Ratchet & Clank: All 4 One Impressions

Insomniac guides us through a demo of its newly unveiled co-op Ratchet game.

Ratchet & Clank: All 4 One was unveiled last night at Sony's Gamescom 2010 press conference. There are two big features that separate this Ratchet from previous games in the series. For one, it's the first title to come from Insomniac's offshoot North Carolina studio, which the developer opened up in early 2009. But more importantly, All 4 One will give you the chance to play through a Ratchet game with co-op supporting up to four players. We just had a look at this new spin on the series courtesy of Insomniac, which gave us a chance to learn quite a bit more about it than what we had gleaned from last night's press conference.

All 4 One's playable cast of characters includes Ratchet, Clank, Quark, and Dr. Nefarious. The story does its part to explain why these four need to team up with one another, but according to studio director Chad Dezern, they also want to play up the tensions among this motley crew based on their past conflicts. Dezern describes the result as "cooperative with a competitive edge" and a friendly level of "spite and mean-spiritedness" underscoring the basic theme of working together.

Taking a look at the game for the first time, the most visible change, aside from four player-controlled players on the screen, is the new camera system. The action is framed using an isometric view that will move along in pre-scripted pans and sweeps as you progress through the game. Dezern describes this as a sort of director camera that lets the development team merge story moments more seamlessly into the gameplay by focusing the shot on what they want to show at any given moment.

Most of the demo we saw, which was set in a level called Planet Magnus, featured the co-op quartet running around blasting enemies with a variety of new and familiar weaponry. There's the vacuum gun that lets you pick up and launch enemies or teammates, and melee combat is unique for each character (so, for example, Quark's Fists of Justice will feel different from Ratchet's wrench). But every so often the team would encounter a scenario that made them work a little more closely. These included the four-man rope swing you can pull off with the slingshot gun to cross gaps; the four-man jump into a cannon to launch across the level; and synchronized skydiving in a wind tunnel.

After the demo concluded, we asked Dezern a couple of questions about issues that typically go hand-in-hand with co-op games of this nature. One was about the issue of griefing your own teammates. If you've ever played New Super Mario Bros. Wii, you know that co-op platformers have a tendency to make other players feel like enemies just as often as they feel like teammates. Dezern said that they definitely still want to let players have fun with each other, including picking people up and throwing them from ledges and racing toward rare weapons that pop up from time to time, but the game still heavily incentivizes teamwork in a number of ways. Among these is a point system that rewards you for helping each other out with new unlockables.

Then there's the issue of visual clutter. We asked Dezern what they're doing to minimize the amount of visual chaos that could crop up when you take a colorful game and quadruple the number of players. He said this is something they've definitely been keeping an eye on, and the main solution they've settled on is making sure the characters stand out from the background. This has been done by specially tuning the series' usual visual flourishes for fast-moving objects, adding a color outline to characters, and even redesigning the character models a bit to make them more easily identifiable from one another.

Altogether, Ratchet and Clank: All 4 One is definitely looking like an intriguing step forward for the series. But like any co-op game, it's hard to really get a good sense of what to expect until you pick up that controller and become one of the team. Hopefully we'll have the chance to do that soon.

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Discussion

55 comments
Le-Ho
Le-Ho

I'm worried about the shared camera

theunseenblade
theunseenblade

this is the only game i've ever slightly doubted coming from insomniac. please don't f*ck up.

JohnnyF9shot
JohnnyF9shot

game should have a competitive multiplayer, maybe not deathmatches... but something that is 'Mario Party-esque'

davidoats2
davidoats2

Rachet and clank games are always upgrading and selling contantly. This game looks good.

