Giant Bomb Review

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Ratchet & Clank: All 4 One Review

3
  • PS3

Ratchet & Clank with multiplayer is strange, crazy, and mostly fun...but might not be for you.

Screen-filling bosses are the norm, requiring focused fire.

There aren’t many big studios making platformers anymore, but like Mario, Ratchet & Clank has proven a mostly reliable companion for the platforming fan, especially if you also love shootin’.

If you haven’t yet played 2009’s Ratchet & Clank: A Crack in Time, you’re missing out on a truly great platformer, one filled with terrific action, clever puzzles and gorgeous visuals. While Insomniac Games’ latest entry, Ratchet & Clank: All 4 One, takes place canonically after A Crack in Time, a “proper” sequel it is not, at least by traditional definitions. This is a much different Ratchet & Clank.

All 4 One is a multiplayer take on the Ratchet & Clank series, a prospect that sounds rather fantastic on paper, especially given how well Nintendo was able to adapt its premiere platforming series into a maniacal, sometimes too crazy four-player bonanza in New Super Mario Bros. Wii. The mechanics driving Mario and friends are pretty basic, however, which is not necessarily the case for Ratchet & Clank, a series that’s deceptively simple.

To go into All 4 One thinking it’s just another Ratchet & Clank that happens to have multiplayer is a mistake--you should know that up front. If you won’t play All 4 One with one or more people, there’s not much for you here. All 4 One ditches the exploratory aspects of previous Ratchet & Clank games in favor of a very linear, focused experience. In single-player, the game spawns an AI-controlled Clank to ensure the co-op parts are playable. While the AI is certifiably competent, it’s not a very fun solo game--the action is fairly straightforward, with weapon choice meaning little and puzzles staying simple.

All 4 One’s hook relies on having a blast because things are becoming totally insane around you, by virtue of four people and a million enemies running around at once. The times where I’d actually play with four people, it would become nearly impossible keep track of everything, as explosions would constantly fill the screen to the point of obscuring your view entirely. All 4 One doesn’t have a particularly punishing death mechanic, however, so when the combat causes the screen to implode into a series of indecipherable fireworks, it’s not a big deal. Players can be quickly resurrected without consequence by another player, and the group only goes back to a previous checkpoint if everyine is unconscious at once, which isn’t common.

As with previous games, the dialogue is actually pretty funny.

I don’t really recommend four players if you’re looking to actually play the game--it’s mostly dumb goofiness, like New Super Bros Wii. Two people seemed like the sweet spot here, learned while working through most of All 4 One with a friend by my side.

For most of All 4 One, the pacing is fast, frenetic and enjoyable, with transitions from standard combat to quick puzzles at a rapid pace, typically punctuated with a variety in the form of a rail grinding, strapping on a jetpack, piloting a space ship or maneuvering a boat. Even with two people, trying to coordinate movement is mostly impossible, which usually resulted in a room full of laughs as disaster ensued.

Insomniac Games must also be commended for fixing a problem that’s plagued co-op platformers. So many casual game fans struggle with platforming, and waiting for one person to make it through a section you finished minutes ago is not only frustrating, it’s actually lead to annoying arguments I'd rather not repeat. With All 4 One, you can tether yourself to another player by tapping Triangle, which means the less skillful participant(s) can follow another’s lead without having to communicate anything. It works perfectly.

In fact, All 4 One managed to avoid co-op frustration until the game’s slightly-too-long campaign starts to near its conclusion, where an increase in challenge is achieved through endless waves of repetitive, powerful enemies. Suddenly, ammunition management becomes a real worry, and progression becomes a cycle of moving from room to room and holding down the R1 button until stuff stops blowing up. This goes on for hours, transforming combat from wild (in mostly a good way) to tedious and grindy.

You should probably avoid touching the glowing things.

Perhaps more of an affront to traditional Ratchet & Clank fans is how weapon choice means far less in All 4 One. Besides how upgrading has been relegated to store purchases rather than rewards for actual use, it doesn't really matter which weapon you're picking so long as it's firing, and the game strongly emphasizes players picking the same weapon, which causes damage multipliers when fired at once. Sure, some weapons are more powerful than others, but the end result usually means two or more people firing the same thing at the same dude, rather than picking the "right" weapon. Enemies don't require much strategy in All 4 One. Especially towards the end, crowd control demands the game boil down to endlessly cycling between rockets and grenades. Yawn.

Somewhere else, this might not be a big deal, but in a Ratchet & Clank game, it just feels...off.

Ratchet & Clank with multiplayer works--mostly. Unfortunately, the emphasis on chaos over control doesn’t always favor fun, which means multiplayer thrill seekers are left with a sometimes unsatisfying experience and Rachet & Clank diehards may want to think about replaying an already released game to get their fix.

