Rift Apart brings ray tracing - and not much else - to Ratchet & Clank

Yet I’m riding the same slow elevators, and sitting through the same spaceship loading screens

But I was breathlessly assured that the PS5 signaled the end of this!

I’m perplexed by that, as that doesn’t map to the game I played. The load times are lightning fast and I can maybe thing of one elevator in the entire game.

Ouch.

I can think of at least a half dozen elevators. What do I win? Can we do spaceship cinematics next, because I know you can think of more than one of those?

The point is that rifts do nothing to help loading times. The same level architecture exists here that always existed in Ratchet & Clank. As well as any other games, for that matter. Anytime you ride a slow elevator, watch an unskippable spaceship cutscene, or walk down an empty corridor while some characters explains something, you’re probably loading content. And all that stuff is in this game, regardless of rifts.

-Tom

Again, I feel like you and I played two different games.

Well, it’s possible, since I didn’t buy the premium edition.

-Tom

I’m not sure I’d call the 4 second space ship transitions used to move you between completely different planets equivalent to the loading screens of the past. There are multiple times you can walk through a portal into a completely new environment, and two levels built completely around hitting a crystal to instantly change the entire level around you. If you’re on a slow elevator it’s probably for pacing, storytelling or dramatic effect.

Both of which I’ve seen in other games, including some old games. It’s nothing special seeing it in a Ratchet & Clank and it certainly doesn’t require any fancy new Rift ™ technology.

My point remains: Rift Apart has no meaningful differences from the previous games. The fundamental architecture is the same. With the exception of some minor elements with no gameplay implications – for instance, all the neutral robots milling around the city level and mining level – it would have worked just fine on a PS4.

-Tom

Only by sacrificing level size and fidelity. Rift Apart didn’t have to make such cuts.

I wonder whose idea it was to add running around shooting at stuff in a game already consisting of running around shooting at stuff?

Also, wait… is Sony telling you poor dears that analog triggers are only possible on the PS5?

Poor, poor dears.

Fidelity? You mean the setting in the graphics option that slows the game down? Is that the “fidelity” you’re talking about? I wouldn’t know, because I mostly played with it turned off. :)

-Tom

It’s my understanding that if you play some generic platformer demo called Astro Boy or something, you’ll appreciate what the PS5 controllers might one day possibly add to videogames in the future that could support its features if any developers so choose.

-Tom

Tom,

Your experience doesn’t match me or anyone I know of that has been playing Rifts Apart on PS5. I’m not sure where the difference lies but load times are exactly what is missing from it. It’s smooth as butter from beginning to end and there is a lot more going on for it than simple ray tracing.

Where is this obsession with loading times coming from? I don’t doubt the PS5 loads stuff more quickly. I mean, sheesh, it better. But I also don’t understand how that’s relevant to anything I wrote in the review, much less how you seem to think it’s somehow a counterpoint. Do you think elevators and spaceship cutscenes are there to entertain you? Do you think Rift Apart magically eliminated the need to load stuff? If so, I have some bad news.

Do tell! Because this actually sounds relevant. What do you think Rift Apart has going for it?

-Tom

Yeah you’re just in troll mode.

fuk, u chick!!!

Forgiving action platforming. Non-frustrating puzzles (unlike in Fenyx Rising, which I had to bail on because I didn’t want to have to constantly consult a walk through while I played). An engaging new protagonist (Rivet). Enjoyable story beats.

I’m only about 40% through it right now but as a filthy casual, it hits all the right notes for me. You may just be too elite and jaded for it, Tom.

Also, just to chime in: I can’t remember any significant loading screens or filler. But I wasn’t looking for it.

I also just chose performance RT mode as the only way to play. Based on videos from Digital Foundry, it’s the perfect mixture of performance and eye candy. They surely would have made it the default if it hadn’t been a week 1 patch addition.

Says the guy whose only contribution to the thread is forgetting how many elevators there are. But I’m always around if you ever feel like having a conversation.

Well, yeah, depending on the difficulty level you’re playing on. But you don’t want to get me started on that discussion, do you? At any rate, I don’t see how the difficulty level is in any way a selling point unless you’ve somehow been forced to live in a cave with nothing but Souls-likes for the last ten years.

Otherwise, yes, classic action platforming! In that regard, this is every bit as good as any other Ratchet & Clank game. I can tell you that from experience because I went back to the 2016 PS4 game while playing Rift Apart. And guess what? If you just want classic action platforming, it holds up.

