Archive Panic: So far, there are thirteen console games, which include a remake, two Gaiden Games, and two multiplayer-based spin-offs. Even if one chooses to exclude those, that still leaves eight games to play. And that's not even getting into the movie and the comic series. Basically, someone who wants to get into the series will have their work cut out for them.
Mr. Zurkon. Originating in Tools of Destruction as one of the Combat Devices, he became a Breakout Character due to his comedically bloodthirsty nature and has appeared in every other game since then. At this point, however, while several fans still revere him for his memorable quotes (especially since he's voiced by the same person who voices Mario from Hotel Mario), about an equal amount of people started to hate him, thinking his quotes have become tired (or weren't even funny to begin with), and wish that Insomniac would just keep him out of a game for once.
Whether or not the series shifitng its focus away from satire to dramaedy was for the better or not. Supporters love the addtions to lore and character develoment and feel that the satire well was begging to dry. Detractors however find the stories of the PS 3 games onward to be Narm filled and betrays the series' core becoming the kind of franchise earlier games mocked
When the PS4 re-imagining came out, fans were divided on whether to celebrate it or worry over a possible reboot of the franchise. This was rendered null and void by Rift Apart, however.
The game's common recycling of weapons in the PS3 and PS4 era, as opposed to how the PS2 games would only bring back a few weapons. For example There are 5 unique rocket launchers in the PS2 generation: the Devastator and Visibomb Gun in Ratchet & Clank '02, the Minirocket Tube/Megarocket Cannon and Visibomb Gun in Going Commando, the Annihilator/Decimator in Up Your Arsenal, and the Arbiter/Silencer in Deadlocked. The PS3 generation, however, only has 2 unique rocket launchers: the Negotiator/Judicator in Tools of Destruction and A Crack in Time and the Warmonger in All 4 One (where it doesn't upgrade into a weapon with a new name), Full Frontal Assault (where it upgrades into the Alpha Warmonger), and Into the Nexus (where it upgrades into the Peacemaker). It's either good because fan-favorites have a higher chance to return or bad because the franchise has been using some of these weapons for a while. Also part of the argument is whether or not said weapons are good; for example, is the Warmonger a good rocket launcher? Is the Combuster a bad pistol?
Contested Sequel: There is a minority of fans who discount Deadlocked, Going Mobile, Size Matters, Secret Agent Clank, Quest for Booty and All 4 One as being "real" Ratchet & Clank games, which can become confusing when they insist on referring to the game by numbers (e.g. "the fourth game" could variously apply to Deadlocked, Size Matters or Tools of Destruction depending on whether you're talking to someone who accepts all the games, only the platformers, or only the main console games). And then we've got All-4-One and Full Frontal Assault, due to their gaming style.
The heavily armored, quick, and downright nasty Land Lobsters from the first game qualify, unless you throw the wrench.
The Y.E.T.I.s from Going Commando's Planet Grelbin; they spawn from out of nowhere (and in large numbers, to boot), have no concept of Mook Chivalry (often ambushing you in groups of ten or more), and are card-carrying members of the Lightning Bruiser club. You could try running from them, but they love spawning right in your path and often appear around Arctic Leviathans, which must be killed for Moonstones. That leaves killing them, but there are a few problems with that as well: first, very few of your weapons are effective against them, the ones that are either have low ammo clips or have ammo that must be bought at a vendor, and for the weapons that don't, you're thwarted again by the fact that there are very few ammo crates lying around the massive ice field you must traverse. As a result, you'll find yourself making frequent trips back to the vendor, which often means running back into the Y.E.T.I. mobs you just fled from.
Qwark's Hideout in Up Your Arsenal features heavily armed catchphrase-spewing Qwark Bots. They deal ludicrous amounts of damage with a very high rate of fire, have more armor than any other enemy of their size, and can even survive after being reduced to nothing but a skeletal torso with one arm, often lurking in this state until you pass the cover they're hiding behind to swipe at you. They also spawn in dense packs.