Patrick Klepek on Google+
53 Comments
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Posted by Scodiac

I think I may pick it up when it drops down in price then. Still should be some fun even if it doesn't have the quality of the older Ratchet games.

Posted by nick_verissimo

Sort of what I expected, but my brother and I have played almost all of these games and co-op one is right up our alley. I'll probably get it for him for Christmas or something...

Posted by MooseyMcMan

Patrick is still invisible!

Moderator
Posted by sissylion

Where is Patrick's poorly-drawn, last-minute review portrait?

Posted by Wuddel

Too bad :(

Posted by Tan

Patrick really needs a portrait :(

Posted by adamfedoruk

But where is my Groovitron?

Posted by fargofallout

Thanks, Patrick. I've really been on the fence on this one, because I knew it was built around mutiplayer, and I wanted to know if it's worth it to go it alone. There are many other games for me to get into, so this one is going to the bottom of my priority. Which is a bummer, because I really like Ratchet & Clank games, but I don't want them dumbed down.

Posted by Campbell000

Two words: Captain Qwark

Posted by Picard

Why no cartoon? Why a fro?

Posted by wsowen02

Everything I have seen of this game makes it look like a Ratchet game that wasn't made by Insomniac. All the pieces are there, but it's missing something I can't quite put my finger on.

Posted by Joker369

Ghost man wrote this review 

Posted by Krummey

Picked this up as an Xmas gift for my son. Left it out on the fucking table for him to see. Oh well.

We played the last few Ratchet games hot-controller style. I'm sure we'll have a good time with this.

Posted by Lava

I have been playing it and I agree playing with more people is the way to go. I think everyone needs to remember that this was produced by th North Carolina Insomniac Games studio, not all the folks in California who have pumped out AMAZING R&C; games. It's decent and I enjoy the banter between characters. A decent game for the guys and me on my dorm floor.

Posted by Dallas_Raines

I love Ratchet and Clank, but I gotta skip this one. I hate soloing multiplayer games.

Posted by Cyrisaurus

Insomniac sucks now... while Naughty Dog and Sucker Punch go on to prove their worth to PS3 owners.

Posted by Ares42

Gotten about halfway in so far, and it's definitely a step back compared to Crack in Time. What makes it even sadder is that Crack in Time already had several things that could've been refined to make it even better. It's still RnC though, light-hearted fun. Personally it's definitely been a nice contrast after playing Dark Souls for almost 2 weeks though :P Wish they had chosen to refine rather than change things up, especially since it really seems like it's gonna be the last one. Maybe Insomniac just ran out of steam mid-production ?

Posted by Bevinsky

Watching the Quick Look of this just made me want to go and play the originals again. Insomniac really started going in the wrong direction after Deadlocked.

Don't get me wrong, I rather liked Tools of Destruction and A Crack in Time (though a bit less), but they just didn't feel right. They were both utterly linear, and the writing was not as witty as the previous games. It felt more like bad slapstick.

As Patrick said, I wouldn't be surprised if this was the last R&C game, and judging by the way it's going, I wouldn't be very sad about it either.

Online
Posted by zombie2011

Going Commando and Up Your Arsenal were good everything after that was just the same and got pretty stale.

Posted by Afroman269
...but might not be for you.

That sums up my stance on this game.

Posted by Wraxend

Everything I've seen about this has screamed mediocre and it looks like I was right. I'm guessing Insomniacs TeamB was working on this while TeamA was on Resistance3.

Posted by MasturbatingestBear

They should just have Patrick draw a version of himself in paint and make that his portrait.

Posted by Ujio

I watched (and enjoyed) the QL for this game last night and it's not my type of game. Hopefully this will not be the last game in this great series as Patrick alludes to in that QL, and we will get treated to a proper send-off of the series later on down the road.

Posted by Tikicobra

The more I play of this game the more I like. Yeah it's got problems, but it's fun.

Posted by hallgren

@Tikicobra said:

The more I play of this game the more I like. Yeah it's got problems, but it's fun.

I couldn't agree more with this statement the game is just pure fun!!

Posted by Bumbuliuz

Not sure what to think of it. I'm getting it free so I can't really complain. But what I saw of the quick-look didn't really impress me. I really loved the other PS3 games, those were my first Ratchet and Clank games.

Hopefully like Patrick said it's fine playing 2 at a time. I'm thinking about playing it with my daughter.

Edited by lockwoodx

Too generous. The review score has nothing to do with the attitudes expressed during the quick look. Why does the GB staff fuck with me like this. One week you're talking about price and value like you care about your viewers, and the next week it's back to the same old bullshit with this bunk review of a crap generic title?

