things quickly go wrong, however, as Dr. Nefarious invades the celebrations and steals the Dimensionator himself. After a quick boss fight, Nefarious is able to finally use the Dimensionator to transport our heroes to an alternate dimension where he won, separating Ratchet and Clank along the way. The two now have to make new friends in their efforts to reunite and thwart Nefarious’ nefarious plots.
Sure, there isn’t really anything groundbreaking in the game’s story, and it isn’t going to offer a deep introspective look into the nature of humanity, but the story manages something much more important than that; it manages to be fun. Even when things are at their grimmest, Rift Apart offers plenty of lighthearted moments so that you never start feeling down, and just about every character ends up being memorable in the best possible ways.
I believe Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart’s PC debut to be largely successful, provided you have an SSD in your PC. Reports indicate that hard drives don’t fare too well with the game’s demanding system requirements, and my own experiences in trying to find the right balance of visual fidelity and acceptable performance definitely corroborate those reports. If you can manage to jump over the proverbial hurdle of needing a relatively beefy system to play, however, Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart is quite easily well worth your time, thanks to its endless charm, gorgeous visuals, and fun gameplay.
This game was reviewed on PC.
Still as fun as it was two years ago; Absolutely gorgeous; Great performance if you can find the right settings to tune.
Beefy hardware requirements; Even SATA SSDs can break up the pace because of loading.