Ratchet & Clank: All 4 One Review (PS3)

PS3 has been extremely lucky when it comes to platform exclusives. Outside of the likes of new franchises like Uncharted and Resistance, Ratchet & Clank is one of few PS2 series to transition to the current generation without a hitch. Insomniac have given PS3 two and a half Ratchet games, the half being a PSN download, the latest being the best entry in the series yet. Rather than create another sequel, the developers have instead gone in a different direction, taking the adventure online for 4 player co-op. This is a different experience to previous games, but is the Ratchet charm still there?

Most definitely. Ratchet & Clank has always been one of the funniest series in gaming, its tongue and cheek outlook harking back to classic childhood cartoons, while looking as visually stunning as a Pixar movie. A third person shooter that goes for explosive weaponry and platforming as opposed to cover mechanics and serious drama, the transition to co-op isn't as extreme as I thought it would be. Expecting major changes to the gameplay and design of the game, at times I forgot I wasn't playing one of the main entries in the series. This is not a bad thing, as much like LittleBigPlanet's co-op elements, this is online multiplayer that doesn't require a headset or a huge amount of tactical co operation making the fun aspects of the series the focus here.

The unlikely alliance between Nefarious, Quark, Clank and Ratchet is the focus of the game's narrative

Co-op does bring some alterations, namely co-op moments where characters must activate switches in quick succession to open a door for instance. The gun combat has been upgraded to reflect multiple characters too, with a circle appearing on enemies as you shoot them, this getting larger and larger if all players are aiming at the same target. It's a slightly awkward way of integrating co-op elements, and it can disrupt the flow of the already well constructed combat for those who have enjoyed Ratchet thus far. It is satisfying working together to destroy a tough enemy, but it becomes stale as the campaign continues.

Outside of how the game plays one of the most important things to consider with Ratchet & Clank: All 4 One is getting online multiplayer working. Local multiplayer works well but problems arise when heading online. Said to be drop in, drop out, any time someone attempts to join, you are greeted by a screen asking for you to reload the game. It can get frustrating when not playing with people from your friends list, the recommended option for All 4 One. Lag can be a slight issue too, with it seeming like other players are reacting to things slower than you are.

Using the swing shot to stay with your allies is one of the game's many co-op elements

This said though, it's much better to play online than it is to play the game in Single Player. When alone, the moments where a second player is needed, a computer controlled version of Clank will appear to help you out. He jumps onto your back once his services are no longer needed much like he did in the previous games. That said, there is definitely something missing when you play the game solo. Perhaps it's the magic pacing of the main series, the emphasis here is completing Co-Op puzzles to cross gaps and defeat each enemy, rather than upgrading your arsenal and adventuring across planets.

All of this being said, the charm, wit and core Ratchet experience that fans have been in love with since the PS2 days has been given a co-op overhaul extremely well by Insomniac. It doesn't achieve the rollarcoaster pace of the main series, or feel as polished, but Ratchet & Clank: All 4 One is a worthwhile excuse to get together with a group of mates and cause havoc as some of your favourite characters.

Best Game Moment: Beating one of the game's tougher bosses with mates over PSN is a blast.