Note: iOS 9 + Facebook users w/ trouble scrolling: #super sorry# we hope to fix it asap. In the meantime Chrome Mobile is a reach around
hot  /  reviews  /  videos  /  cblogs  /  qposts

Ratchet & Clank: All 4 One

Review: Ratchet & Clank: All 4 One

3:30 PM on 10.19.2011 // Jim Sterling

Everybody's jumping on the co-op bandwagon these days. Be it to fill an imaginary checklist that demands that all games need some sort of multiplayer component or simply to justify the inclusion of an online pass, you can't move without seeing yet another single-player title that has re-tooled its entire structure to make way for multiple players. 

Ratchet & Clank: All 4 One jumps into this new trend by teaming Ratchet, Clank, Captain Qwark, and their nemesis Dr. Nefarious together on an all new adventure. However, there's something to be said for sticking to what you know.

Ratchet & Clank: All 4 One (PlayStation3)
Developer: Insomniac Games
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Released: October 18, 2011 
MSRP: $59.99

While previous Ratchet & Clank games have been single-player affairs, All 4 One is designed entirely around four-player co-op. The contrived story sees our heroes and villain trapped together on an alien world, facing a bigger threat than Nefarious himself has ever posed. They need to rescue a world overseen by a mysterious threat, deal with an embarrassing GLaDOS rip-off, and maybe learn a thing or two about friendship along the way. With that paper-thin plot established, things are set for a surprisingly long list of levels in which the four unlikely allies must shoot incessant waves of enemy robots and take part in simple co-op "puzzles" to progress through each stage. 

All 4 One shares much more in common with top-down arcade shooters than the third-person action found in past installments. The camera is pulled back and slanted, allowing all four characters to appear at the same time. This is where All 4 One's first big problem lies -- the camera is awful. It creates invisible boundaries during platforming sections, so that what may look like a clear jump will actually cause characters to fall to their deaths if a party member is lagging behind. This issue is doubled thanks to the fixed camera positions, making many platforms appear closer than they are while obscuring a number of death-drops. With nearly every level in the game surrounded by chasms, death by pitfall is farcically common, and it's nearly always the fault of the camera. 

The gameplay itself is a rather brainless bit of run n' gun action. Many of the more unique weapons of the Ratchet & Clank series aren't present, and although there are a few interesting guns -- such as one that turns enemies into giant boars -- most of them are fairly common items, such as rocket launchers and electricity cannons. Weapons can be upgraded thrice, although some of them are borderline useless thanks to their short range and inability to target efficiently. The ammo count is also low for each gun, which is a real pain when the game drops players into arenas full of enemies without an ammo pad on which to restock. In one encounter, we had nothing but short-ranged weapons left against an enemy that was out of range. The game does not account for these moments.

Outside of shooting, there are various co-op puzzles to conquer, although they're incredibly shallow and repetitive. They mostly consist of using the Vac-U to suck up objects or players and shoot them onto switches or across chasms. The Hookshot also returns, and players will need to latch onto each other as well as onto grapple points to cross wide gaps. Puzzles scale according to how many players are sharing a game -- requiring all four characters in a full game and less for incomplete teams. In single-player, the main character is helped along by a CPU-controlled Clank, who is pretty efficient at completing co-op activities but prone to jumping down holes or standing in front of enemy fire in any other situation. 

Although it's a cooperative title, the game includes a light competitive element. Players are graded on how many bolts they discover throughout a level, how many indigenous animals they suck up with their Vac-U, how many enemies they defeat, and how many co-op actions they perform. This makes the action a little more compelling, although bragging rights are the only real reward. 

At its best, Ratchet & Clank: All 4 One feels more like a smaller digital game than a full retail one, despite its length. The wide camera and shallow gameplay gives it a vapid arcade atmosphere, and the fact that the gameplay is so messy, throwing endless robots at players and overloading the screen with visual garbage, makes for a title that feels far too loose and sloppy to constitute a full-priced game. 

Furthermore, it is very poorly structured. Each chapter is broken into stages, but only certain stages serve as real checkpoints. If you get to the end of a stage and quit, there's always a chance you'll be thrown back a stage and lose up to 20 minutes of progress. This is made worse by the fact that cutscenes are unskippable, as are end-of-stage result screens, meaning you have to sit through the same content over and over again. 

