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Review: Secret Agent Clank

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Now before starting this review I should let you all know that this game is a port. It was originally released as a PSP game last summer, which I have not played. Therefore, I won’t be reviewing the game as a port, but as if it had originally been released on the PS2.

In Secret Agent Clank you play as Clank (didn’t see that one coming did we?), the lovable little robot from the Ratchet & Clank series. It all begins when Ratchet is caught attempting to steal an extremely valuable jewel by the name of ‘The Eye of Infinity’, eventually he ends up triggering an alarm and getting hauled off to jail. Now if you’re thinking to yourself “well this doesn’t sound like Ratchet at all”, you’re right. Ratchet appears to be under some sort of mind-control that reverses as soon as he is jailed. Clank has witnessed Ratchet’s attempted thievery, and must now get to the bottom of his partner’s recently acquired schizophrenia. Don’t expect any Mass Effect type storyline here.

Secret Agent Clank really isn’t all that different from any of the other Ratchet & Clank games. You do posses some typical secret agent gadgets and abilities (tie-a-rangs, an ink blotter for security lasers, and your ‘Stealth Takedowns’ just to name a few), but aside from that the gameplay doesn’t really feel any different at all. There are also a trio of mini-games where you control Captain Qwark (annoying), Ratchet (boring), and three mini-Clank’s so to speak (actually kind of fun). All of these “destroy everything you can” mini-games take away from the game’s overall spy feel, which wasn’t very present to begin with.

The game is also very repetitive. Throughout most of the game you’ll find yourself sneaking up behind guards and inputting a series of 4 buttons again and again. Oh, and there’s also the rhythm sequence which lasts much longer than it should (because every game needs a rhythm sequence these days it seems).

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Graphics-wise, well, what do you expect? Granted the game did look pretty cool on the Tokyo-esque level, but that was about it. The visuals are awkward and are definitely not going to wow any of the hungry graphics-hyenas that are out there in today’s gamer population. Also, I witnessed some of the worst slow-down I have ever seen while playing the Captain Qwark parts of the game.

So the year is 2009, video games have been around for decades. Why is it, then, that a successful camera angle system is so hard to pull off? You’ll often find yourself looking in the direction you don’t want to, and when entering a room full of enemies things really get bad. The enemies all chase you of course, but the camera is so close to Clank’s back that you can’t see a single one. This is where I decide to button-mash like a 5 year old playing  Mortal Kombat 3 for the first time, usually with limited success.

The sound is probably one of the better parts of the game. All the voice actors from the other games in the series return for Secret Agent Clank, and they don’t disappoint. The music itself isn’t that bad either. I enjoyed some of the groovy spy agent themes, but they don’t get stuck in your head.

In closing, Secret Agent Clank is a PS2 port of a PSP game in 2009. It’s not god awful, but it isn’t anything jawdropping either. Usual Ratcher and Clank gameplay + spy gadgets + disappointing mini-games – spy feel = 3 stars out of 5.

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