Gamerscore points: nil
Although you might rightly reflect that Tools of Destruction isn't ever an especially challenging game, there's no doubting its quality or the fun you'll get from blasting your way through all 12-15 hours of it. And even when you're done, you can start over with your experience and upgrades intact and try it again on the unlockable Challenge mode. At the very least, you'll want to gather up all those hard to find gold bolts, max out all your weapons, go for all the skill points, beat the arena challenges, or get all the puzzle pieces. It's just a shame that Sony's achievement system doesn't work like Microsoft's, because in many ways, Ratchet & Clank games were tailor made for the patient, persistent gamer that like to really get their money's worth.
As for how the game fairs on a technical level, well, the leap from PS2 to PS3 is quite mind boggling when you look at Tools of Destruction side by side with one of the previous versions. The boasts about it being comparable to a Pixar movie weren't far off the mark, with easily some of the best next-gen visuals we've had the pleasure of witnessing. The many glorious cut-scenes, in particular are definitely the equal of any CG shorts you may have seen, with a craft and energy that makes you look forward to every single one. Ratchet & Clank games have always had absolutely brilliant cut-scenes, infused with warm humour, great voice acting and bags of goofy charm, but to see it all play out in high-def is quite something.
In-game, too, the game runs incredibly smoothly, with none of the slightly iffy frame rate issues that plagued the game on PS2 (don't believe me? Boot up Ratchet & Clank 3 after playing this and see for yourself how remarkable the difference really is). Every single part of the game's already solid visual appeal has been cranked up several notches, and bears even the closest, most anal scrutiny. Texture detail, lighting, particle effects, explosions - everything in the game world has been brought to life in the way you always hoped it would (even if you were happy with things the way they were, you'll appreciate the changes). As for character models and their animations, well, you couldn't ask for more. The few occasions you get to play as Clank allow you to slow down time, revealing in microscopic detail how beautiful and fluid every motion is of even the most insignificant character. You might even be moved to imagine that you're playing in a living cartoon world - it's that good. It's a real shame, then, that Insomniac still can't seem to figure out how to come up with a third-person camera system that behaves itself. Even with the essential lock-on facility, it still has a tendency to want to look at the floor at inopportune moments, which, given how slick the rest of the game is, is frankly baffling. It's not as if they've not had long enough to fix this perennial bugbear. Luckily, the game's forgiving enough elsewhere for this to not be too serious a problem - but when it does happen, it's jarring to say the least.
It's strange, also, that the previously lauded multiplayer component has been stripped out of its debut appearance on a new platform. On a personal level, playing Ratchet online was never much of a draw anyway, but that was thanks to the PS2's thoroughly annoying online implementation rather than anything wrong with that mode in itself. For those who could be bothered with the faff of PS2 online play, it went down very well, so it's not hard to imagine they will feel a little sore that it's not in this hugely anticipated title. Even more confusing is the fact that it's been developed by the same studio behind Resistance: Fall of Man - a game with a massively popular online element.
Whether Tools of Destruction is for you depends largely on whether you got on with the previous Ratchet & Clank games. If you did, and you loved them, then there's absolutely no reason not to go out and buy this, because it's a beautifully slick revision with some of the best videogame visuals around, and the usual excellent storyline to drag you along. In terms of the PS3 in isolation, it's easily one of its strongest exclusive titles to date, and should help erase some of the memories of a largely forgettable first 12 months for the machine. In some senses, Insomniac does need a clip 'round the ear for doing very little to innovate the gameplay in any meaningful sense, but if you're happy to play through a wonderful high definition version of an old classic, put your money down - you won't be remotely disappointed.
8 / 10