“Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart” Takes PS5 To New Heights

following Cyberpunk 2077 sloppy launch I approached most new games with increased hesitation. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is, right? So when we saw Ratchet & Clank from Insomniac Games: Rift Apart for the first time, my guard was up. It really felt like you were playing a Pixar movie, but I still struggled to trust the final experience.

After spending a few weeks with Rift apart, I can confirm that it really lives up to the hype. It’s a visual spectacle light years beyond anything we’ve seen in consoles or even in most PC games. While we’ve seen some games harness the power of the PS5, like Spider-Man: Miles Morales, Demon souls and Return, Rift apart is even more technically impressive, if not more accessible than these last two punitive games. It pushes technology like ray tracing to new heights, enabling realistic highlights and shadows. And it takes advantage of the PS5’s fast SSD, letting you jump between completely different worlds in an instant.

I would go so far as to say that Rift apart single-handedly proves why we need powerful new consoles. Of course, Insomniac probably could have released a scaled-down version of the game that would have looked a bit better than the 2016. Ratchet & Clank. But there would be no ray tracing, much slower load times, and a simplistic controller rumble. It would have been just another platform game. On the PS5, however, Rift apart looks like a real leap forward.

The game puts the show’s heroes, the brave Lombax Ratchet and his robotic sidekick Clank, on a dimension-leaping quest where they encounter alternate versions of themselves. There’s Rivet, a rebellious Lombax woman, and Kit, a former war robot in the midst of an identity crisis. Together, they aim to stop the evil Dr. Nefarious from invading other universes (and potentially destroying the fabric of reality in the process). Longtime fans of the series will be excited to see slightly tweaked versions of their favorite side characters, like the dopey Captain Qwark, but the game doesn’t rely on a lot of backstory, which is great for newcomers.

Insomniac games / Sony

In his heart, Rift apart is still a Ratchet & Clank game: it focuses on the fun shooting game with a variety of creative weapons. (Personally, I’m a huge fan of the topiary sprinkler, which freezes baddies in place with plants, so you can easily blow them off.) But what sets it apart is the way it uses the material. of the PS5 to polish the experience. Consider how the game handles reflections. In its 4K / 30fps “Fidelity” and low resolution / 60fps “Performance RT” graphics modes, Rift apart uses ray-traced highlights that make surfaces look almost realistic. A sleek floor in a mall, for example, can accurately reflect enemies and the psychedelic lighting effects just above.

According to Mike Fitzgerald, Core Technology Director at Insomniac Games, the studio realized early on that reflections were a major differentiator from the PlayStation 4: “There are tons of curved glass surfaces, futuristic metallic locations and ship concepts. space where [ray traced reflections] were adding so much, that we decided to say, ‘Hey, let’s use as much of this power as possible specifically for the reflections.’ “

You can see the difference immediately in Rift Apart’s The “Performance” mode, which forgoes ray tracing in exchange for a higher resolution rendering at 60fps. Of course, this makes the game run smoother, but without realistic reflections the surfaces just look dull and blobby. It is as if life itself is being sucked out of the world.

Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart

Insomniac games / Sony

“For Ratchet and Clank in particular, one of the game’s greatest strengths is its visuals,” said Game Director Mike Daly. “I think one of the reasons his visuals stand out is because we start with an engine [originally built for Spider-Man] which was designed for photo-realistic rendering and many techniques to make a frame look believable. So when you combine that with a strong, very colorful and more creative art style, you get this … fun world, but one that has all of these elements that allow your brain to fit in and create that kind of drawing. lively creative world is more immersive than it has ever been before. “

Ratchet & Clank’s artistic direction has always had a distinct style, but in Rift apart the Insomniac team was able to push everything to a whole new level. Ratchet’s fur now has individually rendered hairs, and there is an obsessive level of detail in the game’s armor, weapons, and enemies. 4K rendering demands high-quality assets, after all. Daly and Fitzgerald both say they prefer the game’s Fidelity graphics mode, just so they can see the results of their hard work at the highest resolution. Personally, however, I will always favor 60fps modes, which makes the gameplay a lot smoother. I mostly stayed with Performance RT, which gave me that faster framerate with ray tracing.

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