Ratchet and Clank Future: Quest for Booty

Perhaps Quest for Booty is meant to serve as a spiritual analog to the PSP title Secret Agent Clank, in which Clank was the star, but Clank's absence is certainly felt.

Publisher: Sony
Genres: Action
Price: $14.99
Multimedia: Ratchet and Clank Future: Quest for Booty
Platforms: PlayStation 3
Number of players: 1
ESRB rating: Everyone 10+
Developer: Insomniac
US release date: 2008-08-21
Developer website

The market for downloadable content for home consoles has arguably become one of the most important aspects of this generation of consoles. When the idea was first introduced, too much attention was paid to the concept of microtransactions. But as time has passed, it seems clear that it's the full games and meaty expansion packs available on these services direct from the comfort of one's couch that makes downloadable content appealing. Geometry Wars was one of the first early successes in this market, and its impact is still being felt in the frequent releases of simple, addictive, arcade-driven fare. Older console content, remakes, and independent games are also starting to make quite a splash.

Ratchet and Clank Future: Quest for Booty, a new downloadable title from Insomniac, doesn't neatly fit into any of these categories. Although it continues the storyline of Tools of Destruction, it is not, strictly speaking, an expansion. Rather, it is a relatively short continuation, bridging the gap to the next full Ratchet and Clank title. As such, it occupies something of a strange space. By and large, the quality of the bigger Ratchet and Clank games is intact, but with Tools of Destruction not even a year old, and the next title over a year away, the few hours spent here cannot really be viewed as a holdover for series fans.

Given that the concept of episodic gaming has been struggling to gain a strong foothold, and moreover that it has been largely focused on resurrecting the classic adventure style of gameplay, it might have been more interesting for Insomniac to dip its toe into the episodic gaming waters, bringing a platformer to the mix. Releasing platformers every few months that each take a few hours to complete and yet contribute to an overall story would have been rather unique. Further, Ratchet and Clank episodes released between now and whenever the next full title is released might have better served as something to keep series fans busy. But it appears that Quest for Booty is a one-off effort, again raising questions as to its motivation.

In my review of Ratchet and Clank Future: Tools of Destruction, I claimed that in a post-Super Mario Galaxy landscape, it may be time for the Ratchet and Clank formula to evolve. Although Quest for Booty is quite enjoyable, as Ratchet and Clank games largely are, this might have been the perfect opportunity for such exploration. A $15 title that lasts only a few hours would neither make nor break the series, but fundamental conceptual changes could have been easily experimented with. To be fair, given that Tools of Destruction did end on something of a narrative cliffhanger, that might not have been necessarily possible unless Quest for Booty specifically chose to set aside those events for the time being.

Although the general aesthetics of Ratchet and Clank have survived the transition to a shorter title intact, one unfortunate downside to the brevity of Quest for Booty is the lack of exploration. Certainly, Ratchet and Clank games are largely linear, but the ability to go back to previous planets to look for extras or to accrue whatever is required for the title's most powerful weapon made them seem less so, and those elements are largely absent here, aside from optional weapons upgrades that are hidden from time to time. Another problem is that though the character of Ratchet has made great strides in likability since the early entries in the series, it seems pretty clear that the star of the proceedings is actually Clank, whose dry wit generally serves the role of straight-man to the generally zany sense of humor on display. Quest for Booty is largely devoid of Clank, as it's essentially centered on Ratchet's search for him. Perhaps this is meant to serve as a spiritual analog to the PSP title Secret Agent Clank, in which Clank was the star, but Clank's absence is certainly felt.

What we are left with, then, is a game which very much feels like Ratchet and Clank, but with some differences that may or may not be difficult to overcome, depending on how much the player identifies them with the series. For a downloadable title, it looks and sounds great, likely built on the same engine that powered Tools of Destruction. As always, Insomniac demonstrates a keen understanding for the fundamentals of fun platform level design. Finally, there are some new uses for Ratchet's wrench that are generally satisfying. But at the same time, Quest for Booty's position as a bridge between two full titles seems somewhat odd. The target market is clearly existing fans of the series, given that older titles would serve a much better introduction to newcomers. Still, although the content is predictably enjoyable, it is difficult to leave the experience without wanting more.






The Dance of Male Forms in Denis' 'Beau travail'

Claire Denis' masterwork of cinematic poetry, Beau travail, is a cinematic ballet that tracks through tone and style the sublimation of violent masculine complexes into the silent convulsions of male angst.


