Ratchet & Clank All 4 One is the type of game that you’re either going to freak about or scoff at sarcastically.
Insomniac Games have been slogging away the Ratchet & Clank franchise since 2002, releasing 9 titles across the PlayStation platform iterations. Through years of determination (having been cast into the shadow of Naughty Dog’s Crash Bandicoot and Jax and Daxter) and at the risk of infuriating Naughty Dog fan boys, I feel that Insomniac Games have emerged as the premiere developer on the Playstation platform.
The game starts off with our two hallowed heroes being interviewed after their triumphant victory/destruction over/of Doctor Nefarious; however they are cordially informed that he has returned! Captain Qwark has now come into power as the Galactic President of the Polaris Galaxy – how he got into that position of power no one with an above IQ 12 or outside the Bush administration would know.
With the fear of a Nefarious retaliation, our heroes decide to accompany President Qwark to receive his Intergalactic Tool of Justice award on planet Igliak; and surprise surprise, it’s a trap set up by Dr. Nefarious. Not too give too much away – a rather large energy absorbing monster aka Z’Grute is reanimated and is slithering around Luminopolos inflicting Eskom like damage on all its hapless citizens and all four of the game’s characters are thrown into the heat of battle.
Uupon defeating the mighty Z’Grute (which after a few hours of playing Ratchet and Clank All 4 one you’ll soon realise is a rather small fish in this extremely creative sea), our hero’s and villain are knocked out and taken aboard what appears to be a rather small death star where they are bound and forced together – the only way out is for them to rely on one another and work together (ahhh).
From the main menu you can select to play offline, play online, and view your profile, along with an options menu and an extra’s menu.
Whether you choose online or offline mode you still play through the same levels and the same story. The game is divided into nine main levels, which each have between 3 and 5 sub-levels.
The main playing area of the levels are rather detailed, and you can see that a great amount of effort was put into character modelling. The tone and feel that has been created is a hybrid of Reboot (Dr Nefarious is a slightly diluted Megabyte), Robots, Megamind, Despicable Me, Wall-E and Portal 2.
I did find myself (as with most of the DreamWorks films) wishing more detail was put into the background animation and effects. There are times where they are stellar and at other times they are bland and monotonous. The CGI clips are truly amazing and very well polished – some of them are even on par with some of Pixar’s work from early days. In game clips are quite slick but not on the same level.
There are 12 weapons to buy and upgrade, and you can see that Insomniac Games have opened up their mental ward and released the full power of their collective creative mental minds. The weapons range from the standard comboblaster through to the destructive powers of the thunder smack which unleashes the awesome power of a thunder storm upon your hapless victim.
Although there are four different characters which each have one unique melee move, all of them are effectively the same move, just dressed up in a different skin. Whilst this is not particularly creative for an Insomniac Games title, I think it works very well with the game’s primary dynamic which is Multiplayer.
Multiplayer is the heart of Ratchet and Clank All 4 One, and as the title suggests in a rather three musketeerish fashion, it is what makes this game absolutely awesome.
There are times while playing this that I was taken back to the original T.M.N.T arcade game. You have to work as a team to defeat bosses and progress. To effectively beat bosses in a timely manner, you all have to use the same weapon against it; in doing so the hit damage dealt by a weapon is doubled, and in some cases quadrupled, thus killing the enemy very quickly.
Now this might sound like a relatively straight forward task, but to get 4 people sitting in the same room to achieve this is quite a monumental task, specifically if they are all non gamers/children/fiancé. This task becomes almost impossible when you’re playing with a bunch of 7 year old noobs online and it makes the game frustrating. However once said fiancé/friend/7 year old noobsplays with you and you gain an understanding of each other’s roles, Ratchet and Clank All 4 one truly shines.
When you attack an enemy and all of you have fully upgraded weapons this game is super awesome; and when only one of the four is fully upgraded the challenge that the game presents you with is so addictive that you just have to go back for more.
I will say that I preferred playing this game with just two characters on screen because as soon as you add a third or fourth the mayhem and chaos does become slightly overwhelming. I never thought that I would see my ps3 lag but there was so much going on at one point that the games performance did cause my beautiful black beast to pant …slightly.
The individual elements that make this game great are borrowed from classic platformers. When I first donned the jetpack I immediately felt as though I was navigating Earth Worm Jim in his glass bubble – this time in HD. In the same sequence I felt like was frantically trying to get Crash out of the way of the over sized Indiana Jones boulder.
The game’s sound is relatively impressive; the music, whilst repetitive at times, does place emphasises on the action and complements it rather well. The voice acting is done well and really supports the character’s visuals; all of the character’s voices match their outward appearance and completement the overall character design.
Overall. I feel that Ratchet & Clank All 4 One is rather well balanced; it is just slightly on the long side and does become somewhat repetitive at times. However, I have always found that great platformers have repetitive elements in them. The graphics, whilst not mind blowing. are pretty decent and the same is true of the sound.
This game is a must-buy for a parent who has a children aged between 7 and 12; I had loads of fun playing it with my nephew. It will keep them occupied for hours and it’s not too violent. Overall a fantastic game which has arrived just in time for the long school holidays.Forum discussion