Over the years, Insomniac Games’ Ratchet & Clank franchise has really grown for the better, particularly with the recent release of Rift Apart for PlayStation 5, a tour-de-force in design and gameplay. But we shouldn’t forget about the smaller entries in the series that stood out in their own right.
For this particular article, we’re looking back at Ratchet & Clank: All 4 One, which released in October 2011. That’s right, it’s ten years old. And yet, on a recent playthrough, we couldn’t help but rediscover just how much fun it is, especially when you consider it’s taking on a different format than previous games in the series. It stands out nicely, and definitely deserves your attention on your crowded game plate.
Rather than just focusing on single player action, All 4 One is built around a multiplayer engine. The game can still be played solo, but it supports up to four players overall, each one playing a particular character in the series – Ratchet, Clank, Captain Qwark and their nemesis Doctor Nefarious. This marks the first time that other characters in the series are playable, and, surprise, they’re just as capable as the main ones.
After going up against a sleeping enemy, the group decides to band together – temporarily – to save the universe from a greater evil. The story’s actually really well done here, moving fast and loose just like other entries in the series.
However, the gameplay is the thing. While you can still find secrets and collect little animals with the help of a mini-vacuum, the general goal here is to run and gun your way from point A to point B through each level. You’ll need to team up to take down bigger opponents, with a dramatic build-up system that pays off with a huge explosion as you do damage to them and, eventually, bring them down. It really makes the boss battles something special here.
But there’s also teamwork to consider. Along with firing at particular targets, you’ll need to rely on each other to get around through tethers. For instance, Clank needs to be launched to particular targets on far-away platforms to keep moving, and the character that fired them can then whisk themselves over to him with the help of said tether. Likewise, they’ll also need to work together to grab onto grapple points and swing across, or catapult themselves to higher levels. There can be a slight bit of trial and error here, but it works remarkably well.
As for the multiplayer itself, it’s really neat, as there’s drop-in/drop-out support. That means you can join a match even after it’s going on, or, if you need to take off, leave and have a helpful AI bot take your place. Not that the bots in the game are entirely accurate, but it’s an idea that works beautifully here.
Not only that, but the game has bonus challenges where you can unlock gear for an ultimate mech suit, which comes in handy later on in the game. These involve activating switches so that a lab animal can get from point to point safely, without the risk of falling into an empty abyss.
These help solidify teamwork greatly, so they’re worth taking on – if you can get everyone to agree to jump in, of course. (C’mon, just work together for a few!)
Even though Rift Apart blows it out of the water visually, All 4 One still gushes wonderful design, thanks to innovative level structure and some great animations. The camera’s a little further out, and the game doesn’t quite move at a fluid 60 frames per second, but it still looks great for the most part. Plus, it has fun music and a bunch of awesome dialogue, which can be expected from a game such as this.
Even though we’ve moved on to later adventures, Ratchet & Clank: All 4 One is a game still well worth your time. You should be able to find a used copy fairly easy on the game market for PlayStation 3, though you can also enjoy the game on PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5 through PlayStation Now, and it works mostly without a hitch. Enjoy this classic adventure!
No turkeys here, we’re giving away a PlayStation 5!