I’ve only casually played the past Ratchet and Clank games, so I’m a person coming into Ratchet and Clank: All 4 One with an almost clean slate. To be honest, even after it was announced to have a four player co-op mode, I never planned on picking up the game. Once the beta was released I was more than pleasantly surprised at what made up the nuts and bolts of this Ratchet and Clank title.
Obviously the big focus in All 4 One is the co-op play. Ratchet and Clank are joined by Quark, who has somehow been elected President of the Galaxy. Picture "The Tick" from the old cartoons, and you'll get the idea. Also joining the duo is their long time nemesis, Dr. Nefarious. How these four join forces I’ll leave for you to discover for yourself, but there’s plenty of great banter between the characters both during gameplay and in the cutscenes. I definitely got a few chuckles out of the Quark’s narcissistic quips.
The great thing about these characters is that they all play completely different. Ratchet seems to be the most balanced of the four, while Clank is smaller and more agile. Quark is your slow and strong character and Nefarious, while playing a bit like Ratchet, has his own nuances. Each character contains their own upgrade path, so whatever weapons you unlock with that character are usable both online and off. Each character also has access to their own unique weapon or two. Playing online and offline is virtually identical, though online adds in a scoring system for a bit of competition at the end of sections. What Ratchet and Clank: All 4 One does really well is seamlessly blend the local and online play, so really, there’s no need to play offline.
All 4 One isn’t just an online co-op game, local players can pick up a controller at anytime and join in on the action. Sadly, one of the downfalls of the game becomes immediately noticeable when a player joins is the camera - you’ll find players fighting the edges of the screen to pick up items or kill enemies. It’s minor, but immediately noticeable if you’ve played a lot of single player. If you’re stuck going solo, the AI will join you as one other character, helping you navigate the environment and solve puzzles which often require two. Perhaps this is where Ratchet and Clank: All 4 One shines the most - just how co-op it truly is.
The Ratchet and Clank games have always been about platforming elements, and now with the addition of co-op players, there are sections that require teamwork to complete. Whether it’s sucking up a friend in a vacuum and launching him to another platform, or swinging across a map by latching onto each other in Tarzan style jungle maneuvers, teamwork is often required to progress. While these are simple examples of the puzzles presented, there are others that require players to do things like pass elements around to open doors or weigh down objects to reach new heights.