|Ratchet & Clank: All 4 One|
|Developer: Insomniac Games
Release Date: Out Now
Players/Online features: Singleplayer, Offline Co-op, Up to four player online Co-op
Ratchet and Clank: All 4 One is the first PS3 Ratchet and Clank game to feature multiplayer/co-op, a frequently requested feature by fans of the series. Rather than just make a game with multiplayer competitive game modes like the previous R&C games, Insomniac Games have instead created an all-new adventure designed for you to play with up to three of your friends, helping each other throughout the story, but also competing to finish the level with the most bolts, or critters captured.
When the game is first inserted into your PS3 there is a fairly lengthy initial install of nearly 2.5Gb. While the game is installing an introductory video plays helping to shorten the wait time. This is obviously better than most other games that leave you staring at a progress bar, but the intro doesn’t last for the entire installation, so once the video has finished only about 35% of the game has installed, meaning that you still have to wait a while for it to complete. This introductory typically well-made video sets the story up for the game, so if you miss it you may not completely understand the plot line at all times.
The end of each environment/level generally features a boss battle, as is customary for a Ratchet and Clank game, and these battles are where some of the co-op features like bonus weapon damage can come in really useful. The four playable characters are Ratchet, Clank, Captain Quark and, bizarrely, R&C’s nemesis Doctor Nefarious, although the reason he’s come along to help is explained in the introductory cutscene. Each character has his own special abilities; Ratchet can deploy a decoy which distracts enemies and draws their fire for a limited time, Clank can throw a grenade which can slow down time, Quark has a reflective shield which can protect the other players, and Nefarious can activate a cloaking device to hide himself for a short while.
The game still features many of the components of a single player Ratchet and Clank game. Gold bolts from previous games are now known as “Hero Bolts”. They still function the same as Gold Bolts however, unlocking various character skins, such as my favourite the Snowman. The game still features a wide range of wacky weapons and tools, and encourages you to use teamwork to kill enemies, giving you bonus damage when multiple players are shooting an enemy with the same gun.
The familiar cartoon-style videos are back for the weapon Vendor, showing the four characters using the weapon, often in an amusing way. Once weapons are purchased there are three available upgrades for each; Ammo, Power and Elite. Elite can only be bought once the other two have been purchased and costs a lot, often more than the gun itself. This Elite upgrade is similar to upgrading your gun in older Ratchet and Clank games, giving the gun better stats.
All 4 One features one important new tool, the Vac-U, which is basically a vacuum gun, it allows you to suck crates towards you to break them, it can suck bolts towards you, it can suck one small enemy up which can then be fired out, and can suck a teammate up so that they can be fired across to an area that would have otherwise been impossible to reach, or just off clean the map if you’re feeling mean! Three other tools are also obtained during the game, the Quakehammer, the Glob Lobber, and the Reflector, whose names kind of give away what they do, the Quakehammer can smash rocks and is basically a pneumatic drill, the Glob Lobber throws lumps of Glob, and the Reflector blocks lasers functioning very much like a shield, but you can’t move while it’s being used.
The game can be played both online and offline, though you’ll have considerably more fun playing online with others than offline by yourself. When playing in offline mode, you can have up to four players split-screen, and each player can choose his/her own character, but if you feel inclined to play on your own there will always be at least one AI-controlled character helping you.
Overall Ratchet and Clank: All 4 One is a high-quality co-operative game, with lots of fun levels, and plenty of things to keep you coming back for more. It is most fun if you’re playing with friends, but can be less frustrating if playing by yourself. It is let down slightly by the sometimes stupid AI, the smaller than normal range of weapons and the frustrating checkpoint system. Despite these small downfalls Ratchet and Clank: All 4 One is a very enjoyable game. If you’re into co-op games, or a fan of Ratchet and Clank then this is a must buy.
- Fairly long story mode.
- Beautiful environments.
- Wacky Weapons.
- Teamwork bonuses.
- AI not very clever offline.
- Reminder about EULA every darned time you connect to an online game.
- Limited selection of weapons.
- Can take a while to get into an online game if you’re picky.