RATCHET AND CLANK was easily my favorite PlayStation 2 game last year (ok, not so easily, SLY COOPER was pretty fantastic). It was to my utter delight when I found out off the record on a trip to see WAR OF THE MONSTERS that RATCHET 2 would be hitting a year after the original game. While at first gamers might have worries about the sequel, GOING COMMANDO, just being a cheap imitation of the original. Fortunately, this is not the case.
I'll spare you the specific story details, but essentially, Ratchet and Clank are dried-up heroes. They desperately need something to do, instead of sitting around watching reruns and opening fast food restaurants. An opportunity comes calling for the two to be the heroes of another galaxy, and they head out.
The same basic theory applies. Lots of guns, lots of gadgets, paths you can't attempt without certain gadgets, all the good stuff from the first game. What makes RATCHET AND CLANK 2: GOING COMMANDO so awesome though is the fact that as Ratchet gains experience (and with it, health), the weapons in the game also gain experience (and with that, badass-ness).
One of my biggest complaints with the first game is that essentially the ratchet was the only weapon you needed for a large majority of it. Sure the weapons were useful, but it just seemed like a hassle to use them at times. No more. With the need to grow your weapons into more powerful ones, plus the enemies that have hundreds of hit points and can wipe out your health in a couple hits, the weapons are critical this time around.
In addition to that, there are a few other new additions. The coolest of these is the spherical worlds and ship upgrades. There are plenty of flight missions, and by obtaining the raretanium in the game you can purchase upgrades for your ship. There are also spherical worlds, which are essentially worlds that are a sphere and endless horizon. While they don't add much to the gameplay, they are a cool technical achievement.
The game maintains the humor from before, and many of the cutscenes are laugh out loud funny. Also, there is a challenge mode that allows you to earn a ton of bolts and buy even more weapon upgrades. You haven't experienced bliss until you have fully powered up Ratchet's full arsenal.
My only minor complaint with the game was that the "macrodesign" as described by Insomniac President Ted Price, wasn't nearly as present in GOING COMMANDO. You didn't hop back and forth from planet to planet, exploring different areas. You basically stuck to one at a time. It made the game feel a bit more linear than the previous incarnate.
From a graphical perspective, Insomniac continues to amaze me with their vibrant worlds that just explode with color. The animation is top-notch and the weapon effects are also excellent. There are few complaints about the game and the overall visual style is amazing.
The sound is also quite good, great sound effects, music, and voice acting. Insomniac has mastered the technical craft of game making, and RATCHET AND CLANK 2 shows this.
While I have a few minor complaints, GOING COMMANDO is one of the best PlayStation 2 games of the year. Go get your Black Sheep Gun now.