The Cradle's 'Laughing in My Sleep' Is an Off-kilter Reflection of Musical Curiosity

The Cradle's Paco Cathcart has curated a thoughtfully multifarious album. Laughing in My Sleep is an impressive collection of 21 tracks, each unapologetic in their rejection of expectations.


Tobin Sprout Goes Americana on 'Empty Horses'

During the heyday of Guided By Voices, Tobin Sprout wasn't afraid to be absurd amongst all that fuzz. Sprout's new album, Empty Horses, is not the Tobin Sprout we know.


'All In: The Fight for Democracy' Spotlights America's Current Voting Restrictions as Jim Crow 2.0

Featuring an ebullient and combative Stacey Abrams, All In: The Fight for Democracy shows just how determined anti-democratic forces are to ensure that certain groups don't get access to the voting booth.


'Transgender Street Legend Vol. 2' Finds Left at London "At My Peak and Still Rising"

"[Pandemic lockdown] has been a detriment to many people's mental health," notes Nat Puff (aka Left at London) around her incendiary, politically-charged new album, "but goddamn it if I haven't been making some bops here and there!"


Daniel Romano's 'How Ill Thy World Is Ordered' Is His Ninth LP of 2020 and It's Glorious

No, this is isn't a typo. Daniel Romano's How Ill Thy World Is Ordered is his ninth full-length release of 2020, and it's a genre-busting thrill ride.


The Masonic Travelers Offer Stirring Rendition of "Rock My Soul" (premiere)

The Last Shall Be First: the JCR Records Story, Volume 1 captures the sacred soul of Memphis in the 1970s and features a wide range of largely forgotten artists waiting to be rediscovered. Hear the Masonic Travelers "Rock My Soul".


GLVES Creates Mesmerizing Dark Folktronica on "Heal Me"

Australian First Nations singer-songwriter GLVES creates dense, deep, and darkish electropop that mesmerizes with its blend of electronics and native sounds on "Heal Me".


Otis Junior and Dr. Dundiff Tells Us "When It's Sweet" It's So Sweet

Neo-soul singer Otis Junior teams with fellow Kentuckian Dr. Dundiff and his hip-hop beats for the silky, groovy "When It's Sweet".


Lars and the Magic Mountain's "Invincible" Is a Shoegazey, Dreamy Delight (premiere)

Dutch space pop/psychedelic band Lars and the Magic Mountain share the dreamy and gorgeous "Invincible".


What 'O Brother, Where Art Thou?' Gets Right (and Wrong) About America

Telling the tale of the cyclops through the lens of high and low culture, in O'Brother, Where Art Thou? the Coens hammer home a fatalistic criticism about the ways that commerce, violence, and cosmetic Christianity prevail in American society .


Alexander Wren's "The Earth Is Flat" Wryly Looks at Lost Love (premiere + interview)

Singer-songwriter Alexander Wren's "The Earth Is Flat" is a less a flat-earther's anthem and more a wry examination of heartache.


Big Little Lions' "Distant Air" Is a Powerful Folk-Anthem (premiere)

Folk-pop's Big Little Lions create a powerful anthem with "Distant Air", a song full of sophisticated pop hooks, smart dynamics, and killer choruses.


The Flat Five Invite You to "Look at the Birdy" (premiere)

Chicago's the Flat Five deliver an exciting new single that exemplifies what some have called "twisted sunshine vocal pop".


Brian Bromberg Pays Tribute to Hendrix With "Jimi" (premiere + interview)

Bass giant Brian Bromberg revisits his 2012 tribute to Jimi Hendrix 50 years after his passing, and reflects on the impact Hendrix's music has had on generations.

Jedd Beaudoin

Shirley Collins' ​'Heart's Ease'​ Affirms Her Musical Prowess

Shirley Collins' Heart's Ease makes it apparent these songs do not belong to her as they are ownerless. Collins is the conveyor of their power while ensuring the music maintains cultural importance.


Ignorance, Fear, and Democracy in America

Anti-intellectualism in America is, sadly, older than the nation itself. A new collection of Richard Hofstadter's work from Library of America traces the history of ideas and cultural currents in American society and politics.

By the Book

Democratizing Our Data: A Manifesto (excerpt)

Just as big tech leads world in data for profit, the US government can produce data for the public good, sans the bureaucracy. This excerpt of Julia Lane's Democratizing Our Data: A Manifesto will whet your appetite for disruptive change in data management, which is critical for democracy's survival.

Julia Lane

Collapse Expand Reviews

Collapse Expand Features

PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.