Ratchet and Clank: All 4 One is a game I really want to love. I adore the series, always have, but I can’t help but feel that the series’ best gameplay aspect – the always-explosive and accessible shooting mechanics – has been compromised in favour of a puzzle-centric co-operative experience. That’s my main gripe with this experience. Thankfully All 4 One offers challenging and well-designed puzzles, and while it might not feel like a traditional Ratchet & Clank experience, this co-op offering is a fun team-based adventure.
What Ratchet & Clank: All 4 One Got Right
Great Co-op Gameplay – A seamless and smooth co-op system allows you to play with up to three friends, online or offline. The game is quite obviously molded around a cooperative experience and it’s best played with at least one other player. The AI does a decent job of working with you if you’re on your own, but it isn’t anywhere near as effective and organized as a team of human players.
Fantastic Puzzles – Ratchet & Clank: All 4 One isn’t especially challenging, but its puzzles offer insane amounts of fun. They dictate a high level of planning and efficiency from all players, with the game is designed in such a way that only teamwork will lead to a solved puzzle. Approaching puzzles without any planning will just contribute to a failed effort. There is a strong emphasis on teamwork, aggressively drilled home via objectives only met by a commitment to working alongside your friends. The puzzles help define Ratchet & Clank as team-centric experience, distanced from the rather individualistic shooting experiences its predecessors offered.
Awesome Vehicles – Put simply, the vehicle sequences in All 4 One are a tonne of fun. They mix the gameplay up considerably next to the platforming and puzzle elements, adding a fast sense of explosive action and constant dodging that will keep your eyes peeled to the screen. Things get fast, quickly, as you drive, slide and even fly your way through seemingly countless hoards of obstacles and enemies. It makes for some great adrenaline-fueled mayhem and is especially satisfying with friends.
What Ratchet & Clank: All 4 One Got Wrong
Boss Battles – The bosses you’ll face throughout All 4 One aren’t especially enticing or memorable, making for one of the more disappointing aspects of the series. They can certainly be satisfying and explosive, but they’re often plagued by difficulty levels that seem out of place next to other parts of the experience. They can be great but it’s when they tread into the long and tedious category, as they so often do, that they hurt the overall pacing of the All 4 One experience.
Shooting – Often considered to be the bread and butter of the Ratchet & Clank experience, shooting combat has been diluted in All 4 One thanks to a broken targeting system and frustrating camera angels. Due in part to the four different characters being on screen at any one moment, the action feels distant and not anywhere near as engaging and satisfying as in other games in the series. Furthermore, the game often targets the wrong enemies, leading to frustrating deaths that could very well have been avoiding. It’s any wonder how else the system could have been implemented, though, as this design choice seems to have been chosen to complement the cooperative nature of the game.
The Final Verdict
While Ratchet & Clank: All 4 One maintains the charming humor and presentation of other games in the series, it’s let down by shooting parts quite clearly compromised by a shift towards a more team-centric experience. That said, the puzzle, platforming and vehicle sequences make for fantastic cooperative moments, quite obviously built around team play. Ratchet & Clanks: All 4 One might not incorporate the shooting experience we’ve all come to love about the series, but it gets cooperative gameplay down pat, for the most part, making it a great choice for fans of team-based adventure games.
It’s definitely not perfect, and the camera and pacing seem to dilute the worth of the shooting. However, the puzzles and vehicle sequences make for insanely fun cooperative moments.
It’s not awful but it certainly seems to have lost the visual pizazz of its predecessors. The camera has been taken up to accommodate more players on the screen, contributing to a toned down presentation.
A great all-round soundtrack and sound effects with superb voice acting.
Great number of unlockables for the weapons, as frustrating as the shooting elements can be. Characters add variety and justification for multiple playthroughs.
A fun and family-friendly co-op romp.