Up Your Arsenal also features Tyhrranoid Missile Stations, which often appear in Galactic Ranger missions. They're not too bad when you're piloting a Hovership, as the missiles can be easily dodged and destroyed. When you're on foot, however, they'll shoot missiles that fly directly into the ground and explode in a shockwave that hurts you unless you jump over it, and they will continue firing even when you're in the middle of fighting other enemies. They're also very tanky, meaning the only way to effectively fight them is with the Flux/Splitter Rifle. They're so bad that they got the second Snowbeast Award.
The beam turrets in Deadlocked. Tiny little laser turrets that drop in at random points, and are usually overlooked right until you get a laser beam in your back.
The giant flying robot roaches, aka Laser Backs (also from Deadlocked), are a) infuriatingly hard to kill, b) have a psychotically high rate of fire, and c) are one of the few units that make life difficult for you even when you've turned them to your side with the right omega mod. (Usually, brainwashed enemies are kind enough to try and aim at the enemy; the Laser Backs simply spam ammo everywhere, and God help you if you get in the way.) Pretty much the only way to keep them from reducing you to powder was to wait until they briefly stopped shooting, then spam them with a high-knockback weapon. Oh, and your Combat Bots have no idea that these things are unspeakably annoying and will instantly get mowed down by them.
Their sorta-predecessors, the Guard bots from the third game, are this too. They have the same attack method - that is, two guns that More Dakka you into the pavement - and take buckets of damage.
Surprisingly, Captain Qwark was brought back in the second game solely because of this; the staff was midway through production of Going Commando when they realized they missed the big lug, so they came up with the Behind the Hero cutscenes as a way of sneaking him back in, and then decided to just upgrade him to Big Bad status.
Courtney Gears as well (mostly because of her music video), even though she didn't make any more appearances since Deadlocked, but was often mentioned throughout the series. But just look at how much fanart she has on DeviantArt...
Ace Hardlight, as well. He's got a whole group dedicated to him in DeviantArt. It's quite a surprise, considering he's a Creator's Pet in-universe.
The Groovitron. It even appeared in Playstation Move Heroes!
Fanon Discontinuity: All 4 One and Full Frontal Assault are occasionally dismissed by the fandom for their weaker storylines compared to the Future trilogy. Thankfully, they were spin-off titles, so plenty of fans are still okay with acknowledging them.
Fountain of Memes: Mr. Zurkon is one of the most quoted characters in the Ratchet & Clank franchise. The fact that many of his lines are reminiscent of Chuck Norris Facts has helped this immensely.
Reuse of weapons throughout the series. The Ratchet & Clank franchise has been reusing weapons since as early as the second game, released in 2003, which contained 5 weapons from the first game that could be bought for cheap, or obtained for free if you had a save from the first game that also owned those weapons. However, Going Commando and later games that did this only brought back a few unique weapons, while also still introducing their own unique weapons. A Crack in Time also had a few weapons from Tools of Destruction, including the rocket-launching Negotiator, which was one of the first examples of a typical weapon niche being filled by a returning weapon, but ACiT still had plenty of its own unique weapons to its name, like the Sonic Eruptor and Spiral of Doom. Games past All 4 One began heavily reusing weapons from older games without introducing too many of their own, and returning weapons began to fill standard weapon niches more often, such as the Warmonger as the rocket launcher in 4 games, the Combuster as the slow pistol in 5 games, and the Buzz Blades as the rapid-fire pistol in 5 games. This came to a head in RAC '16, which ended up almost exclusively using weapons from older games, with only a handful of original ones to its name.
The series' slide towards the Lighter and Softer and Denser and Wackier, eventually culminating in We're Still Relevant, Dammit! As early as the second game (Going Commando), Ratchet had gone from a brash headstrong teenager to a professional and well-meaning gun-for-hire well on his way to becoming a Science Hero, while as early as the third game (Up Your Arsenal) the game's themes of consumerism and corporate cynism were being replaced by a Tuxedo and Martini plot involving a classical Mad Scientist, and A Crack in Time had alien races explicitly based off high school cliques. The thing is... Ratchet's new character in GC felt like a natural extension of his Character Development, UYA's villain became an Ensemble Dark Horse with fans and creators alike, and ACiT is often considered a high point for the franchise on the basis of its story (and when it's not, UYA or GC often are, in its stead). In short, the problems that eventually manifested as Sequelitis were not only present and not considered problems, but actively applauded in the earlier games, and only started irritating fans later once the games started running out of steam. An almost textbook example.
