Problems continue with the upgrade system. Previously, the more you fired a gun, the more powerful it became, which forced you to use every gun in your arsenal to discover its hidden secrets. Now, you use bolts at special kiosks to beef up the power, add more ammunition, and transform its functionality in some way. There is still an inherent joy in turning your single-shot combuster into a tri-laser killing machine, but the empowering way this was handled in previous games is seriously missed in this iteration. Although upgrading isn't nearly as eventful this time around, your impressive repertoire still has a creative edge. Returning favorites, such as Mr. Zurkon, should please anyone who yearns for a sarcastic, kill-craving robot to travel along with, and the requisite creature-morphing device ensures the world's pig population steadily rises. The most exciting of the new gadgets is the blitzer, which turns your body into a deadly projectile, though it could mean your own death if you're not careful. Because of the aforementioned aiming and camera issues, shooting isn't as much fun as in years past, though that is no fault of the fancy tools of destruction you have at your disposal.
Aside from gunning down throngs of unrelenting enemies, there are platforming and vehicle portions to give you some variety. All 4 One excels in these areas because the camera moves in closer to create a serious sense of speed, and a constant flood of obstacles keeps you invested in dodging quickly and keeping your eyes peeled for the next potential danger. The best of these sequences occurs when you don a handy jetpack to fly through a dangerous vertical shaft. Spinning buzz-saw blades threaten to give you a too-close-for-comfort shave if you veer too close, and pesky enemies fire at your flailing figure until you vanquish them with a few sure shoulder chargers. There are times when you slide down an icy hill, cruise behind a chugging boat, and zip along Ratchet's trademark rails. Every chance you get to breeze through these cartoony worlds is loads of fun and serves as a welcome respite from the sometimes tedious shooting sections.
Little worms can freely live but the giant variety must die.
Puzzles also make up a sizable portion of this adventure, and though they aren't particularly tricky, it's certainly fun to put your heads together to figure out exactly how to advance. In a series of puzzles that unlock the fabled RYNO suit, you have to manipulate tubes to guide a feeble creature to the end of a maze. These side quests force you to work quickly and efficiently, and getting all of your friends dedicated to rescuing a furry rascal makes it a triumph when the creature happily reaches the end. The final piece of the diversity pie is boss fights, though these aren't as consistently good as the other portions. Oftentimes, you have to use your wits and skills to survive, and toppling a giant foe by carefully planning an execution is satisfying. However, other times, bosses sport inflated life bars, and mindlessly plugging away becomes tiresome. Still, most of the different activities in All 4 One are well executed and eminently enjoyable.
Variety is the biggest strength in All 4 One. Previous games had a tendency to offer too many distractions from the innate joy of shooting robotic foes. But now that the shooting mechanics aren't as satisfying, diversity is welcome, and every situation you find yourself in provides its own pleasures. Still, this is not the Ratchet & Clank you've come to know. The expansive worlds from games past are now linear and restrictive, and shooting is a task you must complete rather than the main crux of your adventure. Four-player cooperative play doesn't quite cover all of the faults, but Ratchet & Clank: All 4 One is still another good entry in this charming franchise.