The lights are on
If you read our review of Insomniac's excellent co-op adventure, Ratchet & Clank: All 4 One, then you already know I enjoyed the game thoroughly. You also may recall a complaint I had about local co-op partners losing all those valuable bolts and weapons when dropping out of the game. We spoke with an Insomniac representative recently who explained that this is a very rare bug that the company is looking into.
Here's my criticism of the game's drop-in/drop-out co-op based on the experience I had with the game:
Progress can only be saved to the console-owner’s profile, so all those hard-earned bolts and weapons your friends earned playing locally will be lost when they drop out. If buddies decide to join your game in later acts, they begin with a measly peashooter. Though bolts are plentiful late in the game, new local players have to endure countless deaths before amassing an adequate arsenal. This presents a frustrating conundrum – the game shines brightest when played on a couch with friends, but unless you plan on one 12-hour marathon session, your buddies will have to start from scratch next time. The only way for everyone to save their gear is to play on independent profiles online, which removes the joy of playing side by side. These qualms aren’t dealbreakers, but gamers without a healthy reserve of patience should consider them."
By Insomniac's description, this is a rare bug that the developer is researching and will be fixing for the few afflicted. In actuality, local co-op players will be able to save the progress they make with characters when they leave a game. Making matters a bit more interesting, I've since booted up the game and had trouble replicating the issue. While this is great news, it doesn't change the fact that the bug hindered my time reviewing the game.
Shaun McCabe, product director at Insomniac Games, explains the design decision to have progress tied to individual characters:
"We tied player progression to each character for a couple for reasons. Most importantly, we don't want anyone to miss out on the core Ratchet & Clank experience: collecting bolts and customizing your weapon arsenal. And we also wanted to any discourage Nefarious behavior like one hero simply joining a more experienced player and mooching off their progress. "
Hopefully my allegedly exceptional misfortune with the game doesn't plague you and your friends adventure through the excellent title.