While Tools of Destruction planted the seeds for a more serious story, A Crack in Time was really the point where the series began shedding its satirical roots in favor of a serious, almost Disney like whimsical style of plot and writing. While the game was and still is well received today, further attempts to apply this to the series have been met with increasing scorn from fans at best, reaching its apex with the controversial 2016 reimagining of the first game. Even ACiT's approach to the series is now greeted with much more scrutiny than it was in its heydey, with many fans accusing it of being a sloppily written and pretentious Cliché Storm that takes itself far too seriously at the expense of the series comedic identity, basically becoming the kind of over the top parody that the original games made fun of in the first place.
Friendly Fandoms: With Jak and Daxter. The development teams shared code and assets in the PlayStation 2 era, leading to multiple cross-references and nods to one another. As such, the fandoms for both series tend to get along very well, and there's quite a lot of overlap between the fandoms as well.
The Mega Supernova (The Harbinger's upgraded form) V99 from Deadlocked. All minor foes are vaporized in one shot, and the bosses take massive damage from it.
A non-Infinity +1 Sword example: The Rift Inducer of Up Your Arsenal, which one-shots all small to medium-sized mooks. Level it up enough, and you can just sit there while all of the enemies in the area get sucked in and die. The 5000 variation in A Crack in Time is even more powerful, with the bonus that Fred can deal with larger enemies better.
Groovitrons from Tools of Destruction onwards. A 100% effective paralysis effect on any enemy in the game bar two or three, and your New Game+ reward in ToD gives you an infinite amount of these. Toxic Swarmers from the same game also break bosses in seconds if placed strategically.
Clank's Time Bombs can be used as these if you knew how to use them the right way. However, if you're playing the hardest parts in hard mode, these become more game fixers than breakers.
The Heavy Bouncer in Going Commando does massive damage when it hits an enemy, splits into a bajillion smaller parts on contact, all of which do equally massive damage, and has an absurdly large ammo clip for a weapon that powerful (25) that's replenished by 4 per ammo crate (and buying the ammo is dirt cheap if you can't find any ammo crates). It's so bad that the final boss can be downed easily with just a few shots from this gun, and its Brutal Bonus Level, the Impossible Challenge, becomes a cakewalk with it. The ammo issue was nerfed down to 12 shots at level 5 in its return in Up Your Arsenal, but the weapon itself is just as powerful, if not even more so. Watch in awe as one shot clears a room of mooks in a matter of seconds! The remake ups the ante even further by giving it to you in Novalis for a meager 100 bolts if you pre-ordered the game. Needless to say, the pre-orderers had a much easier playthrough.
Deadlocked's Mini-Turret Launcher, especially after maxing it out, which is very easy despite being obtained quite late. It is fast, sprays enemies with bullets and later highly damaging lasers, you can have as much as five active at once and since challenges are now more arena-based, it is easy to have ground covered with them. Put some mods on them and watch the chaos ensue.
In the first 3 games, it's possible to wallhack with the Decoy Glove/Miniturret Glove and thus push yourself through walls and get places you aren't supposed to go. This is also possible in Deadlocked, though it's pointless due to its "arena combat" nature. Insomniac Games attempted to stop this by Tools of Destruction, as the Nano-Swarmers will only let you deploy two at a time, but it's possible to simply use a Visi-Copter to push Ratchet through corners in this title.
In Going Commando, beating the game unlocks a mode where you play in first-person constantly. However, you can climb walls by simply jumping at them and spamming Square to throw the wrench - the throw bounces you upwards slightly, while being next to the wall causes the wrench to return instantly. Interestingly, Insomniac knew about this bug and left it in as a sort of Earn Your Fun reward, which also explains why it was gone by Up Your Arsenal; that game lets you play in first-person from the get-go.
