The Day The Lombax Died

Ratchet and Clank: All 4 One just isn't that much fun.
Author: Aram Lecis
Published: October 29, 2011
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Ratchet and Clank have had myriad adventures at this point. I'm losing count of the times they pulled Captain Qwark's ass out of the fire or put an end to a nefarious plot by Dr. Nefarious. This dynamic duo has been all over the PS2, PSP, PSN and PS3, and Clank even took off on his own for a little bit of espionage in Secret Agent Clank. Across all those iterations, we've always been treated to some of the finest platforming, deepest weapon selections, engaging minigames and, most notably, excellent humor. So my expectations were high when I first heard about Ratchet and Clank: All 4 One, Insomniac Games latest adventure for the pair.


Let's cut to the chase right out of the gate. If you like the Ratchet and Clank series for the humor and the characters alone, you'll probably be relatively satisfied with All 4 One. If it's the platforming, weapon leveling up and side games you were into, I have some very upsetting news for you. This game has gone and taken the series in a brand new direction. Gone is the platforming. Gone is the ability to level up your weapons by using them. Gone, for the most part, are the sequences that break up the action with little minigames. So what exactly IS this game, you ask? Well, at the core it's a 4-player co-op shooter that is much closer to games like Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance or Champions of Norrath than it is to any of the older entries in the series. Alas, it lacks some of the polish of those last generation titles, making this perhaps the weakest entry in the series yet.

Before I go into a litany of problems I have with All 4 One, let me first talk about the game and some of the high points. If you've got 3 friends either online or at home (but not both) then there aren't too many games more suited to you all getting together and having a grand old time. Clearly designed from the bottom up for grouping, the game lets you both help and grief each other to no end, and in the right situation the experience of cavorting around throughout the levels together will trump anything the game itself will provide. This is a great opportunity to socialize with your pals while paying a minimal amount of attention to actually, you know, playing the game.

The game's introduction sets the tone, as we see Ratchet and Clank enjoying retirement and watching recently elected Galactic President Qwark doing his best to not have any opinions on current events. Of course these idyllic times don't last as Qwark invites Ratchet and Clank to an awards ceremony where he is being feted as an "Intergalactic Tool of Justice". Their old foe Dr. Nefarious shows up and unleashes a beast to attack the trio, but everything backfires and soon all four find themselves in a strange facility being "tested" by a GLaDOS sort of AI that doesn't do a very good job of paying homage to Portal 2. Once this tutorial section is passed, you'll be into the game proper.
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