PS3 Reviews: Ratchet & Clank: All 4 One Review

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Ratchet & Clank: All 4 One Review

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Graphics:

 

7.2

Gameplay:

 

7.8

Sound:

 

7.6

Control:

 

7.4

Replay Value:

 

7.5

Overall Rating:       7.5

 

 

Online Gameplay:

Not Rated

Publisher:

SCEA

Developer:

Insomniac Games

Number Of Players:

1-4

Genre:

Action/Adventure

One stellar franchise has always allowed us to relax and smile. It’s challenging without being frustrating and colorful without being kiddy. It’s genuinely humorous and often highly creative and inventive. It’s Ratchet & Clank and we’ve already seen several top-notch iterations in the PS3 generation; they’re all worthy adventures and great fun for all ages. But I have to say, despite a solid attempt at cooperative entertainment, Ratchet & Clank: All 4 One seems to sacrifice a few too many elements for the sake of the multiplayer boom.

The graphics are about what you’d expect: vibrant with plenty of clean, pleasing special effects and effective backgrounds. As I’ll talk about later, many of the set pieces are fantastic, and the team always excels when it comes to creativity and variety. However, one of the biggest sacrifices Insomniac was forced to make involves the graphics: clearly, they had to scale them back in order to support the co-op concept; this visual presentation is vintage Ratchet, but it just doesn’t have the same refinement and flair as the single-player-oriented title, A Crack in Time.

The audio has always been great in these games and with the exception of a few less-than-invigorating pieces of music, All 4 One comes through in fine shape. The voice performances are great and you never get tired of the wisecracking and wry one-liners. Having many of the main characters from the franchise involved is a bonus in this respect. The soundtrack isn’t bad; it just doesn’t seem to have the same sort of impact I remember from past iterations. And as humorous as some of the dialogue is, too many lines are repeated too often.

This team-based adventure features the ol’ duo, Ratchet and Clank, who are always enjoyable. They’re joined by two unlikely allies: Captain Quark and the evil Dr. Nefarious…how could Ratchet’s arch-enemy become a friend, you ask? Well, partly so Insomniac could give us four characters for four-player co-op fun, and partly because…well, we’re not entirely sure. Whatever, they’re all funny. Quark has been elected president for some bizarre reason, and you just have to laugh at his self-congratulatory, over-the-top false bravado.

As for the gameplay, it’s the standard combination of third-person shooting, platforming, and puzzle-solving, the latter being more entertaining when playing with friends (more on that in a minute). The biggest problem I have with the game involves that shooting mechanic: in past entries, you have full control; you can aim manually or use a lock-on feature. In this game, the developers took a slightly different approach to allow for a more accessible style that supports multiple players. It works but only to a certain extent.

Firstly, the camera sits above the action at all times, and the right analog stick selects your weapon. Then you just utilize the lock-on feature; it’s your only option. Unfortunately, this auto-lock-on element doesn’t always pick out the best targets, so you’re frequently switching around and asking yourself, “why would I want to target that first?” The AI isn’t bad, as they will often fire at the same target you’ve got in your crosshairs – thereby resulting in the filling of a special meter that deals more damage – but this isn’t refined enough, either.

The purpose of all teammates aiming at the same target is obvious; Insomniac wanted to encourage cooperative teamwork. I understand that. But this also results in a rinse-and-repeat scenario where you and your friends approach the same enemies in the exact same way. And while we’re on the subject of drawbacks, I have to mention the new upgrade system. Before, we’d just keep using a certain weapon and it’d get more powerful. But now, you use bolts you’ve collected to upgrade your guns, which seems perfectly logical, but it doesn’t encourage the same kind of experimentation.

That all being said, the weapons are still a joy. Insomniac makes the best weapons for their games; R&C and Resistance have the most creative, diverse and effective weapon inventories, and All 4 One is no exception. You just gotta love these crazy firearms, some of which are devices Dr. Seuss couldn’t have imagined on his best day. And there are so many of them! Although the new upgrade system doesn’t force you to keep switching back and forth to power up each weapon, you still want to use ‘em all.

The rest of the gameplay is fine. There’s solid, reliable control behind the platforming and despite the fixed camera that can be problematic (again, a result of the new multiplayer angle), this quest is accessible. Plus, the creativity doesn’t end with the weapons; there are some tremendous set pieces that see your heroes dealing with all sorts of obstacles, and that includes saw blades, giant robots, and jetpack sequences that add nice flavor to the package. The designers really keep you into the game by delivering a fair amount of variety and diversity.

As you might expect, although you can play by yourself, playing with others is preferable. The camera gets even more annoying when you do, though, and as mentioned above, the new targeting and upgrade systems make the gameplay feel more erratic and restrictive. Many of the puzzles are well-designed, the various gameplay sequences (many of which include vehicles) offer an appreciated change of pace, and there’s always plenty to see and do. But this overall shift and scaling back for the sake of multiplayer…I dunno, I’m just not feeling it as much.

The Good: Humorous, charming atmosphere. Plenty of creativity and variety. Co-op gameplay is fun. Several puzzles are very well designed. Animations are fluid and control is solid.

