How do you fit a baby Tyrannosaurus Rex into the barrel of a gun? Developer Insomniac Games doesn’t care about the logistics. In Ratchet and Clank: All 4 One, they just want you to know they did it. And if you target the same baddie as your buddies, the infant terrible thunder lizards grow and become even more awesome at attacking.
This emphasis on teamwork is the core of All 4 One. Nearly every facet of the gameplay has been focused on enticing and, more often than not, requiring players to work together. We had to cooperate to open valves and steer platforms over pits of poisonous gas, and it all felt like a natural extension of the series – not a tacked-on, ill-conceived afterthought.
When we were lagging behind an ally through a tricky platforming area, all it took to catch up was a press of the grapple button to pull us toward our closest compatriot. This did wonders to alleviate the frustration stemming from our rusty platforming skills, and it kept the flow of the game moving at a brisk pace.
Having multiple players on one screen can make it a pain to follow just what parts of the havoc your character is wreaking, but we were pleasantly surprised at how easy it was to keep track of the action. Usually we can’t tell what we’re doing or who we’re controlling within minutes of a game like this, but somehow that wasn’t ever an issue here, even with upgrade Bolts flying and with groups of enemies onscreen. That could change with four players instead of two, though.
Instead of a user-controlled camera, All 4 One’s static viewpoint gives players a full view of the play area, smartly moving when needed. And, unlike earlier Ratchet games from the PS3-era, it doesn’t inhibit play or feel stiff at all - with the ability to look around taken out of your hands, nothing obstructs what you need to see when you need to see it.
All 4 One features local and online co-op for up to four players and allows for mixing and matching of any combination of those online and offline players – so three couch co-op pals can play with an internet dude. We spent a chunk of time playing solo, too, and while it was still a blast, it felt narrower in scope compared to previous lombax searches. We don’t know if we’d need to span the universe with this one, though.
Jun 9, 2011