Endless repetition seems to be a theme in All 4 One, evidenced by the tiny selection of stock phrases that the characters spout to a nauseating degree. I didn't think anything could make me hate Dr. Nefarious, who stands among my favorite videogame villains, but hearing him say, "A few billion bolts more and I'll have a new space station," for the fiftieth time definitely did it. He even squeezed the line out in the two seconds before the final boss was beaten and the ending cutscene played. I now exclusively associate Nefarious with skin-crawling irritation, and I hate that All 4 One ruined him for me. 

The multiplayer has been shoddily implemented as well. There is no true drop-in/drop-out co-op, as the session has to reload the nearest checkpoint whenever somebody joins the game. Sometimes, it shunts the players forward and skips over a section of the game, and other times, it tosses them backwards and forces them to replay a section. Once, I had somebody join just after a lengthy cutscene finished, then the game booted us to a split-second before the unskippable cutscene activated and I had to watch it again. The new player dropped out before the cutscene had finished playing. 

While the single-player game is noticeably less action-packed and more slow-paced, it's shockingly preferable to co-op much of the time. Between having to reload for new players and a camera that's unable to cope with four of them at once, the entire game can grind to a halt if just one person doesn't know what he's doing -- there's quite a few of them, considering the squadron of mouth-breathers I kept getting stuck with. If one player is unsure of how to use an item correctly or to help solve a puzzle, nobody can progress. It was not uncommon for me to be joined by somebody who was totally clueless, even after having stuff explained to them, effectively stopping the game. I also saw no way of booting them from the session, while quitting myself always presented the aforementioned risk of losing a chapter's worth of progress.

You'll also be pleased to know that All 4 One is rather glitchy. I've had multiple issues with the screen's becoming a single solid color or with Hookshot grapple points' causing characters to freeze. During the very last boss, the creatures I needed to beat to get to the next part of the fight stopped spawning, preventing the boss from appearring at all. 

To be fair, the game is competent a lot of the time, but that's as high as it ever climbs -- a level of baseline competence that fails to excite. The only real entertainment comes from the cutscenes, which, while they should have been skippable, are at least genuinely amusing. Otherwise, you're left with a rather bland shooter and even less flavorful, forced co-op action dragged out over the course of eight to ten hours. That's a decent length for a game these days, but only if the game is a lot of fun. For a lukewarm arcade shooter that frequently frustrates with clueless design, it makes for something that long overstays its welcome.

Ratchet & Clank: All 4 One should have been about $15, five hours shorter, and released on the PlayStation Network. It's a game that does a disservice to the high pedigree of the Ratchet & Clank series and takes too far a departure from what made such an excellent set of games. It's sad to see these fantastic characters appear in a poorly structured, mediocre game, full of camera issues and silly bugs that add insult to injury. A very substandard outing for Ratchet and Clank, one that might be serviceable at a fraction of the price but which can be safely be ignored during a time when so many better products are vying for a gamers' attention.



Ratchet & Clank: All 4 One - Reviewed by Jim Sterling
Disappointing - I feel sorry for this one. It came close to being passable, but dropped the ball too many times to prevent itself from being an embarrassment.

See more reviews or the Destructoid score guide.

Jim Sterling, Former Reviews Editor
 Follow Blog + disclosure JimSterling Tips
Destructoid reviews editor, responsible for running and maintaining the cutting edge videogame critique that people ignore because all they want to see are the scores at the end. Also a regular f... more   |   staff directory

 Setup email comments

Unsavory comments? Please report harassment, spam, and hate speech to our community fisters, and flag the user (we will ban users dishing bad karma). Can't see comments? Apps like Avast or browser extensions can cause it. You can fix it by adding * to your whitelists.

destructoid's previous coverage:
Ratchet & Clank: All 4 One

View all:powered by:  MM.Elephant

Ads on destructoid may be purchased from:

Please contact Crave Online, thanks!

Cittadini di Twitter

Cblogs of 11/29/15 + Scott Pilgrim You Nefarious Swine!