The Bad: Scaled-back graphics. Camera and lock-on problems. Shooting mechanic feels bland. New elements feel more like sacrifices.

The Ugly: “Stop trying to lock on to that enemy!”

10/24/2011 Ben Dutka

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Comments (15 posts)

AshT
Monday, October 24, 2011 @ 1:00:04 PM
Reply

hmmm, guess i shud play R&C: ACIT again, thanks Ben, great review,
On the side note when can we expect Uncharted 3 review

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Victor321
Monday, October 24, 2011 @ 1:20:02 PM
Reply

Good review, and I personally don't mind the co-op nature of the latest R&C entry. Aside from Deadlocked and Up Your Arsenal, I don't mind if Insomniac Games experiments with the multi-player or co-op designs and try to do something different.

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kevinater321
Monday, October 24, 2011 @ 1:59:52 PM
Reply

Looks like just a rent for me, which is disappointing because this is series that made me love gaming, and it would be the first i don't have on my shelf.

I just wish i could get control over the camera. If only it looked and played like a regular ratchet game but with online and split screen co-op...

Last edited by kevinater321 on 10/24/2011 2:02:07 PM

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Shams
Monday, October 24, 2011 @ 2:23:35 PM
Reply

I already got it (thanks to do the kmart deal last week). But, the review sounds about right.

The graphics are quite impressive, though. I've heard it's the best implementation of 3D, yet, (i think the 60fps was scaled back to the 30fps for the sake of 3d)and in more than a couple of sessions, I've heard the online chatter of ooohs and aaahs, when we happened upon a beautiful vista. And in only a game of this type, taking place in the polaris galaxy, will you find such a vibrant color palette, brilliant glowing nuts and bolts and explosions, and lively animations. The voice acting is nothing short of the professionalism and comedy of what is to be expected from R&C franchise, which frequently tickles my funny bone making me giggle and laugh outloud.

So, I'd give the graphics something between an 8 and a 9, and the sound a 9+. But, the overall score of 7.5, I'm in agreement with until I playthrough it some more. I only play it in online coop, as this is where the game shines. Otherwise, there'd be no shaking the feeling that it is only R&C lite, with even less exploration than Quest for Booty. But to repeat myself, when you do have at least one other person to play with, it is genuinely fun.

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TheOldOne
Monday, October 24, 2011 @ 2:56:42 PM
Reply

If you liked the series don't hesitate to get this one. I have been playing coop with my kiddo for some time and it's a blast (solo is also good, btw). It's an 8+ score on the fun factor alone. I respect Ben's review anyway.

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ebterp
Monday, October 24, 2011 @ 2:57:58 PM
Reply

I am not going to argue about the score necessarily but I will tell you that the enjoyment that this game has brought by allowing me to play side by side with my 5yo son has been priceless!!!! There aren't many games that allow this dynamic and its awesome in that regards...this is definitely more of a young kids game in that respect!

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Jawknee
Monday, October 24, 2011 @ 4:08:50 PM
Reply

Good review. Will pick this up at some point. Can't afford anymore games this year. Battlefield 3, Uncharted 3 and The Legend of Zelda Skyward Sword are it for me.

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Neo_Aeon666
Monday, October 24, 2011 @ 4:19:56 PM

Did you hear anything about Nintendo fixing Link's broom in the butt problem? I really want to get Skyward Swd but when I tried it this summer I was sad that Link was so freaking stiff.

I am asking you since you seem to know alot about Ninty's games. Maybe you heard things I didn't.

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Monday, October 24, 2011 @ 5:20:16 PM
Reply

For those playing it with their kids, I'm sure it's better than the 7.5 I gave it. I know the co-op is better; I tried it.

But I can't very well ignore the single-player aspect, and I can't ignore the mechanical issues that are more prominent than in past Ratchets.

That being said, I would wholeheartedly recommend it as a bonding thing between parent and child. ;)

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maxpontiac
Monday, October 24, 2011 @ 7:48:56 PM

Thanks Ben. Good to know.

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Beamboom
Wednesday, October 26, 2011 @ 2:33:51 PM

Yeah that was a nice addendum. I'll get this after all.

Last edited by Beamboom on 10/26/2011 2:34:40 PM

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___________
Tuesday, October 25, 2011 @ 4:57:04 AM
Reply

this is the biggest abomination since superman 64!
picked it up today, played it for exactly 48 minutes then took it back.
come on insomniac, WTF is this sh*t!?
what have you done to my beloved lombax?
i swear to god if they leave my favourite series of all time on this crap there going to wish they found a horses head in their bed!

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Tuesday, October 25, 2011 @ 3:37:07 PM

Wow.

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___________
Wednesday, October 26, 2011 @ 9:23:44 AM

thats all?
:(

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PasteNuggs
Tuesday, October 25, 2011 @ 10:40:24 PM
Reply

I was wondering if this review was gonna pop up around here at a some point. It makes me sad that it's pretty clear that Insomniac wants to start going more co-op oriented with this and Overstrike. I don't mind games games with a co-op focus as long as the AI in the single player aren't completely worthless. With that said I will get this later. Still working on ACiT.

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