Jak and Daxter. Ratchet and Clank. Each platforming hero got by with a little help from his friends... until now. Jak has decided to go solo with, of all genres, a racing game. And Ratchet decided to follow suit by trading in his metallic minion for some bigger 'bots.
Having just saved the universe in Up Your Arsenal, our heroic lombax has definitely earned some R&R. But nobody told that to Gleeman Vox, who apparently read The Running Man and decided to kidnap heroes to compete in deathmatch-style combat. With the titular deadlock collar around his furry neck and poised to explode at any moment, Ratchet has no choice but to fight his way to freedom.
Other than a little help from Clank and Al in the cut scenes, the latest Ratchet game seems to separate itself from the rest of the series. Don't despair, though--the quirky humor remains well intact this time around. Vox, a trashy TV network, covers DreadZone (the show you've made an involuntary guest appearance on), and the attempts by the two announcers to malign the good name of our hero always keeps battles lively. I can still remember a huge grin spreading across my face when they accused Ratchet of hating "puppies, chocolate, and endangered species."
Without Clank to assist with acrobatics, Deadlocked has become more-or-less a straightforward action game. Some of the more outlandish weapons have been removed in lieu of the new modification system--each firearm can be tweaked to freeze enemies, brainwash them, or... morph them into explosive barnyard animals. There is an assortment of vehicles, but if you ask me they can't hold a candle to the fantastic weapon system.
Even after finishing, I still marvel at just how fun this game was. (Not a common occurrence for someone who plays as many games as I do.) Sure, you'll finish in about 8 hours on normal difficulty, and the plot isn't much more than an excuse to make some (genuinely humorous) gags. But what there is looks, sounds, and plays like a dream. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend Ratchet: Deadlocked to anyone.
NOTE: I wasn't able to experiment with (what I understand to be) the rather extensive multiplayer mode--that could add a lot of replay value.
Ratchet: Deadlocked is rated T (Teen) by the ESRB for Fantasy Violence and Mild Language.