Tools of Destruction has a similar bug with the Razor Claws, where doing the aerial attack into a wall allows you to do a high jump off of midair, which can be interrupted by another aerial attack, which allows you to do a high jump... thus allowing you to climb almost any wall in the game as long as the Claws have ammo to use.
Growing the Beard: Going Commando improved the gameplay by putting much more focus on the guns and put a step in the right direction by making Ratchet more likable, but Up Your Arsenal simplified a lot of the combat for the better, and while there are less worlds to work with, each are all unique and interesting, and the story firmly establishes Ratchet & Clank's dynamic, the plots become a bit more serious without losing the series' humor, and the writing for the protagonists and villains becomes more interesting.
Harsher in Hindsight: In the first game Ratchet was a huge Jerkass. After playing the Future Saga, and finding out that his father had to leave him on Veldin for the best, it's kinda hard to blame him. Keep in mind that he had no friends, was still a child, and only had a wrench to protect himself.
Qwark's Personal Hygenator ad at the very end of the first game, which claims it can solve painful itching in the nether regions, becomes this in light of Going Commando revealing one of its side effects is in fact severe irritations and itching in sensitive body areas.
The following exchange (which is already very funny) becomes even funnier if you have played the Secret Agent Clank game:
Clank: I believe there has been a misunderstanding. Secret Agent Clank is merely a fictional character I play on the holo...
Nefarious: LIES! SQUISHY LIIIIIIIEEEEE...*jams*
Also, the vid-comic's narrator's utter disbelief at the concept of "robotic pirate ghosts" takes on a whole new meaning once you encounter some in Quest For Booty.
Let's see... Ratchet's a guy from a backwater place who builds stuff, whose melee weapon of choice is a wrench, and who is a proud proponent of "more gun". After looking at it this way, all those Engineers come off as a bunch of posers.
Up Your Arsenal had Trophies before Playstation 3 had Trophies.
Spaceship battles in the same style as the Gummi Ship missions in Kingdom Hearts II was planned for Up Your Arsenal, but instead added to Tools of Destruction. When Kingdom Hearts III came out in 2019, the Gummi Ship segments play out similar to the space sectors in A Crack in Time.
Lots of nods to Ratchet & Clank films throughout the series became funnier in light of an actual film for the duo being released. In the original game, one of the "Epilogue" posters is for "Ratchet & Clank: The Motion Picture", and there's another poster for a film in Going Commando. When Vox tries to start merchandising Ratchet as the new head Exterminator in Deadlocked, one of the things he mentions is that he'll get movie rights.
Nefarious self-identifying as "robot" and his pride of being one become funny if you know that the term originates from the Czech word "robota", which means "work" or "labor". Not so superior after all, are we, Nefarious?
A real life example is that the armor that Ratchet wears throughout A Crack in Time appears to foreshadow TRON: Legacy.
The Groovitron, a grenade that makes enemies break out in dance, leaving them vulnerable to attack. Looks like the makers of Fortnite were taking notes with the Boogie Bomb.
Narm: Pretty much all of Size Matters falls into this, especially its Big Bad Otto Destruct being nothing more than a carbon copy of Chairman Drek and unsuccessfully trying to copy the Large Ham aspect of Dr. Nefarious and Gleeman Vox. Having Clank call his actions "pure evil" only makes him look more ridiculous. He's seen as The Scrappy for this reason.
Popular with Furries: Downplayed, but the overall popularity of the series means that furries will occasionally design lombax-based OCs.
Porting Disaster: The PS3 updates of the first four games, done by novice studio Idol Minds, have various glitches and save errors. The first three, however, only had minor issues, numerous as they were. Deadlocked got the worst of it, however, having serious issues that even someone who never played the original version would make note of.
Helga may count. She is mostly saying she can do better than Ratchet on fitness courses, though we don't see her do anything but yap all the time.
Ratchet himself was this in the first game, due to his massive Jerkass personality, and his cruel treatment towards Clank, who was only being nice to him. By the game's end he learns the error of his ways, and is much less abrasive in future games.
The villains of Size Matters, Otto Destruct and Luna, are considered forgettable villains. The former is a narmy rehash of Chairman Drek with some elements of Gleeman Vox, and the latter is infamous for being That One Boss and a Plot Twist gone wrong.
