The lights are on
What new ideas the game brings to the table and how well old ideas are presented.
How good a game looks, taking into account any flaws such as bad collision or pop-up.
Does the game’s music and sound effects get you involved or do they make you resolve to always play with the volume down?
Basically, the controller to human interface. The less you think about the hunk of plastic in your hands, the better the playability.
Flat out, just how fun the game is to play. The most important factor in rating a game.
Co-op is king in this generation of video games. We’ve spent many
gleeful hours alongside friends aerating zombies, enemy soldiers, and
alien invaders in myriad first-person shooters. While face-shooting is
entertaining, sometimes we want a break from all the gritty violence.
Ratchet & Clank: All 4 One lets us continue shooting stuff with our
friends while delivering gorgeous cartoony visuals, inventive weaponry,
manic gameplay switch-ups, and more witty dialogue than you can shake an
The story picks up with the bumbling President
Quark preparing an acceptance speech for his Intergalactic Tool of
Justice Award. Things go sour when recurring bad guy Dr. Nefarious
attempts to take out Ratchet and the crew. Things go from bad to worse
when a malevolent force called The Collector interrupts Nefarious’
attack by unleashing a monstrous beast on the city. The four dubious
partners must put aside their differences to fight the rampaging
monster, discover why The Collector is systematically harvesting
creatures around the galaxy, and put an end to it. All 4 One’s story
sports all the lighthearted and fast-paced action fans of The Incredibles
and other CG masterpieces have come to love. Don’t let the new co-op
features cause any doubts: This is another full-fledged Ratchet &
The characters and their interactions are
another part of what makes this entry so charming. At one point the gang
and a gigantic robot companion infiltrate a secured compound. When the
robot uses his big metal hand to cover the jumbo-sized keypad while
entering the passcode, he glares at the quartet as he punches in the
last digit. I’ll also never forget the one-liners of robo-mercenary Mr.
Zircon, who shouts in monotone, “Mr. Zircon does not require bolts, his
only currency is pain.” The dialogue and absurd situations had me
snickering consistently throughout.
Mr. Zircon is just one of many
inventive tools of destruction at your disposal in All 4 One. Cycling
through crazy weaponry has always been a highlight of the series, and
the hijinks only become more rewarding with friends. For instance, one
player can stun an enemy with an electric whip while the others scorch
it with flamethrowers. Everyone’s fire rate increases as players bombard
foes with the same weaponry, which culminates in a satisfying slow-mo
explosion. Experimenting with Insomniac’s wacky weapons and discovering
which combinations work best together is an enthralling game in and of
itself. Though I’m fond of the trusty Combustor rifle, I rarely left the
barrel of any gun cool for too long.
All 4 One’s variety is
represented by more than just a diverse weapon set. You can barely
adventure fifteen minutes without encountering a new enemy type or
gameplay mechanic. I loved waterskiing ahead of a giant killer fish’s
snapping maw – a battle that concludes with an electric coup de grace
atop a lighthouse. I also enjoyed working as a team to guide a glowing
power crystal through a dark forest to keep carnivorous plants at bay.
Cooperating with friends to steer a raft down a river or pilot a hover
car through a bustling city is a hilarious exercise in democratic
gameplay. If you’re the lone wolf type, a brilliant AI partner makes for
a fulfilling single-player experience. I marveled at how effectively my
computer-controlled helper dispatched enemies and aided in
puzzle-solving. If you need to pass Clank a key to open a door, he’ll be
on the opposite end of a chasm waiting to catch it without missing a
Despite my appreciation of the game, a few odd choices in
the drop-in/drop-out co-op hold back the game from achieving nirvana.
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
All 4 One’s insane amount of variety will satisfy
both fans of the series and gamers interested in a change of pace. The
game’s sense of humor alone is sufficient grounds for recommendation.
Insomniac’s latest cooperative treat is a breath of fresh air.
*Click here to hear Insomniac's explanation of our co-op progress bug.