Ratchet & Clank: All 4 One Review

Ratchet & Clank: All 4 One

Every now and then a beloved videogame franchise will take a step back. The latest example of this is Ratchet & Clank with its newest entry. Ratchet & Clank: All 4 One shifts the focus to cooperative multiplayer, providing some fun moments when playing with a few friends. But the lack of satisfying gunplay and troublesome camera issues are two core problems that prevent All 4 One from being great. Couple that with the fact that 2009’s A Crack in Time was arguably the best game in the series, and the result is a decent, albeit disappointing release.

All 4 One follows the two adventurers Ratchet & Clank yet again, but this time they are accompanied by a couple of other imporant figures. After Dr. Nefarious fails to implement a plan that will destroy Ratchet, Clank, and the new galactic president Captain Qwark, the four characters band together against a new evil threat. The trademark humor that has so often been synonymous with the franchise is still there. The jokes have been toned down a bit, but there are plenty of laughs to be had. And the banter between these four well-established characters is often great.

But prospective buyers won’t be interested in All 4 One for the story. With this newest entry the emphasis has been placed heavily on the game’s cooperative multiplayer. It’s possible to play All 4 One as a solo affair, but the game mechanics revolve around working together with one to three other people. Multiple players attacking the same target results in a damage bonus, puzzles require teamwork, and switches often need two or three people to be activated. All of these cooperative elements work well together and make for some fun moments.

Ratchet and Clank All 4 One

Unfortunately the biggest strength in past entries, the gunplay, is downgraded quite a bit in All 4 One. Now gamers must rely on a lock-on system that often doesn’t work effectively, which in turn makes using each unique weapon less satisfying. That’s not to say the arsenal of weapons isn’t impressive, including a new gadget that turns a player into a projectile. But the lock-on system just isn’t that great. The upgrading system has also seen a change for the worse. Instead of improving one’s weapon by using it more, the old archaic system of collecting enough bolts is brought back. This means there is no encouragement to use each weapon, which was one of the biggest strengths in past entries. Some variety is thrown in there with exciting vehicle sequences and puzzles, but it’s unfortunate that one of the core gameplay mechanics in All 4 One is a glaring negative.

Not helping matters is the wonky camera that often acts as an extra obstacle. This is especially obvious when four players are on screen, since quite a few enemies and environments are cut off due to the restricted camera. In addition, the camera is zoomed out quite a bit to compensate for all of the characters. Although this seems necessary considering the move to cooperative multiplayer, it makes the game lose its appeal as a third-person shooter. Past entries were fun because of the fast-paced gameplay, but it becomes easy to feel detached from the action in All 4 One.

The visuals have also taken a big hit due to the move to cooperative multiplayer. The impressive art direction is still there, but technically All 4 One looks nowhere near as crisp as past PlayStation 3 Ratchet & Clank games. Textures and characters are far less detailed and overall the game looks a lot less sharp. The same can’t be said about the audio though, which features a great soundtrack and fantastic voice acting by all of the series regulars.

It seems like there’s a lot wrong with Ratchet & Clank: All 4 One, but that’s largely because it’s such an obvious downgrade when you look at the franchise overall. The cooperative elements are actually executed well, and dropping in and out of a game with friends is a breeze. Unfortunately, the action-packed third-person shooting just isn’t as thrilling as it once was, and the camera becomes a hindrance early on. Fans of the series may want to still give this game a shot, but it’s certainly not a must buy for PlayStation 3 owners.


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Author: Anthony LaBella View all posts by
My first experience playing a video game blew me away. The fact that Super Metroid was that game certainly helped. So I like to think Samus put me on the path to video games. Well, I guess my parents buying the SNES had a little something to do with it. Ever since then my passion for video games has grown. When I found that I could put words together into a coherent sentence, videogame journalism was a natural interest. Now I spend a large majority of my time either playing video games or writing about them, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

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