• The world-warping content in today's Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart demo came in two forms. First is a sort of quick-lasso system that lets you warp within a given battling arena. Here's the "before"…
  • …and here's the "after." This kind of rapid-fire movement forces the engine to essentially render nearly double the on-screen geometry to represent where you're warping to warping from. Hence, it's more complex than existing games like Portal.
  • Another example. Lasso begins.
  • Lasso concludes.
  • The other "rift" content in the game sees players warping from one massive geometrical sequence to another. The heroes get caught up in a purple dimensional vortex for approximately 1.5 seconds, as a sort of next-gen "elevator" loading sequence. Then almost immediately…
  • …they're spit into an entirely new world, fully realized with tons of view distance, geometrical content, and animated characters.
  • And each screen shows either the warp point they're leaving or are about to enter.
  • By the time you even begin wrapping your head around this canyon sequence…
  • …you're blasting through a portal to a Blade Runner-esque cyberpunk cityscape.
  • Shortly after this flight continues, you're blown through another portal…
  • …to a pirate ship? What in the world, Insomniac Games? The whole thing is breathtaking to see in action.

Ever since the hype campaigns began for the Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5, we've gotten apparent teases of real-time next-gen gameplay, enough to convince us that these systems are adequately powerful. But the full-blown execution of what "only on PlayStation 5" can look like finally crystallized for the first time on Thursday. It came in the form of six uninterrupted minutes of live gameplay from Insomniac Games' Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart, which will debut on the PS5 during the console's "launch window," we learned today.

Sony couldn't have rolled out a better, more convincing sense of what top-to-bottom next-gen gaming architecture can deliver than this shiny, explosive, SSD-powered sequence—and so far, it's more stunning than anything we've seen from Xbox Series X-exclusive fare.

Portals far beyond Portal

The new Sony console's first sales point is illustrated in the top gallery, though merely looking at the images misses a key part of the equation: miniscule load times between insanely complicated sequences.

We'd already seen teases of the game's rift-jumping mechanic, where the series' run-and-gun heroes warp from one dimension to the next on a regular basis. In action, this plays out with two types of portals. Yellow portals can be activated with an apparent lasso, which whips your character from one side of the room to the other—while rendering the nearby geometry in duplicate, as opposed to merely serving as a generic grappling hook. Comparatively, Valve's classic puzzle series Portal was careful to not double-render its geometry through its warping portals, instead cleverly disguising the content you warped through.

This new lasso mechanic admittedly goes for visual overkill to achieve the same mechanical result as older Portal games, but hey, it looks sick in action.

But the other half of R&C:RA's warping mechanic, through purple portals, is an absolute jaw-dropper in action. The demo shows its player falling through purple portals and floating through a multi-dimensional rift for up to 1.5 seconds at a time, at which point an entirely new level appears, complete with ridiculous draw distances, insane amounts of geometry, and a dizzying amount of animated characters. This content hinges largely on PlayStation 5's solid state drive technology, which Sony has previously championed in terms of high levels of bandwidth.

The effect isn't lightning-instant, mind you, what with those 1- or 1.5-second pauses between dimensions, but compared to the previous generation's emphasis on hiding techniques like waiting in elevators, going around corners, or ducking-and-crawling through tight spaces, the result is an absolute generational leap. No, wait, that doesn't sound big enough. It's a generational rocket forward. I'm absolutely floored by how it looks in action (which you can see in an embedded video at the end of the article).

Clank, your polish is lookin' good, buddy

  • Notice how Clank's metal casing reflects all surrounding light with a more realistic indirect bounce than you might get from standard fake-reflection effects like cube maps and screen-space reflections. Insomniac Games / Sony Interactive Entertainment
  • Whether this is low-resolution ray tracing or a cheaper ray matching technique, the amount of bounced light on these floors is unbelievable—all bolstered by a really impressive warping effect on the tiled floor. Notice in particular the different color of the red structure reflected on the right side of the image. That's due to an entirely different viewing angle, which would be impossible to reflect so accurately with last-gen effects.
  • How accurate is the reflection here on Clank's body? Go to the next image to see.
  • Clank doesn't reflect the yellow warping portals in this demo, but everything else appears to be ridiculously accurate. Is it a cube map or a pure ray tracing solution? We can't say, but it sure looks nice.
  • One of Ratchet's new weapons is a water-spewing turret, and it freezes foes in place and turns them into plants. Let's zoom for a better look…
  • …because that is a ton of particle-driven detail dumped on their frozen bodies.
  • Speaking of Read More – Source [contf] [contfnew]


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