It’s all for one, and one for all as Insomniac Games brings four player co-operative gaming to the Ratchet & Clank series with All 4 One.
All 4 One starts shortly after the events of A Crack in Time and the comic that came after it, as one of Doctor Nefarious’ evil plots goes horribly awry. A new enemy attacks the city, and it forces Nefarious to team up with Ratchet, Clank, and (Galactic President) Qwark to try and stop him. That doesn’t go so well, and they end up having to stick together to escape a mysterious machine and make their way home.
So the set-up is a good way to hand wave all four of them working together for the benefit of the game. The co-op is both offline and online, with drop in and drop out functionality available. Each character plays about the same, with special moves like a ground pound and a grapple beam used among all four of them. The grapple hooks will latch on to your team mates, and is invaluable in situations where you need to swing all four of you over a very large gap.
Combat is pretty simple; you can hit enemies with melee attacks, and shoot them with guns you purchase at each of the checkpoints. These guns can then be upgraded to increase their power, and there’s a pretty wide selection from the weapons obtainable in previous games. The quartet also possesses a medium-range boomerang like attack, with each character having his own specific version – Clank, for example, throws his propeller. This attack does light damage, and is good at stunning enemies.
As well as combat, there are a lot of co-op actions that need to be performed. Whether it’s stepping on specific buttons in unison, using the ground pound attack on mushroom robots, or running to one side of a hover cab so it swerves out of the way of a buzz saw, each action gives you co-op points. These points and the bolts you collect throughout the levels are the currency you can use to buy the aforementioned weapons.
You can play this with as many people as you like, from 1 to 4, as the game changes the difficulty and some of the puzzles so that they can be completed by any number of players. The story will remain the same as well, as cut-scenes assume you were playing as the four characters all along. However, like a lot of co-op games, there’s definitely plenty of fun to be had when you have three friends join in.
It’s great to see Insomniac’s take on this kind of game, and the Ratchet & Clank franchise feels perfectly suited to this particular style. With not a huge amount of co-operative platformers on the PS3, All 4 One will make a very welcome addition to the console’s library when it makes its way to stores on October 18.