The Y.E.T.I.s from Going Commando, due to having enough health that even a lot of the strongest guns in the game take a while to kill them, being absurdly strong, and spawning constantly. Even the developer, Insomniac, admitted they were one of the worst elements of the game, and give a "Snowbeast Award" named after the creature to the person who made the worst feature of a game after release.
All 4 One, Full Frontal Assault, Into the Nexus, and Ratchet & Clank '16 don't let you have multiple saves, which can get annoying if you have a completed file you want to keep and also want to start a new game.
Several weapons in the first 3 games cause the screen to flash when used. While the idea is cool as it makes them feel more powerful, it's a pain if you're playing in the dark (especially with others around), your eyes are dry or tired, or even worse, have epilepsy.
Ratchet's complete inability to climb ladders is starting to look pretty silly, and it makes ascending them by jumping over and over a chore.
While Clank's playable segments are often well-integrated to the plot and can be refreshing, they aren't without their detractors; they trade Ratchet's fast-paced action to puzzles that mostly consist of slowly running around with only 4 health while Checkpoint Starvation is in full effect - not to mention the potential Backtracking if a Gadgebot dies too soon. Fortunately, Insomniac seems to have caught up to this, as many of the games released after ACIT not only make Clank faster to move around, but also make the segments more exciting from both visual and gameplay standpoints.note A Crack in Time in particular overhauled his entire gameplay style, and made puzzles more about thinking ahead instead of running around and collecting an army of bots to help you do stuff.
Scrappy Weapon: The series was the main inspiration for this trope. The first game had a handful of weapons that were quite useful (e.g., the Visibomb Gun, Devastator) and some that were almost useless (Pyrocitor, Taunter, Walloper). The second game and onwards introduced leveling up weapons, further polarizing their effectiveness. It was quite easy to level up weapons that were easy to use and fairly powerful (the Negotiator and Constructo Shotgun from A Crack in Time, for instance), and weapons that barely got any use (such as the wimpy Buzz Blades) would never be able to level up except on the weakest ankle-biter enemies.
"Seinfeld" Is Unfunny: The first game, while still well loved, tends to suffer from this. While it was a groundbreaking platformer for it's day, its graphics are really showing their age now, and the substantial amount of Early Installment Weirdness compared to the numerous sequels almost make it feel like a game from a completely different series.
Sequelitis: Most games actually have positive reception among fans and critics, but Size Matters is often considered to be the worst game of the franchise for it's Narm Charm and being developed by a different studio.All 4 One and Full Frontal Assault are also viewed less favorly because of their multiplayer-orineted style and, in the latter's case, trying to be "hip and modern". Into the Nexus was an improvement, but still unliked for being too short.
The Hoverboard Races, particularly the second one on Kalebo III.
We also have Planet Grelbin from Going Commando. When you're hunting for crystals, Y.E.T.I.s will pop out from underground and they are TOUGH. They can survive at least one hit from any weapon you use (except the RYNO II), and will take a "bigger than average" percentage of your health if they swipe you. And how about Leviathans that hide under frozen water, then burst out, take forever to kill, can knock you out quickly and can destroy your Shield Charger in one attack? And if you don't knock out those Y.E.T.I.s, they will chase you as hard as possible-and that is by NO means an exaggeration.
In Going Commando there were two huge open areas on Tabora and Grelbin where, for 100% Completion and bolts, you had to collect a vast number of crystals/moonstones scattered across the map. They (initially) don't show up on your in-game map, you're constantly being attacked by infinitely-spawning enemies, and scouring every square inch of the map looking for that last crystal you require is not fun... especially the Grelbin icefield, where you're facing the ridiculously-tough Y.E.T.I.s (see That One Level above).
Up Your Arsenal has a much worse take on the style of level described above, in the form of Aquatos's giant sewer-maze. At least Going Commando's 2 unique levels had variety in the terrain, some really good music, and the ability to use your Charge Boots to get around. On Aquatos, however, the paths are all identical and extremely cramped, the music is very dull and gets repetitive quick, the metal tubes that make up 90% of the area cause you to auto-equip the Gravity Boots, which are impossible to take off and override your Charge Boots, and the literally hundreds of Amoeboids crawling around don't help matters at all. Blagh.Blagh!BLAGH!
