|Dev: Insomniac Games|
|Pub: Sony Computer Entertainment|
|Release: October 18, 2011|
|Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p||Crude Humor, Fantasy Violence, Language|
by Amanda L. Kondolojy
The Ratchet & Clank: Future series was a great re-branding of the Ratchet and Clank franchise, and this trilogy of games will always have a place in my heart as one of the best platforming series this generation. After A Crack in Time, many of us were concerned that the series wouldn't continue. Luckily, All 4 One looks like it could give R&C addicts the game we've all been waiting for. But know this: All 4 One won't be a part of the future series, and it won't be like any other game in the series.
As alluded to in the title, All 4 One will be a co-op-centric title, allowing up to four people to play together either locally or online. Players will be able to take on the roles of Ratchet, Clank, Dr. Nefarious, or Captain Qwark, and each will have their own set of weapons and power-ups. The power-ups in particular will be important to use strategically, and each one will be tied to a character's history. For example, Clank will retain his ability from the Future series to control time, and Qwark will have a super-awesome shield he can use to protect the group.
However, if you want to play as Qwark or Nefarious, there is a bit of a catch: you have to play with four people. If you're playing with only two people, you must play as the titular duo, and if you are playing by yourself (not advisable) you have to play as Ratchet with an A.I. Clank (which could get annoying).
Developers Insomniac have promised that those who play solo won't be disappointed, but cooperative players will reap the most rewards. There will be several moments in the game where you have the choice to work together or go for it alone, but if you choose the former, you will fill an invisible meter which will lead to some awesome unlockable content. Working together will also net you faster upgrades, individual and group trophies, and, of course, bonus bolts, so it's worth it to be a team player. The game will also hand out post-level awards (sort of like LittleBigPlanet), so if you are more of a competitive sort, you can play with first place in mind.
But what if someone on your team isn't that good at puzzle solving? Well, it looks like All 4 One will have you covered there too. Though the game won't be "easy" per se, it will have special HUD-based hint notifications that should keep everyone moving in the right direction. Though this might seem a little weird to hardcore fans of the franchise, it should make online play less frustrating.
The game will also support voice chat and a "cinematic" view for those who are playing locally. There will also be several co-op only weapons in the game, including an electric tether that allows teammates to enclose enemies in shrinking electric fields. It looks like there really won't be any downside to playing with others, and even those who crave the solo experience may find themselves teaming up with others for this title.
Now, we must address the elephant in the room: the plot. The Ratchet & Clank series has always been very plot-focused, but getting the game's two heroes together with the comedic Captain Qwark and perennial bad guy Dr. Nefarious may seem a little awkward. However, it actually makes sense here. Apparently, the story takes place several years after the Future series, and sees our heroes kidnapped by an evil creature collector. Though Dr. Nefarious is more than happy to see our heroes struggle, he doesn't have a ride home, and needs to work with them in order to escape a planet that is filled with the world's most dangerous creatures. It's an exciting premise to be sure, and hopefully there will be plenty of the side-splitting moments that the series is known for. The only downside is that there won't be much planet-trotting like we've seen in previous games. But I'm sure there will be plenty of new and interesting environments on this almost zoo-like planet.
Ratchet & Clank: All 4 One is certainly going to be a different kind of R&C game. The focus on co-op may be a bit of an initial turn-off for some, but it looks like it will be done so well that even the staunchest naysayer will have to give it a try. The game is coming this fall, and could possibly signal a whole new "series" for Ratchet & Clank on the PlayStation 3. It definitely seems like a good thing to me, team or no team.
Amanda L. Kondolojy
CCC Senior Contributing Writer