The Best PlayStation Exclusive of the Last Decade Finally Hit PS Plus
A perfect pair.
Despite the console launching in November 2020, there still aren’t a ton of games that you can only play on PlayStation 5, as most titles continue to release on previous generations. This means there are only a handful of experiences that truly show what the console is capable of, and none get more to the heart of that than Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart. The latest game isn’t just the best entry in the iconic PlayStation franchise; it’s the perfect showcase for what the PS5 is really capable of. Even better, PS Plus Essential and Premium members can now jump in completely for free.
Rift Apart occupies an odd place in the series as it technically follows up on the mainline story that ended with Into the Nexus on PS3, but you don’t necessarily need to have prior knowledge of the series to jump right in.
The story follows the titular Ratchet and Clank who, at this point, have saved the universe countless times. During a parade thrown in the pair’s honor, the evil Dr. Nefarious appears and steals the Dimensionator, a powerful weapon from Into the Nexus that allows him to start tearing holes in reality that blend dimensions together.
Nefarious inadvertently sucks himself and the dynamic duo into a parallel dimension. Now Ratchet and Clank have to go on a rollicking Saturday morning cartoon-esque adventure to fix the dimensions and return to their own.
One of the best parts of Rift Apart is a brand-new character named Rivet, who’s basically an alternate-dimension version of Ratchet. Rivet is a fascinating character that has her own complex backstory but exudes optimism and enthusiasm at every turn. Her more analytical approach to things brings an interesting foil to Clank’s dynamic with Ratchet.
Rift Apart is about the closest you’ll get to a playable Pixar movie, and the series’ trademark charm absolutely oozes from every aspect of the game. Snappy writing, great pacing, and fun characters help drive the story forward, but gameplay is where things really shine.
The most impressive thing about Rift Apart is simply how seamless everything feels. There are no loading screens to be found anywhere, and the way the game uses multiple dimensions makes that even more impressive. Set pieces regularly send you careening through dimensions, with wild visual changes happening in the span of seconds.
That idea of dimensions also ties directly into gameplay, however. There are rifts scattered around every environment, and you can grapple to these rifts to instantly change your position. This is a great tactic for flanking enemies quickly and also plays into a lot of platforming.
The other key element of Rift Apart’s gameplay is the varied and imaginative weapons, another Insomniac trademark. From a foul-mouthed mushroom man that works like a turret to a Pixelizer that turns enemies into blocky sprites, Rift Apart has some wild weapons that are an absolute blast to use. You’ll need to use every weapon at your disposal too, as enemies consistently swarm you.
On top of all this, each planet in Rift Apart does a great job of introducing some kind of new mechanic or twist on gameplay. For example, one might give you rocket boots that you can use to dash around at high speeds, while another lets you swap back and forth between two dimensions to solve puzzles. At every turn, Rift Apart manages to be wildly inventive with its mechanics, and Insomniac does a great job of weaving together linear set pieces and more open exploration.
It’s incredible how fast and fluid Rift Apart’s gameplay feels, and that’s not even to mention how utterly gorgeous the game is, easily one of the most stunning titles ever released. It’s in the little details, like the fur on Ratchet and Rivet’s ears gleaming in the sun.
Ratchet & Clank has long been one of PlayStation’s most consistent series in terms of quality, and Rift Apart manages to even exceed that high bar. Three years into the life cycle of the PS5, there’s no greater example of what the system can achieve.