The Ratchet & Clank series has been around for almost two decades now. In that time, it’s grown from a simple action-platforming series to one of the biggest PlayStation exclusive franchises around. Naturally, many players are eager to jump in on the action, but not everyone knows where to start. Luckily for you, this guide will explain how many Ratchet & Clank games there are, which ones to play first, the order to play them in, and which games are considered the best.
How many Ratchet & Clank games are there total?
There are 17 Ratchet & Clank games total. The series includes 14 core Ratchet & Clank games, two mobile spin-offs, one DC Comics mini-series, and one remastered collection for the PS3.
What’s more, nearly all of the games in the series released exclusively for PlayStation consoles. The exceptions to this rule are Going Mobile, released for the J2ME platform, and Before the Nexus, which released for iOS and Android mobile devices.
It’s also worth mentioning that the series’ two PlayStation Portable games — Size Matters and Secret Agent Clank — were not developed by Insomniac Studios. However, Insomniac has confirmed that the stories in both games are considered canon in the Ratchet & Clank timeline. As such, they are counted among the series’ core releases.
Which Ratchet & Clank should I play first?
To get the most out of the series’ storyline, it’s best to play the first Ratchet & Clank game first. From there, the story follows a mostly direct path all the way through the latest release, Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart.
We say a “mostly” direct path because there’s one exception to this rule, and it involves Ratchet & Clank (2016) for the PlayStation 4. This game is a “reimagining” of the very first Ratchet & Clank game, which is to say it follows the original story closely. However, the 2016 version introduces characters, story elements, gear, and weapons that otherwise weren’t available until later games were released.
As such, either Ratchet & Clank game, from 2002 or from 2016, serves as a fine place to start the series. The catch is that you could get confused starting with the 2016 version, since it includes weapons, tools, and characters that weren’t available in the original release. Plus, jumping from the 2016 release to Going Commando from 2003 will be jarring due to the noticeable downgrade in graphics and control. To play it safe, it’s best to begin with the very first game.
Is there an order to play Ratchet & Clank games?
If you want to play all the Ratchet & Clank games in order, simply play through them all chronologically. The story begins with the first game and ends with Rift Apart, the latest release.
There’s a lot to soak in, but if you’re ready to experience the entire Ratchet & Clank timeline, play through the games in this order:
- Ratchet & Clank (PS2, 2002) or Ratchet & Clank (PS4, 2016)
- Ratchet & Clank 2: Going Commando (PS2, 2003)
- Ratchet & Clank 3: Up Your Arsenal (PS2, 2004)
- Ratchet: Deadlocked (PS2, 2005)
- Ratchet & Clank: Size Matters (PSP, 2007)
- Ratchet & Clank Future: Tools of Destruction (PS3, 2007)
- Secret Agent Clank (PSP, 2008)
- Ratchet & Clank Future: Quest for Booty (PS3, 2008)
- Ratchet & Clank: A Crack in Time (PS3, 2009)
- Ratchet & Clank: All 4 One (PS3, 2011)
- Ratchet & Clank: Full Frontal Assault (PS3, 2012)
- Ratchet & Clank: Into the Nexus (PS3, 2013)
- Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart (PS5, 2021)
Remember, Rift Apart follows the Future Saga timeline
You don’t necessarily need to play all 14 core games in the series to get caught up for Rift Apart. That’s because Rift Apart takes place immediately following Into The Nexus, the final game in the Future Saga.
Without going into spoiler territory, the Ratchet & Clank Future Saga sets up Ratchet’s search for other Lombaxes. Games in the Future series (including Into The Nexus, despite Future being dropped from the title) also deal with a lot of time/space manipulation, specifically the Dimensionator, a crucial element of the Rift Apart storyline.
As such, if you only need enough of the story to understand Rift Apart, you can safely start with Future: Tools of Destruction, then work forward. Otherwise, the best way to experience the story is to play each game in order of release.
Which Ratchet & Clank is best?
While nearly all of the Ratchet & Clank games are considered good, only one can be counted as the best. As it so happens, fans and critics both agree that Up Your Arsenal from 2004 is the best Ratchet & Clank game.
This information comes from review aggregate website Metacritic, which provides review scores for each game in the series. With a combined Metascore of 91, Up Your Arsenal is praised for its huge variety of action, weapons, and activities.
With that said, the fight to be best is very competitive. Going Commando from 2003 holds a close second place position with a score of 90, while Tools of Destruction from 2007 holds third place with a score of 89.
Interestingly, the original Ratchet & Clank from 2002 holds a Metascore of 88, while the 2016 version scores slightly lower at 85. It seems players prefer the original to the “reimagined” version, even despite its modernized controls, weapons, and gear.
As for the latest release, it seems the new series entry is faring quite well. Rift Apart currently holds a Metascore of 88, which ties it in a fourth-place position alongside the very first game.
No matter which Ratchet & Clank game you play first or what order you play them in, you’re bound to have a good time. The adventures of Insomniac’s spacefaring duo thrill players with nearly every outing. More than just a fan-favorite series, Ratchet & Clank counts among its ranks some of the highest-rated PlayStation exclusives of all time.
Kevin Tucker is the managing editor of Guide Fall and From Gamers Magazine. When he's not busy exploring or explaining the latest video games, he spends his time riding his motorcycle, reading science fiction, and playing electric bass.