By Voxatron 5 Comments
You might not know it but I'm a big Ratchet & Clank fan, so to say I was initially skeptical of this game would be saying the very least.
I can't exactly explain why I love the Ratchet & Clank franchise so much. I've made it through all the games up to date, though maybe it's the franchise’s most admirable tendency to give you ridiculous weapons that's really it's compelling attribute? One thing's for sure it certainly doesn't hurt the experience. Yet one can't forget the franchise's extensive fiction either, which has reached so far as to have been adapted into a comic book series and subsequent manga (which I must admit are really quite adorable and light, especially if you considering how most adapted video game fiction turns out gesh). So all fan exposition aside, I was lucky enough to snag a beta code being that beta is basically closed in the states. Yet apparently though the beta is open to all Plus members within the EU, which ironically enough is totally where I find myself at the moment believe it or not.
But enough about me, moving on.. The latest game in the Ratchet & Clank series, All 4 One promises to be a "different" sort of adventure, if that wasn't already apparent enough by the games title alone. Though the emphasis of course now on four player co-op instead of the usual single player experience of the previous games. So with such jarring departure from the rest of series one can't but help be at least a tad bit skeptical, right?
However beta specifics more importantly and hopefully addressing some concerns along the way. Upfront the beta is basically a multiplayer demo consisting of two individual levels, Luminopolis and N.E.S.T. Though the beta is mostly multiplayer focused it's all to possible to solo it as well which I'll totally touch on momentarily. But back to the game's main premise, which is of course playing co-operatively and almost every part of each level requires at least two players to complete a particular puzzle before progressing. Moment passed now, back to what I mentioned earlier in regards to playing the game solo and how it handles co-op puzzles, simply put it's all covered by Clank, a seemingly competent AI Clank specifically.
- Mechanics - The controls in this game also represent a departure much in the vain that All 4 one does, for example normally when changing weapons in a Ratchet & Clank game you'd simply hold down the triangle, in this you move the right analog stick around till it brings up the patented R & C weapon wheel. The differences don't end there either, now you have to use R1 to shoot whereas before you had the choice of R1 or O. Square is your melee and X is your jump and if you hold both at the same time you will jump in the air and perform a slam attack which is useful for when there is a large group of enemies around and for particular puzzles. As for the game's camera control, it has none. which may certainly sound like a instant turn-off right away, yet it's really rather a pleasant surpise and it definitely seems at least like good decision with the games pace and main premise in mind. It's especially apparent though when the camera emphasizes certain clues pertaining to objectives and as it maintains the whole 4 player co-op in view pretty seamlessly.
- Levels As previously mentioned their are only two locations in the beta, the first being the city Luminopolis which sees you, the player chasing after a light eating Z'grute which is released by non other than Dr.Nefarious. Unfortunately, being a beta and all the player misses out on quite a bit of exposition and in particular how Nefarious even releases the Z'grute in the first place or how he even ends up with Ratchet, Clank and Qwark. There are certainly a few memorable moments in Luminopolis such as the space taxi section and the final fight against the Z'grute were for sure some of the levels finer points. The second location in the game is called N.E.S.T. and it certainly evokes the mountainous cliff base rather well. The level's platforming in particular, is particularly reliant on the swing-shot mechanic ( i.e. cooperatively tethering yourself to a buddy) and the VAC-U 4000 (essentially a giant vacuum used to launch players and objects)."Simplistic" level layouts aside, things really don't start to stand out till one embraces the game's finer features. For example the game's vibrant colour palette and it's very sharp presentation, the game really then shines with R & C staple of a variety of weapons and the bolt explosions show off the stable frame rate and rather unhitchy gameplay.
From at least a fan's perspective I've been sincerely surprised about most aspects of this game then I ever initially imagined, with the exception of a few mechanical pet peeves here and there only one really thing stands out. The validity of the online experience vs. the couch co-op variety, it definitely could be a make or break for the game for sure. Though it's most redeeming quality definitely has to be how much it evokes the earliest games within the series. Overall All 4 one is certainly at least worth a try at minimum, for both fans and non-fans alike. The Demo lands early October..