Posted by MormonWarrior

I'd like to disagree on a point: I think the Ratchet & Clank games are okay action games, but they're not very good platformers. That's a void that only Mario's filled this generation and it's really bumming me out. There's lots of good 2D platformers but a real dearth of good 3D ones.

Posted by ColinWright

Ghost Patrick is the deadliest of Patricks.

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Posted by EgoCheck616

@wsowen02 said:

Everything I have seen of this game makes it look like a Ratchet game that wasn't made by Insomniac. All the pieces are there, but it's missing something I can't quite put my finger on.

Posted by I_smell

Anyone else keep seein the thumbnail on this and thinking it's a Trenched screenshot?

Posted by BlueWolverine

Am I the only one who hates the words "casual" and "hardcore?"

Posted by Skald

Sterling gave it a 4/10.

The tweets went on and on and on.

Posted by buzz_killington

Yeah, I agree with Patrick in that if you haven't played A Crack in Time, you're missing out. That is one fantastic game.

Posted by Juicebox

R.I.P

Sony wii.

Posted by Enigma777

Shame. ACiT was absolutely fantastic! 

Edited by MariachiMacabre

Patrick needs a portrait. Hiding that wonderful afro is not acceptable.

Also, I'll still probably end up getting this since my brother and I have always wanted a co-op experience in one of our favorite series.

Edited by Mexican_Brownie

Good review, Patrick.

I probably shouldn't be saying anything because I haven't played this game or any of the PS3 R&C games ( No PS3 but they are the first games I'm planning on playing whenever I finally get a PS3), but it's a shame this game apparently doesn't deliver a great multiplayer experience because I honestly feel like there is a market for games that do what All 4 One tries to do.

Why doesn't Insomniac just do a Rachet & Clank game focused on co-op? Weapon combos with Insominiac's crazy ass weapons and cool co-op puzzles? I think it could be really cool.

Posted by GunstarRed

As a massive, massive Ratchet fan it bums me out that I'm not being all "Fuck Batman..I'm getting this" about the game. The demo/beta thing shows the game is good, fine, whatever but this really isn't what I wanted at all from the series despite knowing deep down in my heart theyve pushed the Ratchet games as far as that formula could go. A crack in time is one of the best games of this generation and I expected more. I'm sure I'll play it by the end of the year, but they need to give R&C a long, long break.

Posted by shinboy630

I've played every R&C game except the PSP ones, but this looks like one that I'm gonna hold off on till it drops on amazon. looks like it could be fun with all 4 people in the same room though

Posted by Cornman89

That blank spot next to the review score just fills me with sadness.

Posted by DJJoeJoe

@Cornman89 said:

That blank spot next to the review score just fills me with sadness.

I know :( It should be pretty awesome though, there is already art done for patrick on the bombcast page I assume review rating images are coming.

Posted by Ben99

good review .

Posted by Rekt_Hed
@sissylion

Where is Patrick's poorly-drawn, last-minute review portrait?

At this point I'd even except a picture of ratchet with a curly Afro wig
Posted by Addfwyn

@Buzzkill: I don't think being generic is really the game's problem. It's pretty fun and a really interesting concept that just isn't executed necessarily as well as it could be. I think that's a pretty fair review score all things considered. If you like a bit of chaotic mayhem and have friends to play it with, it can be a pretty enjoyable experience. It's not some incredibly generic platformer. The problem tends to be how to control that chaos (and it doesn't so well) and fitting the Ratchet series into a co-op situation. It can still be tons of fun with the right people and mindset though, much like New Super Mario Brothers.

Posted by jkuc316

Looks like Patrick replaced Vinny at reviewing Insomniac games

Posted by rmanthorp

I used to love the Ratchet series :<

Moderator
Posted by Zolfe

i'm still not going to be reading reviews written by a ghost, i don't trust ghosts

Posted by swiller

I agree with most all the complaints from the reviews I read, but if you are interested in picking it up or a Ratchet fan it is still ALOT OF FUN and worthwhile. I have it rented, but after 2 nights, it's a buy. btw, get at K-mart ($20 game credit this week).

It seems to have alot of content to go through, fun to play online with strangers, replayable, and great if you have kids. 2 other problems I have. 1. New players will start with only one gun, that will run out of ammo. Not a good introduction. 2. Online will disconnect occasionally, although starting a game is very fast. Despite it all, fun and frantic.

Posted by swiller

@fargofallout: I was pretty much like you. Single player and multi online with strangers is still pretty fun, to go with ocassional couch co-op. Dispite the issues, playin it has won me over. A nice companion piece to CofT. Actually it helps it's not the same.

Also, the colorful, lighthearted play is refreshing between Batman: AC, GoW 3 and other such stuff I have been playing. If you crave for it, it will satisfy.

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