Best Ratchet & Clank Games: Ranking Every Title In The Series

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Like Nintendo, Sony has made sure to nurture a series of platform-exclusive franchises to keep fans coming back.

Developed by Insomniac Games, Ratchet & Clank is one of the few that have remained relevant in the hearts and minds of their audiences to this day.

This action-platformer/TPS may not be a selling point for any PlayStation product nowadays. But it brought many people into Sony’s fold back in the days of the PS2 and early PS3.

And it’s easy to see why, considering even the worst-rated games in the series are in the top percentile in sites such as Metacritic.

The wacky adventures of the Lombax and his robotic friend have a charm that’s hard to ignore.

Still, even such a successful series has had its ups and downs. So here I’d like to rank and review every Ratchet & Clank game so we can all reminisce about the good times, and maybe I can help some newcomers get straight to the good stuff.

15. Ratchet & Clank: Going Mobile (2005)

Ratchet & Clank: Going Mobile screenshot

Ever since I started writing about video games, I’ve been surprised to see just how many of the most influential franchises tried to enter the mobile gaming market back when “mobile” meant “flip phone”.

God of War did it.

Metal Gear Solid did it.

And of course, Ratchet & Clank did it too.

Despite being pre-historic for the new generations, this game still managed to provide an entertaining experience thanks to a great variety of weapons, satisfying rail grinding, and some very good spritework.

Worth looking into if you’re a big fan of the series, but there are more fun games to play.

 

14. Ratchet & Clank: Before the Nexus (2013)

Ratchet & Clank: Before the Nexus screenshot

While not necessarily a better game than Going Mobile in terms of effort or creativity, this endless runner is more palatable for modern audiences – and you don’t have to unearth your old Nokia to play it.

It came out as a companion piece to R&C: Into the Nexus, offering players the possibility of farming the in-game currency Raritanium and then transferring it to their console game.

This was more than enough justification to sink some hours into this, despite there only being one track to play in.

 

13. Ratchet & Clank: Size Matters (2007)

Ratchet & Clank: Size Matters gameplay

I’ve always had a soft spot for PSP games. I love the system!

That said, I have to admit I didn’t dig R&C: Size Matters quite as much.

After the very unique Ratchet: Deadlocked, Size Matters presents itself as a return to form.

Regrettably, they may have taken it a bit too far.

Despite its title stating that “size matters”, the game is also pretty short, although this may end up working in its favor by not giving you the time to grow bored of its generic plot and uninteresting gameplay.

Still, if you love Ratchet & Clank you won’t regret giving it a try.

 

12. Secret Agent Clank (2008)

Secret Agent Clank gameplay screenshot

A somewhat better option on the PSP is Secret Agent Clank, based on an in-game show of the same name featured on R&C: Up Your Arsenal.

Fans loved the concept, but the execution left a lot to be desired.

While all of Clank’s weapons were interesting spy-like gadgets that made combat unique, it’s also true that even the simplest encounters could take a while due to these eclectic arms.

An average gamer with no connection to the R&C franchise may quickly lose interest in this somewhat mediocre game.

But if you’re a fan of the series you’ll love the quirky gameplay and find its humor exhilarating.

 

11. Ratchet & Clank: All 4 One (2011)

All 4 One R&C gameplay

If you’ve read some of my other articles on the site, you know I love couch Co-Op.

And that’s precisely the main appeal of R&C: All 4 One.

This team-based TPS features the franchise’s four main characters, Ratchet, Clank, Captain Qwark, and Dr. Nefarious, to be controlled by you and your chums as you make your way through beautiful levels with some platforming elements.

The thing about this PS3 exclusive is that the developers tried too hard to make it look… kind of like a Pixar movie.

Which succeeded in making it pretty, but took away a lot of the cast’s personality.

Qwark doesn’t even have his split chin!

It’s a good game, but it doesn’t seem to appeal to a specific audience, and this lack of direction made it unremarkable.

 

10. Ratchet & Clank: Full Frontal Assault (2012)

Full Frontal Assault gameplay screenshot

Another option in the R&C lineup for those of us who like sitting down with a friend and just passing the time is Full Frontal Assault on the PS3.

This game takes the usual gameplay found in most R&C titles and fuses it with Tower Defense, somewhat similar to what Dungeon Defenders so beautifully achieves – except FFA doesn’t do it as well.

If you’re looking for a main entry in the R&C series, you’ll be gravely disappointed here. As the game lacks a proper story and is criminally short.

However if you see it as more of an expansion of R&C: Up Your Arsenal’s Siege multiplayer mode, FFA is a fun time-killer with an excellent soundtrack.

 

9. Ratchet & Clank: Quest for Booty (2008)

Ratchet & Clank: Quest for Booty screenshot

After the “back to basics” approach the development team took with R&C: Tools of Destruction, they were unsure about where to take the series from there.

The result of this uncertainty was an experimental title that worked as an exercise in understanding what fans wanted from the franchise to better develop the next entry.

And for some reason, it’s also pirate-themed.

Despite lacking a mod system for weapons and being relatively short and linear, Quest for Booty does introduce some new mechanics. Like the Kinetic Tether function for the wrench and conversation trees a-la-Bioware.

All in all, the game makes itself pretty enjoyable for the entirety of its modest length.

 

8. Ratchet & Clank (2016)

Ratchet & Clank 2016 HD gameplay

After letting the Lombax and the robot rest for almost three years, the development team was called to arms once again to make a companion piece to the new Ratchet & Clank animated movie.

That kind of situation is a recipe for disaster. But the developers miraculously managed to put together a solid game.

It’s a remake of the first entry in the series, adapting the story to better match the movie and giving gameplay an intensely cinematic feeling that at times can make you forget you’re playing a game.