Sexism in video games culture: social science says it’s real

How YOU can save DOAX3 (with diagrams)

Recap: Metal Gear Solid 2

Backward Compatibility Is More Important Than Ever (Maybe)

My beef with Sony

It's beginning to look a lot like censorship.

Solar Pony Django's Review on: Animal Crossing Amiibo Festival

Indivisible exposes why forced diversity and its proponents keep failing

 Add your impressions

Status updates from C-bloggers

James Internet Ego avatarJames Internet Ego
My review-in-progress of Just Cause 3: Explosions - good. Grappling hook - good. Flying - good. Driving - an abomination. 8/10.
SirDavies avatarSirDavies
Well, ugh, this is awkward. A year ago I wrote a cblog about cool indie games coming in 2015, and not a single one of them has been released :/
SeymourDuncan17 avatarSeymourDuncan17
I was happy to have never spoiled myself the final boss of Splatoon's campaign. That was one of the best boss fights ever and I absolutely love the credits track. So relaxing. [youtube][/youtube]
Niero Desu avatarNiero Desu
Today's kids will never know the struggle of putting an encyclopedia on top of an NES Max to auto-buy 99 potions before heading into Terra Cavern
CblogRecaps avatarCblogRecaps
Sometimes, on more dreary days, I make a smiley face with sliced-pickle eyes and bacon grin in my lunch-burger. It fills me up all the same, but I feel a warm sense of accomplishment, achievement and satisfaction on top of it.
Shinta avatarShinta
[youtube][/youtube] Isn't this the greatest thing ever?
Pixie The Fairy avatarPixie The Fairy
Well, my Bloggers Wanted post is up, but it timetraveled back to Sunday behind Zetta's blog or will only post two days from now otherwise. Mrgrgr.
The Dyslexic Laywer avatarThe Dyslexic Laywer
Yeah I still can't take the new Batman and Superman seriously, Batman just looks so stupid with his cowl lol.
Amna Umen avatarAmna Umen
This near final build of Nuclear Throne is going to bring back my eye twitch.
OverlordZetta avatarOverlordZetta
When I was a lad, I loved this game something fierce. [img][/img] Anyone else ever play the tie in Small Soldiers games? Maybe it's nostalgia, but I remember them being not too bad.
Torchman avatarTorchman
Finally got my surface pro 3. Holy shit I love this little guy. And Windows 10 is better than I thought.
Putting more effort into iOS game review than African American history book report. This is not what Dr. King died for. Or maybe he did, I wouldn't know because I'm not doing the book report. Wha-hey!!
Lawman avatarLawman
More info and footage on that cancelled first-person THQ Avengers game is shown. The heartache's still real.
Archelon avatarArchelon
DailyFloze avatarDailyFloze
So just dropping in, just finished my first hands on with the new Bloodborne DLC..... in one word...Potatoes!!? #theoldhunters #dropitlikeitsyarnham #aintnothinglikeafromsoftwarething
EdgyDude avatarEdgyDude
Indivisible's campaign just made it to $1.300.000! if you can back it please consider doing it.
MeanderBot avatarMeanderBot
Slow day at work. [IMG][/IMG]
CoilWhine avatarCoilWhine
22/31 missions completed on Prototype, fun game with a ton of destruction but crashes on my desktop PC and barely runs on my dad's laptop. And it's distracting me from playing more Fallout 4. But hey, I can slice+disguise as tank commanders and that's fun
Virtua Kazama avatarVirtua Kazama
Virtua Fighter month begins tomorrow! First blog will be coming sometime this week (mostly Wednesday).
voex avatarvoex
*Sigh* time to figure out how much a Fallout 4 capable PC upgrade is gonna cost me...
more quickposts



Invert site colors

  Dark Theme
  Light Theme

Destructoid means family.
Living the dream, since 2006

Pssst. konami code + enter

modernmethod logo

Back to Top

We follow moms on   Facebook  and   Twitter
  Light Theme      Dark Theme
Pssst. Konami Code + Enter!
You may remix stuff our site under creative commons w/@
- Destructoid means family. Living the dream, since 2006 -