Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart is a brilliant experience. To wit: I played the single-player campaign to 100 percent completion in a matter of days. After the credits rolled, I immediately dove back in for a second playthrough, because the game lets you keep all of your weapons and collectibles from the prior playthrough, and it gives you additional weapons and weapon upgrades on top of that. It also increases the challenge; everything hurts more, but at least now, you have the firepower to fight it. And now that you know what to expect out of this game, you can take a moment to appreciate how beautiful and composed it is.
One of the meta discussions around a new console is whether its early games constitute a true “next-generation” experience. In the case of Nintendo—which has a new playstyle, controller, and gimmick with every new console—this is a relatively easy distinction to make. But in the case of Sony—which has marketed its new consoles for the past 25 years as “just like the last one, but better”—it’s hard to pinpoint the exact moment when players can say, definitively, “We’re in next-gen territory.”
It’ll take several more years to hit the proverbial ceiling; the console-defining games tend to drop at the end of a generation. But when we talk about the PlayStation 5 years from now, Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart might be considered the console’s first “great” exclusive—a game that flexes and shows what the PS5 is capable of. The opening sequence, which also serves as a tutorial, depicts Ratchet and Clank at a celebration, honoring them for saving the universe several times over.