Games

TWiG 2008-08-18: Ratchet and Clank - The Faces of Sony?

New releases for the week of 2008-08-18

While I'm not the type of person who subscribes to the idea that a gaming system or company has to have a mascot to survive, it certainly doesn't hurt. Despite its tremendous stable of long-running characters, Mario will always be identified as the true symbol of Nintendo. Sega, for better (the '90s) or worse (the '00s), will always have Sonic standing at the forefront of its stable of games (maybe the angry fella at the center of MadWorld can take over next year). At one point, Sony had Crash Bandicoot out front, but his star has lost a bit of its luster over the last 10 years or so. So who's taken over in the Sony stable?

Some might say that the torch bearer of the Sony brand has now become Solid Snake of the Metal Gear Solid series, and that's not a bad guess -- Snake's current incarnation of the old man showing the kids how things are done seems particularly à propos for the place that Sony is attempting to take in the modern gaming market. Still, no series has offered the sort of consistency and quality (not to mention a whole pile of releases) as Ratchet & Clank. The two of them combined may well be the current face(s) of Sony; immense firepower, copious cunning, and Ratchet's ever-present smirk seem as though they would serve Sony well, if Sony were ever to push them to the front of a marketing campaign. They're even kid-friendly, at least in image, which would help the company cut into the Wii family market. Are you listening, Sony? Everyone who was going to buy the PS3 because it's also a Blu-Ray player has already bought the thing. It's time to shift your target.

The Ratchet & Clank series is relevant right now, because the latest iteration of the series is on its way this Thursday as a PlayStation Network download. I've spent a lot of time this month extolling the virtues of the Xbox Live Arcade, so it's almost as if it only seems fair that I would highlight a PlayStation Network game this week; Ratchet & Clank surely gets the nod over an(other) updated version of Galaga no matter what the updates to the latter.

Ratchet & Clank Future: Quest for Booty isn't so much a new game as it is an episode in the mythology of the duo. as it's only a three-to-four-hour game. Still, despite the short length, the consensus so far is that it continues the traditionally consistent and engrossing experience of its predecessors, and that anyone who still likes to play the old pseudo-platforming action/adventure style of game will be richly rewarded by the game, even if the high won't last all that long.

Too Human: Baldur vs. the Spider-Thing

Elsewhere, the ever-controversial Too Human is on its way this Tuesday, a game whose controversy stems not from any objectionable content, but from the tremendous length of its development cycle. Advance word says that the roundabout way that it eventually came to be may have hurt the play experience, but it still seems like an interesting (and graphically impressive) enough experience to warrant a look, even if it might be destined for bargain bins sooner than later. Deadliest Catch: Alaskan Storm makes its weekly appearance on the PC release schedule (perhaps it's time to let it go...), and hey! It's Anibus, for the Wii, which surely must be a...sequel? Prequel? Who knows? But chances are, it has something to do with last year's shovelware stink fest Anubis II. So there's that.

Looking forward to anything else this week? The full release list, and a trailer for Quest for Booty, are after the jump.

Wii:

Super Pick Ups (19 August)

Anibus (21 August)

Xbox 360:

Smash Court Tennis 3 (19 August)

Too Human (19 August)

Galaga Legions (Xbox Live Arcade, 20 August)

PS3:

Ratchet & Clank Future: Quest for Booty (21 August)

DS:

Commando: Steel Disaster (19 August)

PC:

Deadliest Catch: Alaskan Storm (19 August)

Shattered Suns (19 August)

MindHabits (20 August)

Dracula 3: Path of the Dragon (21 August)

Sinking Island (21 August)

Tank Universal: Challenger Eight (21 August)

PS2:

We can wait 'til next week.

PSP:

Not today, son.


Music

Books

Film

Recent
Film

'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.

Music

'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!"

Music

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.

Music

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.

Music

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.

Music

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".

Music

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
Music

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.

9
Books

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
Film

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 .

Music

Mobley Laments the Evil of "James Crow" in the US

Austin's Mobley makes upbeat-sounding, soulful pop-rock songs with a political conscience, as on his latest single, "James Crow".

Music

Jordan Tice's "Bad Little Idea" Is a Satirical Spin on Dire Romance (premiere)

Hawktail's Jordan Tice impresses with his solo work on "Bad Little Idea", a folk rambler that blends bluesy undertones with satiric wit.

Music

Composer Ilan Eshkeri Discusses His Soundtrack for the 'Ghost of Tsushima' Game

Having composed for blockbuster films and ballet, Ilan Eshkeri discusses how powerful emotional narratives and the opportunity for creative freedom drew him to triple-A video game Ghost of Tsushima.

Film

Love and Cinema: The Ruinous Lives in Żuławski's L'important c'est d'aimer

Żuławski's world of hapless also-rans in L'important C'est D'aimer is surveyed with a clear and compassionate eye. He has never done anything in his anarchic world by the halves.

Books

On Bruce Springsteen's Music in Film and TV

Bruce Springsteen's music in film and television captured author Caroline Madden's imagination. She discuses her book, Springsteen as Soundtrack, and other things Springsteen in this interview.

Music

Alt-pop's merci, mercy Warns We May "Fall Apart"

Australian alt-pop singer-songwriter, merci, mercy shares a video for her catchy, sophisticated anthem, "Fall Apart".

Film

Tears in Rain: 'Blade Runner' and Philip K. Dick's Legacy in Film

Blade Runner, and the work of Philip K. Dick, continues to find its way into our cinemas and minds. How did the visions of a paranoid loner become the most relevant science fiction of our time?


Reviews
Collapse Expand Reviews



Features
Collapse Expand Features

PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

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