Let's get this out the way first: going through the PlayStation 3 exclusive Ratchet & Clank: All 4 One in single-player isn't much fun at all. The one AI partner you get while playing solo tends to move slow and All 4 One has clearly been built as a multiplayer-first experience, from the menus to the level design. So is it worthwhile for anyone to play? Let's take a gut check.
Evan Narcisse, the guy who will be reviewing R&C for Kotaku: R&C I've enjoyed nearly all of the Ratchet & Clank games, especially loving how they've given me bright, colorful wonderlands to romp through with crazy weapons. I've never quite wanted to play through them with friends, but that might just be because the possibility wasn't there in a robust way. Well, that possibility is what All 4 One's all about and it forces fans to make a hard decision, because most of the previous games featuring the sci-fi odd couple have been solo affairs. Is the chance to play as both Ratchet and Clank, along with Qwark and Dr. Nefarious, enough to get a game reconfigured to fit a different model of play?
Stephen Totilo, who has played allll the Ratchets, even the one that put him in a suit of armor (what a bad idea). Friends, I have not finished this game, but my gut—and my several sessions with All 4 One—gurgle an affirmative. What great fun I had tethering to the shoes of another player's character as we collectively swung to another platform (someone else was tethered to my shoes!). What a good, simple idea it is to make everyone's weapon power amplify disproportionately when every player shoots at the same space slug at the same time.
Insomniac is pulling a Nintendo in using a bright color palette to present some complicated gameplay scenarios with expert clarity. My home WiFi connection doesn't love this game, but otherwise, things are copacetic. If you have the bandwidth, this is a yes.
A definite yes. I'd argue that Insomniac's trademark inventive weaponry feels even better here since much of it buffs up when used in conjunction with another player-but the world feels smaller and less whiz-bang alive than previous R&C games. Not having any camera control made me feel handcuffed, too.
Just getting around the levels can be fun, though, with a crew of heroes swinging off of each other across giant gaps or everyone running to one side of a giant vehicle to make it turn in a certain direction. And the mini-competitions that pop up during the game will power some friendly trash talk amongst whoever's playing.
Even if the vibrancy of the usual R&C experience feels a little dimmed, the kind of co-operative fun on offer in All 4 One is still too rare in video games. I logged time online with a complete stranger during my time with the game and within minutes I felt like he had my back. That's a rare thing. Compared to something like New Super Mario Brothers Wii, where the game got in its own way, the key is to think of Insomniac's latest as a new evolutionary branch of the same R&C DNA that you already love. Don't go in expecting the same thing that you've already experienced. This is something different.