RATCHET AND CLANK – ALL 4 ONE

Ratchet and Clank – All 4 One
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RATCHET AND CLANK – ALL 4 ONE



Written by Chris Price
31 Monday 31st October 2011

Circumstances being that I was massively hung-over when I first descended into All 4 One, my  feeble throbbing brain, aching for stimulation inside my equally feeble skull, put me in the perfect mindset to play as the intended audience – doubtless, the youngsters. (And the parents that pay).

Not that the slightly older contingent will be soured on All 4 One. The Ratchet & Clank series may be a decade old but it's been a reliable platform specific series – if not quite capturing the figurehead status that Sony needed to go up against Mario when Sackboy was little more than a glint in a sock puppets eye. The series has always been happy to hop from system to system, taking a loyal fanbase of kids, tugging at parents' coat tails (and purse strings) and nodding towards the new piece of delectable Sony hardware. The story of the mechanic Ratchet and his ever-resourceful robot sidekick Clank has always been quick to provide platform fighting action with a collectible bent – all the while Sonic has been brutally underperforming a similar task.

All 4 One sees a departure from the traditional battle against their nemesis Doctor Nefarious, whereby Ratchet and a stand-alone Clank team up with bumbling President Qwark and the aforementioned doctor to battle a brand new intergalactic foe on a lush new planet. Essentially this scuffle with collaboration serves as a simultaneous four player enabler, utilising four of the franchises most omnipresent characters.

And back in the hands of Insomniac games (those of Resistance 3 fame, which you might remember I rather enjoyed) the action is fast, furious and eminently solid. Combat is responsive and satisfying, with a fairly perfunctory series of weapons, with just enough tactics demands by some functional enemy AI combinations to feel the need to utilise all the weapons.

More advanced weapons such as the Vac-U double as a puzzle solving mechanic, often requiring the compliance of all four players – such as firing one player onto an opposing platform and using them as a grappling point to launch each other across ravines, or depressing various combinations of musical switches to open doors. Taking down larger opponents by focusing your fire on the same target also adds to a palpable excitement when surrounded by alien critters and malevolent GlaDOS-esque automatons. Competing for Bolts with 3 other players – either locally or on-line with a drop-in/drop-out style of playing (leaving other characters in the hands of capable computer AI) can really amp the excitement up.

These sections stitch together a series of action set-pieces which do wane as the game reaches its culmination - where the smash, shoot, collect, repeat mechanic begins to grate. This could’ve been more due to the fact that I was refreshed and sober by the time I’d reached the upper echelons of the game. But All 4 One's snappy liquidised Saturday morning TV adventure is remarkably good fun, even for a bitter old man like me. Its relentless Matt Groening-style humour is snappy, genuinely funny and burrows through the core of the game, shooting the whole experience through with a touch of class.

In a release schedule that sees the likes of Sonic Generation, Disney Universe and Spyro Skylanders, it’s good to see an accomplished title kicking off proceedings that has the ability to entertain a wide expanse of gamers if fired up over the festive season. It asks little yet over-delivers in return and although not without irksome quirks and the odd wobble, it should easily keep a quartet of young ‘uns entertained, as much as the solo gamer. It’s a pretty solid hangover cure. But rest assured, I’ll be back to shooting things next week.

7/10

 

Ratchet and Clank All 4 One is out now exclusively on PS3.
 

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