Ratchet & Clank: Full Frontal Assault (PlayStation 3) review: Ratchet & Clank: Full Frontal Assault (PlayStation 3)

The Good Weapons are fun to use
Good deal of tactical flexibility allows for exciting comebacks
League system does a fine job of matching you with appropriate opponents

The Bad Short, insubstantial campaign
Only one competitive multiplayer mode

The Bottom Line Ratchet & Clank: Full Frontal Assault's one and only competitive multiplayer mode is an enjoyable blend of action and tactics.

7.0 Overall

Following in the footsteps of last year's All 4 One, Ratchet and Clank continue their foray into multiplayer-focused action with Full Frontal Assault. There isn't a whole lot to this game; it's narrow in scope and priced accordingly. Here, the focus is on competitive multiplayer, and the one and only such mode requires you to balance making tactical decisions with blasting lots of things to smithereens. These two elements form a fast-paced whole that rewards your reflexes and your smarts.

6401065He who controls the nodes controls the bolts. He who controls the bolts can buy more stuff.None

Playing Full Frontal Assault's competitive multiplayer either one-on-one or two-on-two, your goal is to destroy the six generators in your opponent's base while ensuring that at least one of your own generators survives. Play revolves through three phases--a node-capturing phase, a defense- and squad-purchasing phase, and an assault phase.

During the first phase, called recon, you zip across the map, enjoyably aided by rocket boosters on the soles of your boots. Nodes around the battlefield are guarded by meager defenses; by defeating those forces, you can claim the nodes as your own. Of course, during this time, your opponent is also racing to claim nodes, and may even try to take nodes that belong to you. Capturing nodes rewards you with weapons for your hero, and more importantly, each node you currently control pays out a steady stream of bolts over time.

Those bolts start coming in handy once the squad phase begins. During this phase, you can spend the bolts you've got coming in on base defenses--turrets, barriers, mines, and so on--and on forces that assault the enemy base. Do you pour all your bolts into trying to build a nigh-impregnable fortress? Do you go on the offensive, trying to overwhelm your opponent in the early stages? Or do you hedge your bets? During the first few rounds, your supply of bolts isn't great, but nodes gradually dish out more bolts as games progress, ensuring that battles escalate over time.

He who controls the nodes controls the bolts. He who controls the bolts can buy more stuff.

If your opponent secured more nodes than you during the previous recon phase, it's not easy to come back from a big bolt deficit, but it's not impossible, either. There's no rule that says you have to spend your entire squad phase in your base. You can't capture nodes during this time, but you can whittle away at the defenses on your opponent's nodes, making them quick and easy to take when the next recon phase begins and setting the stage for a possible comeback. While some battles are one-sided affairs that end in a quick and decisive victory, others have an exciting ebb and flow as players vie for dominance. There are enough tactical options available to you and your opponent to allow for a good deal of unpredictability and some sudden and surprising shifts in momentum.

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