Up Your Arsenal has also vid-comics and five time-related skill points, one for speedrunning each. The first ones aren't that hard, but the limit for the last one is so tight it you might want to use a Quack-O-Ray on whoever set the time requirement on it.
"Scoring with the Blarg" in Deadlocked requires you to get a high score in a Landstalker-mounted target-shooting game while also dealing with the enemies. The problems are that there are a lot of enemies that can do some large damage to your tank, there's no healing, and the score required is tight enough that you might just end up getting enough within the last few seconds of the challenge. And God help you if you play it on Exterminator difficulty. It says something about the difficulty when later planet Maraxus's similar challenge, "Spider on a Wire", manages to be miles easier, with a much more lenient score goal and less mean enemies.
Getting 100% completion in Crack in Time requires you to Score High on a Nintendo Hard mini-game fraught with Stylistic Suck. Plus the downright evil time puzzles required to get the last of the Gold Bolts.
They Changed It, Now It Sucks!: A sizable portion of the series fanbase has been rather vocally unimpressed with the series gradually going down a Lighter and Softer direction while downplaying the hard-edged satire, Black Comedy and farcical humor of the original PS2 quadriology in favor of what's perceived by them as being needlessly convoluted or cliché, pretentious, and cheesy stories with overly kiddy humor sandwiched in. This reached its apex with the 2016 movie and game having a much more juvenile tone and characterizations from the original 2002 game, which ripped the fanbase in half and led to many older fans accusing Insomniac Games of becoming completely out of touch and trying way too hard to make the series pander to a wider mainstream audience while becoming the kind of shallow, insincere product that the series made fun of in the first place.
Almost all of the female characters who could've turned out to be Ratchet's love interest are Put on a Bus in the next game. Although it's probably because the creators don't want a Romantic Plot Tumor.
Up Your Arsenal introduces (or rather reintroduces) the Q-Force, a group created by Qwark composed of the main duo, Big Al, Helga, and Skidd McMarx from the first game, and new characters Sasha and Skrunch. Yet these characters outright disappear from the franchise after the PS2 era and are largely forgotten about in the Future series outside of some occasional mentions.
One of the biggest complaints in Deadlocked is that you can't use Clank.
Uncanny Valley: Most of the character designs in the PS2/PSP games look rather creepy compared to the ones used in the newer games, Qwark in particular with his huge teeth and eyes.
Villain Decay: Captain Qwark. In the first game he was one of the two main villains, and he returned as the main villain in Going Commando. He showed up as an early boss in Up Your Arsenal, but from that point on Qwark ceased to be a villain so much as a hindrance because he was so inept at trying to help. By the time the Future series starts, no-one can take him seriously.
What Do You Mean, It's Not for Kids?: The first three games got so many things past the radar, the T rating for them might be more than justified despite the cartoon-like look of the game. The developers admitted that the game was made more for the teenage crowd and older rather than younger kids.
Made stranger by the fact that the European ratings for the series are 3+ (equivalent to an E), but this trend seemed to stop at the start of the Future series.
It should be noted that the T rated games all came out before the E10 rating was introduced. Furthermore, the first four games were re-rated E10 when the HD versions came out.
The initial teaser trailer for the movie officially inverts this as Ratchet mentions that "kids" would be watching.
The Woobie: Ratchet can be considered one when you learn the depth of his backstory. In the first game, he's an orphan living in a garage, trying to build a ship to go on an adventure, and admires Captain Qwark until his betrayal on Umbris. The third game reveals that the galaxy only sees him as a sidekick to Clank due to a TV show they both star in until Ratchet was replaced with Skrunch. And in Tools of Destruction, we learn that Ratchet is the last lombax left in the universe (not counting Angela Cross or Alister Azimuth). And as of A Crack in Timeonly Angela. Plus his best friend is missing for most of the game and very nearly abandons him to care for the Great Clock (Luckily he doesn't).