While revisiting situations and settings from the first game in glorious PS4 graphics was a pleasure, this title is kept from greatness by a severe lack of innovation and a short campaign.

 

7. Ratchet: Deadlocked (2005)

Ratchet: Deadlocked gameplay

The R&C franchise has always followed the idea that one must adapt to the times if one wishes to endure the changing tides of a fast-moving industry.

This kind of thinking is what made the first three games in the series so good.

But it’s also what gave birth to the black sheep of the family – Ratchet: Deadlocked on the PS3.

Other than dropping Clank because he looked too childish or something, Deadlocked tones down the focus on platforming action-adventure to make room for bad-ass shootouts and space-marine Ratchet.

Despite featuring amazing Co-Op and being an overall good game, Deadlocked and its darker tone alienated many longtime fans by losing its quirky personality in favor of generic videogame tropes.

Some of these fans feel like the franchise never recovered. But I think that’s going a bit too far.

 

6. Ratchet & Clank (2002)

Ratchet & Clank 2002 original screenshot

The original R&C was born from a simple idea: Aliens traveling from planet to planet collecting weapons and gadgets.

This simple concept allowed developers and designers to create to their heart’s content, no strings attached other than keeping with a very loose common tone.

This gave birth to the Lombax race, its prime specimen Ratchet, and his companion the sentient robot Clank.

Put those two in a buddy space-cop dynamic and you’ve got a recipe for success.

This PS2 title introduced us to everything we love about the franchise’s setting and gameplay, including rail grinding and the wacky weapons Ratchet’s arsenal is known for.

While a lot of fans would say this was the best game in the series, I beg to differ. The platforming is wonderful, but combat is pretty unremarkable in this release.

The controls are also frustratingly sluggish and Ratchet comes off as a bit of a jerk, which makes him less likable. Still an insanely fun game to play and it’s packed with nostalgia if you grew up on the PS2 as a kid.

 

5. Ratchet & Clank: Going Commando (2003)

Ratchet & Clank: Going Commando gameplay

For the next game on the PS2, the development team made sure to fine-tune most of the game mechanics that players liked the most.

A bigger emphasis was put on combat, introducing an XP system for weapons and some other RPG mechanics.

Both the ability to take cover and lock onto enemies were also added, making shootouts a much more streamlined affair while remaining challenging due to carefully designed enemies and battlefields.

The characters were also developed further, given a fleshed-out personality and made more relatable, especially Ratchet who doesn’t come off as a disagreeable jerk anymore.

As usual, it was the sequel that truly polished the concept that went on to shape the series.

 

4. Ratchet & Clank: Up Your Arsenal (2004)

Up Your Arsenal gameplay screenshot

As the series continued to evolve, a bigger emphasis was put on crafting an engaging story and further developing the characters.

R&C: Up Your Arsenal on the PS2 is a clear example, having what many believe is the best writing the franchise has seen so far.

That’s not to say combat was put aside.

Up Your Arsenal takes everything Going Commando did and expands upon it wonderfully, making combat faster and everything flashier.

This well-loved commercial success was the ultimate classic R&C experience before things took a turn for the… experimental, so to speak.

 

3. Ratchet & Clank: Into the Nexus (2013)

Into the Nexus game screenshot

After the uninspired and mediocre releases that were All 4 One and Full Frontal Assault, the franchise needed a big success if it was going to remain relevant.

Despite having fewer resources and less pull within Sony’s corporate structure, the guys over at Insomniac Games were able to put out an amazing, albeit smaller, PS3 game.

The gameplay is the typical R&C affair.

But focused on giving players more freedom in traversing levels through the Hoverboots and the Jetpack (which inevitably results in some bad-ass aerial combat sequences).

One of my favorite parts about this game is that it includes an in-game museum dedicated to celebrating the franchise and its multiple iterations up until this point.

It was supposed to be the last game in the series, and you can really feel the love the developers left scattered throughout the adventure.

 

2. Ratchet & Clank: Tools of Destruction (2007)

Tools of Destruction gameplay screen

After the weird adolescent period that was Deadlocked, Insomniac decided to focus on creating a game that married both the classic quirky appeal of the series with a more mature tone and a storyline that took itself a bit more seriously.

Tools of Destruction for the PS3 greatly develops the world and lore of the Ratchet & Clank series, and it’s a much more cohesive experience than Deadlocked.

They managed to make it feel as if the stakes are real for each of the characters, which makes it easier to develop an emotional connection with them.

This, in addition to some really solid graphics, make this a great entry point for newcomers.

 

1. Ratchet & Clank: A Crack in Time (2009)

A Crack in Time gameplay screenshot

But it’s the last game in the “Future” trilogy that deserves the title of the best Ratchet & Clank game to this day.

As a relatively new fan of the franchise, A Crack in Time was the first title I played where the graphics let me fully appreciate the beauty of its level design and characters.

Everything has this aesthetically pleasing sheen to it that’s missing from previous installments.

The gameplay expands upon Tools of Destruction while also taking some of the new additions made in Quest for Booty, such as the Kinetic Tether, which remains quite relevant in Ratchet’s toolkit.

This, coupled with some of the most creative Clank sections in the series, and the possibility to fly around in space engaging in space dogfights and listening to intergalactic radio channels, all make this game feel full of content and innovation.

If you have to play a single Ratchet & Clank game, do yourself a favor and go for A Crack in Time.

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Nelson Chitty

Nelson Chitty is a Venezuelan expat living in Argentina. He’s a writer and translator passionate about history and foreign cultures. His ideal weekend is spent between leisurely games of Civilization VI and looking for the next seinen anime to marathon.