Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart review for PC

Platform: PC
Also on: PS5
Publisher: PlayStation PC
Developer: Insomniac Games/Nixxes Software
Medium: Digital
Players: 1
Online: No
ESRB: E10+

My initial reaction to playing Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart on PC was one of disappointment. I’d played it a little on PS5, but I was eager to play it on the Steam Deck (since, as far as I’m concerned, games are always better when they’re on a handheld). I started it up…then stared at a black screen for a few minutes. Tried again, another black screen. Then again, and I got the Sony logo before the black screen. After about a half-dozen tries, I finally got the game started, at which point I became hugely underwhelmed. Ratchet ambled slowly from one point to another, everything was blurry, the camera didn’t want to follow where I was going, and no matter what weapon I used, I could practically see the projectiles moving frame by frame. I knew how the game was supposed to look based on my brief exposure to it on PS5, and this wasn’t it.

And that, dear reader, is why you should always install big games directly to your hard drive, rather than trying to run them off an SD card. It’s one of those things that everyone knows – but, in my defense, I can kind of be an idiot sometimes.

In any case, once the game was moved from my SD card to my hard drive, it ran fine. Not flawlessly, but good enough that I could play it as it was intended. I imagine most people already know that, but if you’re wondering why Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart is barely working on your Steam Deck, there’s a likely cause.

Mind you, as I said, it’s not perfect, which is my one – admittedly limited to the Steam Deck – criticism of Rift Apart. While it mostly looks fine, there are definitely moments where it lags or where it looks a little fuzzy that detract from the overall package. It’s not as noticeable as, say, Ghostwire:Tokyo, but if you’re looking for the one flaw with the PC port of Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart, that’s clearly it.

Otherwise, this is the same exceptional game that graced the PS5 back in 2021. It has all the fun weapons and gadgets that have always featured prominently in the series, with the added bonus of making upgrading a breeze (at least on lower difficulty settings). What’s more, Rift Apart’s biggest innovation on this front – the Rift Tether, which allows you to zip across huge distances instantaneously – fits in perfectly with the series’ overall vibe. It feels like a natural part of Ratchet & Clank, and it’s hopefully something that returns in future games – even if those rifts are an integral part of this particular game’s plot.

And speaking of the plot: in some respects, Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart is arguably the most interesting game of the series. It spends a huge chunk of time exploring what a Ratchet & Clank game is like when you don’t have the titular duo together. Admittedly, each of them find a new partner who feels awfully similar to their regular partner – and the upgrades for Rivet, the female lombax that Clank pairs up with, even carry over to Ratchet, and vice versa – but still, it’s fascinating to watch a series that was once typified by juvenile puns in its game titles embrace a fuller range of emotions.

Not that being more emotional and being fun are mutually exclusive – as Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart proves time and again. As the series enters into its third (!!!) decade, this PC port is a fine way to show that the Ratchet and Clank are still compelling characters, and even if there are a few points where it feels like the game could use a little more polish in terms of performance, they can’t take away the fact that Rift Apart is an outstanding game.

PlayStation PC provided us with a Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart PC code for review purposes.

Grade: A-