Secret Agent Clank
Oops. This review got lost in our 'system'. Sorry, Sony. And Ian.
It only took about three years for them to do it, but they've finally ripped off the formula of taking the secondary character from a partnership and giving them their own game on PSP, a la Daxter. This time, if you couldn't figure it out from the title - Secret Agent Clank - it's the turn of Clank - erstwhile partner of the wisecracking Lombax, Ratchet.
I say 'erstwhile' - he probably is still Ratchet's partner. Maybe in a gay way. But the two most recent R&C games have seen the partnership split up. Hence, I'm sticking with that wonderful word.
Imagine everything you would expect from a game starring just Clank but with the prefix 'Secret Agent' attached to it and you'll probably have come up with exactly what the game is. Unless you're either an idiot or have an imagination far too wild to be considered normal. Whatever 'normal' is.
Yes, it' a platformer and it plays pretty much exactly how all the levels in previous R&C games where you took control of Clank played. So he has a natty little costume, does some robo-kung fu (alright: Clank-Fu) and has the disgusting addition of stealth elements, but aside from these elements it's the same thing again, again, again, again. Again.
Well, that's a lie. It initially seems to be the same thing again again again again etc, but actually ends up being a surprisingly fun romp, taking in Clank, Ratchet and the ever-comical Captain Qwark on their own little adventures. It therefore does manage to mix things up just enough to keep it interesting, even if it isn't particularly fresh.
And that's about all there is to the game. But hey, shut up: it's still a laugh.
The normal levels are functional, and while they do err on the wrong side of repetitive a fair bit of the time - and while they may employ (admittedly optional) stealth - it's still an enjoyable waste of time. The numerous minigames thrown in throughout serve to mix things up, the gadgets add new elements to play, the blah adds blah and the blah blah blah. It's just what you'd expect - nothing more, nothing less. Pretty much the epitome of a seven on ten.
Case in point: there is a story to the whole thing, and it does weave itself quite nicely around the experience - never bothering to get in the way too much, though some cutscenes feel a little superfluous. It's a lot of blah blah bullshit and is easily ignored, so I suggest you go ahead and ignore it. Just watch out for the comedy bits that can actually be quite funny. Though maybe not as smart as they assume they are. Oh well.
What else can be said then? Technical aspects? Oh go on then. It looks just as good as Ratchet and Clank: Size Matters did on PSP all those years ago, which means 'it looks nice', it sounds as you would expect - good enough but through shitty little PSP speakers, with all the voice talent present and accounted for... umm... there's something else surely? Ah, loading times - they're reasonable, but can be annoying, especially on your launch PSP that struggles with UMDs a lot, but that's hardly a fair criticism.