Jak_Napier
Jak_Napier

the graphics and design looks great. Just iffy about the concept of the game.. :/

m4t3u5LP
m4t3u5LP

@ Siz2005 nefarious did not die... he got broken... so there is probably an easy way to put him in the story, even tho i disagree with it

Siz2005
Siz2005

This must be some side Ratchet and Clank game as it will not be a usual platforming style shooter that we all know and love plus Dr Nefiruos is alive as he not suppose to, since he died in R&C: A Crack in Time. I have to agree with jamccain, it might be not as good as it's seem.

jamccain
jamccain

bellow me i was sayng nefiruos (1)

jamccain
jamccain

yeah the whole thing blew up and killed him biggg time how is dr nefarious still alive again?

jamccain
jamccain

the art design looks......diffirent and it might be not so good..................................

m4t3u5LP
m4t3u5LP

theres just something that doesnt quite fit in ratchet having a 4 player co op... It just feels so awkward! They should have done what people have been asking and made a real multiplayer game!!! I can tell MILLIONS of people will be disappointed with this, and probably lose their faith in insomniac

johny300
johny300

@OreoPoptart Agreed the legacy of kain games needs a return

arcadianobr
arcadianobr

o ruim de ser jogador da sony é que tem que saber que as sequencias nunca terminam, vai do primeiro ate o dez,

jumpy46
jumpy46

@EPaul It was comfirmed a while ago that he escaped.

EPaul
EPaul

Didnt dr nefarious die in that huge explosion

OreoPoptart
OreoPoptart

Sony need to make a new super hero. Ratchet & Clank is getting so old. buring back Legacy of Kain!!!

fluffyninja4
fluffyninja4

i feel like no matter how hard they try... this wont be anything like the regular games... the race for weapons implies that this will be a pick up weapons as you go type of game insted of buying them... and didnt dr. nefarious die?? and all the ppl that say jak... i dont think so since they were made by different companies (ND) and insomniac but who knows i will get this game regardless

Chaos_Eagle
Chaos_Eagle

This is just screaming out to have Jak as DLC.

MrWilkinzz
MrWilkinzz

i see this as a definite risk that could end up being great or horrible. either way im gettin it, cause i love insomniac games no matter what. from spyro to ratchet, and even resisitance, i love all their games. and disruptor! for those who are also hardcore insomniac games fans, you know what im talkin about.

kittygus
kittygus

Dr. Nefarious what is this the twilight zone?

yamaneco_rpg
yamaneco_rpg

coop mode is simple f*cking very ultra hyper funny!!!

raza3
raza3

i was hoping for jak and rachet

blazetiger89
blazetiger89

man, i wish i had a ps3 for this. i've played the original ratchet and clank games. but i'm sitll glad to hear ratchet and clank still going strong.

FlameRiser
FlameRiser

i would have rathered multiplayer

TeenGamer92
TeenGamer92

Meh, it looks alright. Not too sure about it just yet.

yankeesfan2
yankeesfan2

why? why couldn't they just make another regular ratchet and clank in which you don't race for rare weapons?

gamingfrendly
gamingfrendly

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

claydomin123456
claydomin123456

Looks good, but the "racing for rare weapons" statement worries me. I hope that you can still buy weapons with bolts and all that jazz.

aaron324
aaron324

This is going to be awesome.

AC2TheTruth
AC2TheTruth

@GrantMyres yea good idea :) courtney gears was fign awesome...but reatchet isnt that good at copying her moves......

aGOODdude
aGOODdude

NOOO! They murdered them! RIP Rachet and Clank, you will be missed... Give my best to Jak and Dax

gabrielkipp77
gabrielkipp77

Good to see Ratchet & Clank still going strong!

chrizmol
chrizmol

More games should be colorful like this

nonfanboygamer1
nonfanboygamer1

Crack in time wasn't bad, but hopefully will be better.

hotrider12
hotrider12

Tevi I love crack of time I just got ryno5..... your kidding right?? ... you must just bought ACIT.. i bought the game last year beat it 20 times.... since then. this game SHOULD have RYNO 6

Tevi
Tevi

if you got a 360 your out of luck

Tevi
Tevi

I love crack of time I just got ryno 5

kittensRjerks
kittensRjerks

I'm definitely buying this game. One of the best platform series I've ever played.

drummer131
drummer131

Just recently, I've begun playing Ratchet and Clank games for the first time. I gotta say, instant fan. Having played NSMBW, I'm eager to see what R&C can do in the same department.

Gamer_4_Fun
Gamer_4_Fun

4 player Co-op for the win! Getting it!!!

_Sora_777
_Sora_777

Lock-Strafe! Come back tooo meeeeeeeee!!

GrantMyres
GrantMyres

They need to bring back Courtney Gears ;) I really wish that they would also bring back Multiplayer.