By the example of Insomniac Games we can trace the genre evolution of console games from the era of PS1 to PS5: the studio developed children’s arcade games for PS1, created “cool” action/platformer for PS2, grew to a serious shooter in the period of PS3 and finally announced superhero attack on PS4 and PS5. And these titles will inspire not only those who play slots at a 22Bet login but also those who enjoy more versatile titles. The almost 30-year alliance with Sony has resulted in dozens of projects. Let’s list the best.
Spyro the Dragon
It was a series of three-dimensional platformers Spyro that made Insomniac a famous studio. The purple dragon Spyro is as recognizable a PS1 symbol as Crash the Bandicoot.
Unlike Crash Bandicoot, Spyro isn’t hardcore at all. It’s designed for a children’s audience.
Insomniac is responsible for the first three installments: Spyro the Dragon (1998), Spyro 2: Ripto’s Rage! (1999) and Spyro: Year of the Dragon (2000). She painted the dragon boy purple so he wouldn’t blend in with the grass. Spyro would slap enemies with his horns, douse them in flames, collect crystals (collecting items is a central gameplay element) and soar – the main thing that made him stand out from the competition. In the sequel the hero learned how to smash rocks by jumping from above, climb walls, swim and dive. In the third part, he was accompanied by game characters with special abilities and movements, so, the kangaroo had a double jump, and the penguin flew to the envy of Spiro.
The developers used tricks to make PS1 display large locations with lots of objects. For example, they introduced different levels of detail for models, and now versions of models (e.g. enemies) next to Spyro and in the background loaded the console differently. It makes sense for today’s developers, it was new in the second half of the 1990s.
In 2018, Activision sent Spyro Reignited Trilogy to the shelves, a compilation on the edge of remaster and remake. The Toys for Bob team ported the Insomniac classic to Unreal Engine 4, keeping the gameplay, the look of the levels, and the layout of the objects on them. In fact, players got the good old platformers, but with modern graphics and user-friendly controls.
The first-person shooter Resistance: Fall of Man (2006) captivates with its storyline. Events take place in an alternate 20th century. The Russian empire in it was destroyed not by the Bolsheviks, but alien chimeras. After Russia, they spilled over into Europe and eventually made their way to Britain, where the Americans sent a support unit. Out of the squad survives Nathan Hale, who has contracted the chimera virus. He has to liberate England, and in Resistance 2 (2008) he has to defend the United States.
The unusual setting inspired the authors for the original weapons. For example, the Auger grenade shoots needles, and the Auger rifle strikes the target through an obstacle.
Resistance: Fall of Man was scolded for its brown color scheme. The sequel is visually more pleasant. It’s also complex.
In Resistance 3 (2011) Insomniac changed the central character, expanded the levels, refused to regenerate health and scattered medical kits here and there. Their lack of them sometimes causes associations with survival horror. In spite of the high marks of the third part, the sales were not satisfied by either Insomniac or Sony. In the history of Resistance we had to put an end.
Insomniac had not always partnered with Sony. In 2014, it raised Sunset Overdrive under the wing of Microsoft.
Sunset Overdrive is a colorful third-person shooter. According to the writers’ idea, a new energy drink turns people into monsters. You have to deal with them with the help of anti-scientific weapons like a vinyl record machine.
To cope with mutants, the hero must constantly move: run along the walls, slide over wires, set traps, bounce on the roofs of abandoned cars like on a trampoline.
Sunset Overdrive looks reckless in screenshots and trailers, promising hours upon hours of fun. The only downside – get ready to entertain yourself, as is common in many open-world games.
Ratchet & Clank
Most gamers associate Insomniac with Ratchet & Clank. The series took off on PS2 in 2002 and has no intention of retiring.
Ratchet is a chunky mechanic, a member of the fictional Lombax race. Clank is a small, intelligent robot. Ratchet carries Clank on his back like a satchel while he scatters enemies with a wrench and fancy cannon shots.
It’s the riot of weaponry that is Ratchet & Clank’s calling card. The line combines the features of a platformer and shooter, and over time outweighed the shooting component. Well, as Ratchet – the mechanic, it’s understandable, why as currency here are the screws and nuts. They fall out of defeated opponents and out of broken crates.
The confident debut was followed by Ratchet & Clank: Going Commando (2003) and Ratchet & Clank: Up Your Arsenal (2004). Going Commando featured gun upgrades, while Up Your Arsenal featured online multiplayer with support for up to eight people.
After Up Your Arsenal the developers from Insomniac have been successfully making new releases and branches for PS2 and PS3. They didn’t cause the same frenzy as before, even though they sold well. Ratchet: Deadlocked (2005) with its cooperative mode and Ratchet & Clank Future: A Crack in Time (2009) with its interesting time-based puzzles are worth mentioning.
In the PS4 era, the series was waiting for a relaunch: in 2016, Insomniac gave Ratchet & Clank, a reimagining of the first part, closely related to the cartoon of the same name that came out the same year.
And in 2021, a fluffy and rattling robot landed on the PS5 in Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart. They were joined by another lombax, a girl Rivet. On Metacritic, Rift Apart has an 88 out of 100 score, with the press fervently advising purchase of this PS5 exclusive.
Song of the Deep
In passing, let’s mention Song of the Deep (2016), a deep-sea metroidvania. The side view makes it look like an indie project, but behind this “indie project” are the authors of AAA blockbusters.
Song of the Deep tells the story of a girl who explores the seabed in a homemade submarine in search of her missing fisherman father. Gradually she improves her equipment and gains access to the previously hidden parts of the underwater maze.
Song of the Deep is a short but heartwarming adventure. It will occupy you for 2-3 evenings.
The trade publications eagerly rank Insomniac’s Marvel’s Spider-Man (2018) among the best superhero action films. However, all isn’t so smooth with it.
On the plus side, there are spectacular fights with circus acrobatics and fluid movement through the city. Spider-Man swings so naturally on the web between the skyscrapers of Manhattan that you forget about the fast-moving feature.
On the downside, the stealth is shallow and the open world is unimpressive. The graphics are fine, but the content is a mess. There is a lack of interesting quests.
Nevertheless, thanks to Sony’s marketing efforts and the superhero boom that has not yet passed, the Spider-Man action game was a hit. It’s one of the best-selling games on PS4, along with God of War and Uncharted 4.
In 2020, Sony released a remaster of Spider-Man on the PS5. It includes the game itself, a set of The City That Never Sleeps story missions, additional costumes, and a redesigned photo mode. The remaster recently made its way to the PC, with support for displays up to 48:9, an unlocked framerate, and ray tracing for reflections and shadows.
The developers went beyond the remaster and released a separate game, Spider-Man: Miles Morales. It is not a sequel, but rather a standalone add-on: the same New York City, the same gameplay elements, even the character is familiar – Peter Parker was temporarily replaced by Miles Morales from Spider-Man. He uses electricity and invisibility, among other things, in fights. As with Spider-Man, audiences greeted Morales’ adventures warmly.