Ratchet: Deadlocked

In this latest installment of the Ratchet and Clank series, our heroes are captured while uncovering the mystery behind the disappearance of several other famous heroes. They discover that the missing heroes (including themselves) have been abducted by a deranged media mogul named Gleeman Vox, who intends to use them as contestants on an underground reality combat show hosted in the lawless sector of the universe.

The game starts out with a tutorial during which you'll learn the common controls. And then it's off into the "unethical and completely underground battle sport". Each battle involves entering an arena and fighting against combat robots. You are flanked by your own combat robots and you have some squad based control at your disposal. Destroy the robots in one arena and a gateway opens to the next arena. Each arena is progressively more difficult.

Gameplay is pretty solid with non-stop combat. Ratchet can modify any weapon, which leads to an almost unlimited number of possible weapons and effects. The variation in weaponry is interesting because it affects the way that robot foes are destroyed. Graphics are pretty straightforward. Nothing is all that complex, which is good because it keeps the frame rate up during the insane battle sequences.

Multiplayer gameplay is a blast. All of the single player levels are available for multiplayer use, whether in co-op or some other mode. Co-op requires a lot of communication to lay down crossfires and cut the enemy to shredded hunks of smoking metal. Up to 10 players can compete online in a variety of game modes ranging from deathmatch to king of the hill to conquest.

While this is no Quake 4, it is a lot of fun. It's more like Quake Arena without so much gore. I enjoy playing Ratchet: Deadlocked, although having to jump from platform to platform between arenas bores me. But the frenetic combat and cool weapons (and bloodlust) keep me coming back for more.

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