Review by horror_spooky

Reviewed: 06/07/12

The Spinoff is Not Enough

Some of the best PSP games are ports of console series that have found a way to expand their legacy in a handheld form. Games like God of War: Chains of Olympus and Daxter are fine examples of spinoffs done right, and both are spectacular adventures that are brilliantly crafted, even without the aid of the studios that cultivated those franchises. Secret Agent Clank, unfortunately, is an example of a spinoff done wrong.

Secret Agent Clank has an interesting premise, but it's not made entirely clear if what happens in the game is actually happening, or just a part of the Secret Agent Clank TV show. There are events that contradict both possibilities, making the game feel like a hollow and meaningless entry in the series. But like I said, the premise is interesting. Players control the titular Clank and his quests across the galaxy, but there are two other characters that are followed as well. For one, there's Ratchet, whose been sent to prison for a crime he didn't commit, and has to fight in a serious of arenas, just like the arenas in the console games. And finally, there's Captain Qwark, who is having an autobiography written about him, and gets to go around to various locations and fabricate stories that you, as the player, get to experience!

It was a good idea, it's just executed poorly and paced oddly. The Clank portions make up the larger part of the game, but these are the least enjoyable parts. He's supposed to be the main character, but his platforming segment are mostly boring and uninteresting. His gadgets are a hassle to use effectively, and the stealth segments are just a pain. It's not even fun controlling the little bots any more because the controls feel convoluted and are difficult to work with. The Ratchet segments are fun, but it saddens me that they don't have a platforming focus. They're just rehashes of the "arena" levels in the console games. Those are fun, and it is fun, but it's nothing new. Qwark was amusing and his levels were often imaginative, but they lacked strong continuity between them to make them anything worth investing in.

Graphical issues like clipping plague Secret Agent Clank. There's a grainy look to a lot of the characters, with jagged edges around them. I feel like this game was most obviously rushed, with a lot of weak textures and boring, cramped, lifeless environments making up the levels. It's not the ugliest game in the world, but the PSP can do better. Daxter is evident of that. The voice acting is fine, and the music is okay as well.

Secret Agent Clank is a blemish on the Ratchet & Clank legacy. It's poorly made, and it's probably the first game in the series that can be considered outright bad. Thankfully, the franchise would recover in later entries and redeem itself, but Secret Agent Clank is truly a shame.

Rating:   3.0 - Fair

Product Release: Secret Agent Clank (US, 09/30/09)

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