At a little more than 11 hours of gameplay, I find myself finishing up Ratchet and Clank Future: A Crack in Time on Hard Mode. For such a build-up with the previous game and mini-episode in between, I found the story to be shorter than I expected. Perhaps I was so eager to play a lot that I simply breezed through the game without knowing.
Despite all this, game itself is still a wonderful, weapon-filled experience - which is what anyone who's a fan of the series would come to expect. So, let's just put aside the fun of leveling up weapons that do massive damage to everyone on the screen for one second and highlight the other aspects that make the game worth your time.
Travelling from planet to planet usually just meant selecting your destination, and then you're into the next level - no flying in-between. Even if there were, it would be a rails-on shooter, similar to Star Fox. But even then, adjusting the altitude to the right height to land your shots were troublesome.
In this latest Ratchet and Clank game, however, they've decided to return the outer space travel, minus the altitude. What's left is a fun space-shooter between levels, without the mess of aligning your shot. All you have is your boost or break, and a simple 180-degree turn, and that's all. And each region is its own isolated galaxy, so you're not overwhelmed by a humongous sandbox of planets.
The concept of caching multiple versions of yourself to pass levels is nothing spectacularly new in games, but to see it integrated into this game is a nice pleasant escape from the constant shooting and blowing up of objects. Sure, it's a more elaborate version of the typical Clank mini-missions of previous games, but to give him a weapon which reverses damage of objects back to their original state only gives him a little more depth into his missions as well as his character.
Sure, you can play A Crack in Time by itself, having never played Tools of Destruction, Quest for Booty, or even Up Your Arsenal where the villian makes his first appearance. But you would deprive yourself on a well-told story that the gameplay drives so well. And really, without the story, this would be a mindless shoot-em-up game that no one would play at all.
As of this posting, I've clocked in at least another 5 hours of extra gameplay into the game, and have yet tried the Challenge Mode for a greater challenge. And a small glitchy bug in the game's preventing me from cashing in on one trophy. Other than that, the game is worth the time and money to play. I highly recommend it!