Ratchet and Clank: All 4 One Preview (Beta)
By Edward Cheng
If youve ever played Call of Duty, Uncharted, or Resistance, its becoming clearer that multiplayer, especially online, is something that is expected of many games with few exceptions; its not just about the single player story and campaign anymore, but rather also an enjoyable experience that a person can share with their friends and family. So what happens when you have game that throws you the opportunity of multiplayer right from the start? Insomniac Games takes a swing at in their latest title in the Ratchet and Clank series, Ratchet and Clank: All 4 One.
The game picks up after A Crack in Time, with the main protagonists Ratchet and Clank wanting to retire from the hero business. After being tricked by Dr. Nefarious and ending up in a situation in which both Ratchet and Clank as well as Dr. Nefarious and Captain Qwark are all captured and stuck on a mysterious planet, the group decides to put aside their differences and work together to survive and return home.
Gameplay is now dictated by the need for cooperation. A departure from previous games, All 4 One focuses on cooperative play as the player can work with up to three other buddies to solve puzzles and beat bad guys. This can be played either online with other people or offline with a friend; in the case that you dont have anyone else to play with, the game provides a Clank AI that works exceedingly well and is almost as good as any human partner. Regardless of which mode you play in, the key to victory will always lie in teamwork. Sometimes youll need to focus all of your fire on a single target or have one person focus on keeping a platform in place while another jumps across so that others can get to the other side. Move too far away from one another and you may fall of the screen. Fail to work together and watch as you get picked apart by the enemies. Despite requiring a high degree of cooperation, All 4 One still manages to be very entertaining.
Two of the Ratchet and Clank series trademarks are still here: ridiculous weapons and over the top humor. Armaments range from your trusty Omniwrench to the overkill worthy Warmonger rocket launcher to the Critter Strike which turns your enemies into cute little pigs and even a vacuum which collects bolts, catapults allies, and even heals health. Weapons become available further into the game and cost bolts in order to purchase. Using all of the same weapon type greatly increases the strength and makes boss battle slightly easier. All 4 One does not disappoint with great voice acting and abundant humor from all characters, especially the violent and maniacal comments of Dr. Nefarious. The four protagonists greatly complement each other and give the player plenty of moments to watch and laugh as they argue and insult one another.
Unfortunately, a few key problems hamper All 4 One's overall enjoyable multiplayer and makes it frustrating at times. The biggest issue comes from the fixed camera position. By limiting what the player can see and what they can potentially do, All 4 One removes the incentive for players to explore the world. It also makes combat more irritating, especially when using weapons such as the Plasmabomb Launcher which fires in an ark which easily disappears off the screen. Gameplay quickly becomes repetitive with the same constant box breaking for bolts, similar and overused traps and tedious boss fights. While its multiplayer aspect and handholding tutorials makes it much more accessible to a younger demographics, lack of some of the series key features will put off older Ratchet and Clank fans.
Simply put Ratchet and Clank: All 4 One changes too much and leaves too little in an effort to be multiplayer friendly. What we end up with is a game that is damned fun, but also damned frustrating because of its flaws.