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Latest ‘Ratchet & Clank’ friendly for all ages

The holiday video game release schedule is chock-full of games meant for older teens and adults.

Except in the sports and music genres, games suitable for children are few and far between this winter if you have a PlayStation 3 or an Xbox 360.

But there is one notable recent release designed for all ages.

“Ratchet & Clank Future: A Crack in Time”— released Oct. 27 for the PlayStation 3 — continues to build on one of the most underrated franchises in gaming.

The series, which got its first release in 2002, follows the space exploits of Ratchet, one of the last living cat-like lombaxes, and his robot sidekick Clank.

Ratchet has attempted to locate Clank after he was taken at the end of “Ratchet & Clank Future: Tools of Destruction,” which was the first of the series to appear on the PS3 back in 2007. Ratchet’s search continued in the downloadable game “Ratchet & Clank Future: Quest for Booty” and now into the newest release.

The new game delivers what you expect from the series.

Ratchet has access to a ton of cool and unique weapons, such as a tornado-spewing gun. Many of the weapons are upgradable, and you’ll unlock new weapons as you travel from planet to planet.

The game, developed by Insomniac Games, introduces several new aspects to the series.

The unique addition for Ratchet is hoverboots, which act like a turbo-powered skateboard. Ratchet can also visit various moons, which are spherical in design and present different platforming challenges.

The best additions, however, are devoted to Clank’s levels.

Clank has puzzle-based levels that feature time manipulation. Much like in the great downloadable game “Braid,” Clank can start, slow down and rewind time to advance through levels.

Clank also gets a staff to use as a weapon and it, plus the puzzles, make his portions of the game much more engaging than in the past. I’ve always thought Clank’s playable parts of the game were weak points, but this game makes his levels much more palatable than ever before.

If you’re a fan of the series, then “A Crack in Time” certainly won’t disappoint. And if you’re looking for a present this Christmas for a young PS3 owner, then this is probably the game for you.