- Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart came out on PC with a very lackluster reception.
- Factors like poor marketing on the part of Sony and the franchise’s lack of presence on the system, steep pricing, a competitive launch window, and considerable PC port performance issues contributed to the game’s weak launch.
- Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart was a truly brilliant adventure and a magnificent showcase of PS5’s capabilities; it doesn’t deserve this neglect.
PlayStation‘s brilliant exclusives; Sony had them and everyone wanted them. PC gamers would give anything to see them ported, and thus, Sony’s decision to release PC ports was a pretty huge deal for the gaming community. Then, why is it that when some lesser-known exclusives got the chance to gather more recognition and appreciation, they were blatantly turned away?
On the one hand, we have a critical demand for PS exclusives on PC, and on the other, some of the deserving titles are ignored when they do make their way to the platform. This contradiction has some integral reasons behind it like poor marketing practices. It claimed the lives of truly brilliant gems like Returnal earlier this year and now Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart. The game was undoubtedly a splendid adventure, yet couldn’t reach the recognition it deserves.
Sony’s Weak Marketing Strategies
Whenever selling something, be it video games or any other entertainment media, it is important to raise awareness among potential customers and let them know a particular product is coming with some exciting features. This is what Sony failed to do and both Returnal and Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart became a victim of poor marketing. Most gamers weren’t even aware the games are coming to PC, or what they were about.
For Returnal, a pretty good connection could’ve been made to the classic bullet hell genre pretty popular on PC, with games like Ikaruga, Enter the Gungeon and Risk of Rain. Word of mouth became a saving grace for Returnal. In the case of Rift Apart, the situation is a bit different. Exceptional games they may be, 3D platformers like Ratchet and Clank have a lot less presence on PC compared to the other mainstream genres, and thus they have a smaller fanbase on the platform.
Before releasing Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart on PC, I think it would have been better to build hype for it first. An excellent approach would have been to release the prior Ratchet and Clank games as a collection on PC and gauge its reception. These games were a good entry point and would attract an audience, while also establishing the series’ presence on the platform, setting the stage for Rift Apart’s demand and eventual release.
For a series that’s practically non-existent on PC and PC-only gamers are unaware of it, you’re releasing the most recent part of it for players with no prior knowledge. Moreover, it comes out rather quietly with no effective marketing strategy to attract new audiences. Isn’t that a very foolish thing to do? In addition, it releases with a full price tag, which brings us to the next problem; pricing.
Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart is a two-year-old game that players with access to both platforms can get cheaper on the PS5, and PC players that don’t even know about the series would never spend a full $59.99 just to try it. I think this steep price tag hurt the game’s reception the most. Full price shouldn’t be charged for an old game, and since you’re trying to appeal to a new audience, a more attractive price would’ve helped a lot.
Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart is great on PC, but at $60 for a 10 hour story, it's not as easy to recommend as we'd like. https://t.co/ad9nleM2Vv
— PC Gamer (@pcgamer) August 1, 2023
Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart Came At The Wrong Time
Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart’s marketing and pricing issues become a lot more apparent due to its competitive launch window. We have Exoprimal; Capcom and Dinosaurs back together, and Remnant 2; one of the most awaited releases, vastly improving upon the original. First, let’s look at Exoprimal. It’s a good game but suffers the same pricing issues as Rift Apart. However, Game Pass became a Godsend in this case.
Being on Game Pass facilitated it to quickly reach a million players. Next up is Remnant 2, which was released just a day before Rift Apart. With vast improvements over the original and a highly refined formula, Remnant 2 managed to top the charts because of its quality. Rift Apart neither had a cheaper option, nor a prior title to build recognition and demand, which resulted in the game receiving a lackluster reception.
Another important aspect that hindered its reception is that it was the wrong game to be ported in the eyes of fans. It’s because PlayStation has a huge number of highly popular and sought-after-exclusives that lesser-known gems like Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart become a target of unnecessary bias by gamers. After all, it got a PC port and their favorite games did not.
What most fans demand are games like Bloodborne, Ghost of Tsushima, and Demon Souls Remake to be released on PC. Don’t get me wrong I’m not against these games coming to PC and would certainly be delighted if they do, but that is no reason to belittle and undermine exceptional games like Rift Apart. It’s better to issue appreciation where it’s due.
Rift Apart’s PC Port Needed More Polish
It seems when it rains, it pours, as the exceptional game’s PC problems do not stop there. One of the most critical issues faced by Rift Apart is the broken PC port. This has become a recurring problem and many recent games suffered from bad ports, despite being excellent titles. The Last of Us, Star Wars Jedi: Survivor, were all damaged ports and honestly, it is quite a worrisome sign for PC gamers.
For some of Rift Apart’s problems, Sony and Insomniac’s incoherent marketing is to blame. Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart was an excellent showcase of PS5’s true capabilities, especially the powerful SSD which facilitated the game’s seamless Rift travel; an integral part of the experience. It was repeatedly stressed that the game was only possible because of PS5’s SSD.
Yet, when the system requirements for the PC port were released, we saw a contradiction as supposedly the game could run on an HDD too, owing to DirectStorage 1.2, which speeds up transfer from storage and utilizes the faster GPU decompression to process game assets much quicker than the CPU. We were quite happy to hear Rift Apart is the first game implementing the 1.2 version. Reality struck like lightning again as the game struggles a lot without an SSD on PC.
If the game couldn’t run without an SSD, why was it advertised otherwise? And if it could, why wasn’t it better implemented? This question plagued many fans and was one of the reasons for the game’s poor reception. If only this was the only problem; at least the solution is possible for this issue. The game’s highly problematic PC port, however, is something not so easily fixed.
Alongside the marked differences between the PS5 and PC versions’ loading times, even on SSD, the game becomes quite unplayable due to its many performance issues. It struggles to maintain fps at high settings despite running on high-end systems. Along come the frequent crashes and glitches that completely ruin the delightful experience the game was supposed to bring, and have disappointed fans.
Ratchet And Clank: Rift Apart Is A Genuinely Fun Game Facing Unfortunate Circumstances
To be honest, I was quite heartbroken to see one of my favorite PS exclusives becoming the victim of such poor strategies. These problems aside, the game is indeed a blast to play through and is an epic journey PC players should never miss. The iconic Ratchet and Clank duo is back in action in the most visually impressive display of the series yet. In addition, the game brings another duo into the fray; Rivet and Kit.
This dynamic between Ratchet and Rivet is the game’s highlight, presenting a meaningful story. Along comes the series’ trademark of bonkers weapons, transforming enemies into plants or making them dance. The 3D platformer shooter is just loads of fun, and the experience is vividly enhanced by the glorious rift system that allows a seamless transition and switch between worlds in a brilliant fashion.
Regrettably, this epic adventure is currently flying under everyone’s radar because of a lack of preparation. Certain integral factors should have been considered, like how the last game in the series shouldn’t be released to break the ice, its release window should be carefully considered, and since the game lacks a presence on the platform, make it known with effective marketing outside of just PlayStation blog posts.
I believe it’s still not too late for damage control. The first thing is to fix the PC port which looks like it still needed some time. Give it the polish and refinement it deserves. Next is to consider bringing the series as a whole to the platform to bolster its recognition among the player base. Lastly, consider raising awareness for more obscure PS exclusives that deserve the spotlight, and build hype for them before considering a release. I hope this magnificent gem gets the popularity it so rightfully deserves.
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