Oh, I’ll give you non-frustrating puzzles. That’s one way to put it! But to my mind, they were so “non-frustrating” that they felt like busywork. And doesn’t it strike you odd that the option to skip them is placed so prominently? That just feels like a concession that they’re filler.

But I’m glad you bought up Fenix, because I felt that game has a much better handle on how to integrate combat, traversal, and puzzles, all in one tight bundle. You mentioned referring to a walkthrough, and I always consider that a failure on the part of a game. If I resort to a walkthrough, the game has failed. Usually just by not holding my attention or interest enough for me to figure it out (so maybe it would be more accurate to say we failed together). But sometimes a game fails because the puzzle solutions are just so obscure or the mechanics are so obtuse, and if I want to keep playing, I have to resort to a walkthrough. However, in defense of my favorite game from last year, I don’t think I ever needed to look up a puzzle solution for Fenix. And I’m not saying that in as a way of claiming to be smarter or better than you, because I’m sure I’m not, and I suck at puzzles. But I’m saying that because it’s a sign to me that Ubisoft got the puzzle/action balance just right.

Whereas my feeling about Ratchet & Clank is that they’ve only ever been a combat game, and the traversal and puzzle stuff has never been very well integrated. They’re just kind of glommed on to the side, sitting there inert, until the script decides to jam them in your way like a commercial break. But, yes, I can understand the appeal of non-frustrating puzzles.

Don’t you miss the hacking minigames, though? You’re really okay with just jumping into another shooter when it comes to hacking?

I did like the Rivet voice actress a lot! Partly because I’m so sick of hearing everyone else, but also because she was actually energetic, as if she were excited to be there. But the Ratchet and Clank guys themselves? They sounded bored out of their skulls. The Dr. Nefarious guy, the Skids guy, and the Captain Quark guy are all capable voice actors, but they’ve been stuck on the same shrill note for the last, what?, four or five games. (Note that I reserve the right to exempt A Crack in Time from all complaints/whinges/observations about the series as a whole!)

But as for enjoyable story beats, that’s kind of vague. What are you liking?

The issue for me is that I feel the folks writing Ratchet & Clank are just so bad at dialogue, character development, and especially humor that the actual plot feels immaterial. And it can’t have helped that it played out so much like Loki, but without going to the lengths Loki went. The stuff with Rivet and Kit’s arm felt like a direct rip-off of How to Train Your Dragon. And the blatant Iron Giant killer robot stuff just felt gross given that Clank was already obviously copied from the Iron Giant design. I guess I didn’t mind so much back when I liked the games enough to tolerate the stories. :(

I hate to tell you this, but with the way it calculates percentage complete, you’re closer to the end than you think. At the end of my first playthrough, I think it showed me at less than 50%? I’d have to go back and check, but I was surprised when I got the “this is the last level, are you sure you want to play it?” message.

Dude, I’m too jaded for everything. I’m a critic. I’m not sure you can accuse me of being elite, though. Did you see my Top Ten List for 2021 (So Far)? There’s a whole lotta lowbrow on there. Including Rift Apart!

Well, that’s kind of the deal with the PS5, isn’t it? It sure sets it apart from the Switch. But I’m still not sure why anyone thinks I care about loading times, much less that I’m complaining about them. I haven’t said one word about loading time in Rift Apart.

Wait, what was a patch addition? Performance RT? So now they’re adding even more graphics settings? Ugh.

I didn’t look closely, but I didn’t really notice much difference, visually, between Performance RT and Performance. I just noticed how much smoother they were than Fidelity. Which gets back to me having no idea what ray tracing is. Ironic, given the amount of money I’ve spent on hardware that specifically supports ray tracing…

I was mainly toggling between Fidelity and Performance. But once I started on the second playthrough, I just decided “fuck it”, dialed it down to Performance, and then forced myself to leave it alone. I can adjust to sub-optimal graphics in a way that I can’t adjust to sub-optimal framerates.

-Tom

The raytracing in Rift Apart is mostly used for reflections. Both performance modes run at 60fps. Performance RT includes those reflections, but reduces the overall rendering resolution to achieve this compared to regular performance mode. The resolution difference is difficult to see, but the reflections make a huge difference in many scenes:

Performance-

Performance RT-

The game was designed to be a reflection showpiece, so there’s tons of glass, puddles, and metal surfaces all over that will get correct RT reflections.

Interesting screenshots. The reflection of the gold metal flower holders looks better in Performance than in Performance RT right?