Preview: All 4 One tries to Ratchet up multiplayer

June 23, 2011

The freshman effort from Insomniac’s North Carolina studio treads familiar territory: platforming, shooting and collecting through the world of Ratchet & Clank. But All 4 One treads with a few more footsteps. Six more, to be exact. A formula that could begin to get tired finds new life with friends, and the collect-a-thon is more bearable as a relay race.

We were hoping for more details on how the game implements multiplayer, and we got them. Unsurprisingly it feels a lot like standard Ratchet: you run around, shooting enemies, bashing boxes and grinding rails along the way. There are segments where players move around a ship to steer it left and right. There are boss battles. It’s not a unified, clear gameplay dynamic, but Ratchet has never been about that.

The four characters (Ratchet, Clank, Quark and Dr. Nefarious) play identically, which is a disappointment to some wanting replay value, but the consolation is that fights for who is who won’t be that heated. Get behind a bit? You can just hit a button to be pulled to the nearest teammate. This should make it easier to play with little ones. There’s also a balance between cooperation and competition: each has an individual score and gets awards at the end of levels, but all currency is split evenly.

We’ll keep an eye on Ratchet & Clank: All 4 One as its October 18 release nears.