Customer Review

22 of 29 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Hooray! Another corridor shooter!, November 30, 2011
= Fun:2.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Ratchet and Clank: All 4 One - Playstation 3 (Video Game)
Sadly, it's over. It's all over. The beloved Ratchet and Clank series is in its death throes. What was once a charming and inventive platformer has now become a mind-numbing and creativity-crippled generic corridor shooter. It was bound to happen though, right? Gamers are drowning in a sea of console shooters these days, from Call of Duty and Killzone to Gears of War and Halo, so is it really so surprising that even games that started out as platformers are becoming more like current shooters?

Gone is the feeling of exploration that dominated the previous R&C games. You no longer have planets and moons to discover and pilfer as you see fit, as the game progression is startlingly linear. There's no exploration allowed within each level either, as you're funneled from one corridor or floating rock to the next and to the next and to the next. You won't be searching high and low for gold bolts, as they're pretty much sitting out in the open right in front of you. Skill points tell you exactly what to do to unlock them so you don't have to worry about taxing your brain.

The weapons just don't have the same level of ingenuity or excitement as in previous R&C games. A lot of the weapons are similar or identical to weapons from previous games, and those that aren't just don't seem to belong. In any case, the utility of many of the weapons doesn't really exist. You can run through the entire game using the standard cannon, the rocket launcher, Mr. Zurkon, and maybe one more weapon without resorting to using any of the others. (Sidenote: This game gets 2 stars instead of 1 solely on account of Mr. Zurkon, who is still incredibly awesome). Still, the gunplay (once a staple of R&C) is not addictive or exciting in this outing.

Controls are also odd. Since the game is meant to be played with multiple people, no one has control over the camera angle except the computer. If you're keenly used to using the right analog stick to control the camera as in previous R&C games, then you'll find yourself irritatingly changing weapons by accident, which is now managed by moving the R stick. It's something that people can get used to, I guess, but I never did, and it was like a sharp pebble in my boxers throughout the entire game.

The gameplay basically revolves around running from one battle to the next, shooting up waves after waves of enemies, running through the reload ammo checkpoint, and doing it all over again. By the time you hit the halfway point of the game, you will notice that each battle has become eerily reminiscent of one you already fought. It'll start out with about 8 rotating laser drones, then 2-3 standing/bomb drones show up, then like 8 boxing drones, then a flying gravity drone, etc. The enemy variety just isn't there, and it becomes painfully obvious early on and throughout the game. The last two levels in particular are a tedious exercise in the limits of human patience as you're literally fighting the same five waves over and over again as you move toward the final endpoint. Wait until you fight the final boss. It. just. never. seems. to. end.

If you're not planning on playing this game with human teammates, then just go ahead and take this advice: Don't play this game. Playing by yourself pairs you up with a near-retarded AI teammate who brings to the combat table the uncanny ability to read your mind and do exactly what you hope he doesn't do. Clank, I need you to activate that switch once I open this panel. Well, Clank was planning on opening the panel instead of activating the switch and now he's all confused and is stuck moving back and forth like a moving paper target. Clank, I need you to shoot this boss with me so we can create a more damaging attack. Too bad, Clank is inexplicably bolting to the edge of the floating platform and leaping to his death over and over again. Time to reload the checkpoint. Again *sigh*. These problems are obviously avoided by playing with a human friend (unless your friend is near-retarded too), but if a game is not adjusted appropriately by a development studio to be played as a single player game, then the option shouldn't be available. It just makes the project look messy.

When playing the game in coop form, hopefully with humans, the main draw (and purpose) of this game is to make everyone work together to beat levels. This always sounds great on paper as with most coop games, but the vast majority of developers cannot for the life of them figure out how to implement co-op tactics well (and Insomniac is no exception). Well, here's the dirty secret: levels should be designed so that they are essentially unbeatable unless the coop-ers work together and each fill a separate and mandatory responsibility, ideally one that is not glaringly obvious or limited to one sole strategy. This rarely happens in practice, unfortunately. What usually suffices for the co-op experience is one of the following watered-down events:

1. You cannot exit a level unless both players press X at the door, and a cutscene follows of one player holding the door open for the other player to walk through. Thanks, bro.
2. Both players are funneled toward a deadend that requires each player to hit x so that one gives the other a helpful boost to the ledge. That player then hits X so he can help the other player up. Thanks, bro.
3. One player activates and holds a switch so the other player can walk through the newly opened door and activate and hold an identical switch on the other side, allowing the first player to walk through or activate another, previously blocked switch. Thanks, bro.
4. You and a friend basically empty round after round of your ammunition into seemingly endless hordes of enemies until they're all dead, with no real focus or strategy. Keep shooting, bro.

#3 and #4 make up 95% of R&C All4One.

Hooray for co-op!!!


Ok, I'm done. This game sucks in general and sucks even more for dragging an otherwise great series into the dark, fecaline depths of generic gaming. We don't need another mindless corridor shooter and certainly don't need a once-non-mindless-corridor shooter turning into one.

Let's all hope Insomniac returns to form with the next game.
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Showing 1-3 of 3 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Dec 4, 2011 2:29:56 PM PST
A Crack In Time was the 8th or 9th game of the same basic thing with very minor additions here and there and you say this game is creativity crippled? That's not to say ACIT was bad. It was excellent, but so was this game. I have seen no other game similar to this in any of my time in gaming and I've seen many games. Calling this generic is like calling Batman Arkham City generic. It just doesn't fit and this review seems more like a rant than a real review, I'm sorry to say.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 8, 2011 7:06:38 PM PST
A Crack in Time was hugely disappointing. Especially as a follow up to Tools of Destruction. Excluding some of the very cool Clank puzzles where you had to use time travel to solve them - which was really rather brilliant - it was a boring game with boring weapons.

I haven't played All 4 One, but was worried when I saw the previews and I'm not terribly inclined to pick it up until it hits the "Classics" aisle. Which is sad because I love Ratchet & Clank.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 27, 2011 5:48:22 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 27, 2011 5:50:43 PM PST
Matt says:
R&C is known for its creativity, not innovation. Coming up with interesting visual designs for weapons, characters, enemies, and environments is a function of creative thinking, whereas adding new concepts and gameplay features to supplement or replace old ones is a feature of innovation. I think you're getting the two confused.

Despite most of the R&C games not showing much innovation, the design/visual elements of the games have always been unique and creative, at least until All4One. This game is an attempt to bridge a niche game series with a popular money-making game formula which is the corridor shooter. It does not bode well for the series that many of us have supported since the beginning.
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