The series' first foray into the world of co-op gameplay, set after the comic book series and the Futuretrilogy.Nefarious, eager to stir up trouble again, baits Galactic President Qwark out under the premise of an award ceremony where he will receive a 'Tool of Justice Award'. Qwark, being Qwark, drags Ratchet and Clank along with him. Eventually, Nefarious's plan to unleash a Light Eating Z'Grute goes pear-shaped as it draws the attention of the Creature Collector, which captures the four playable characters and strands them on planet Magnus.All 4 One was not as critically adored as the past Ratchet & Clank's, although the reviews were mostly positive: it has a score of only 70 on Metacritic, compared to 87 for A Crack in Time. Many of the criticisms were toward the predictable and bland storyline, the auto-camera, and the focus on multiplayer, offline and online.
This game contains examples of:
Abandoned Laboratory: Not of the standard variety. There are several of Dr. Croid's labs scattered throughout the levels and, if you have enough creatures, you can enter them and complete challenges for RYNO parts.
The Exploratorium Power Station may count, as well.
Always Chaotic Evil: The Loki. Interestingly, the Big Bad goes on to subvert this where the Cragmites are concerned. During the final battle, he even laments the fact that they're gone. He wanted to take revenge on them for the cragmite hero who sealed the Loki away in the first place.
Awesome, but Impractical: The RYNO IV. It's got a high rate of fire and does insane damage...but has an ammo capacity of 12.
Aww, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other: Qwark and Nefarious get a moment like this late in the game. Subverted in that Nefarious is insulting Qwark even as the latter is apologizing... and throughout his own apology. Possibly played straight by the very end, when Nefarious is thoughtfully looking at a photo of the group.
There's also an instance in the ending cinematic. After the Loki is expelled from the Z'Grute enhanced body of the Grivelnox, he desperately looks for a new host and finds Qwark. Nefarious bats the Loki away from him without any visible hesitation.
Becomes a Crowning Moment of Heartwarming when you look back to to the time Qwark saved Nefarious from falling to his death.
Brick Joke: Ratchet comments on how well Dr. Croid seems to be doing, after being reunited with Nevo.
Ratchet: Well, Dr. Croid seems to be doing better. Still keeps feeding me those treats... but otherwise, he seems surprisingly sane.
In the same cutscene, Ratchet proceeds to snatch the bag of treats away from Croid.
There's also the Octonok Bay Tharpod, as listed down in Tempting Fate.
Bystander Syndrome: There's a short instance of this, right after the group gets free of the Creature Collector. Fortunately, Ratchet decides that (true) retirement can be put off a little while longer.
Call Back: There's an indirect one in one of the later cutscenes, when Susie (whose parents are missing or dead, thanks to Ephemeris) is about to 'lead an assault' on the station. Ratchet immediately seems to get what it's about and convinces her not to continue with the ill-advised attack.
Casual Danger Dialogue: Happens a few times during combat, when characters will take the time to talk. Fairly common when the player characters are Ratchet and Clank.
There are also one liners tossed about whenever a certain character achieves (or fails) something. For instance, every now and then you can hear Clank say "My father would be so proud" when he completes something first or kills x enemies. Once in a great while, Ratchet will tease Clank when he dies instead of shouting for him.
Censored Title: Originally, it was supposed to be "Ratchet & Clank: 4-Play". This is referenced in the platinum trophy, "4-Play".
If "4-Play" failed, Insomniac had planned "Bros b4 Foes", "Fiends With Benefits" and "Multiple Organisms".
Comically Missing the Point: Even after it's become obvious that the Tool of Justice award was a fake, Qwark still thinks it's real fairly late into the game.
Then there's Dr. Croid. Oh boy. Turns out that he's not entirely sane, and fancies himself a Lombax Whisperer. This ends as well as one might expect. He translates Ratchet's request for help as "He's hungry".
The arthopods from Sargasso make a reappearance in Terawatt Forest, too. There are even mentions of creatures whose habitats are scattered throughout Polaris (Reepor, Sargasso, etc)
The escape pod used to leave Dr. Croid's lab is the same model used in Tools of Destruction to get from The Hall of Knowledge on Kortog to Fastoon. It, like the pod before it, crashes. Much more spectacularly, though.
When the group finds the first holo-journal you can clearly see Body By Qwark sitting in the background. What it was doing in the Deadgrove is anybody's guess...
Coop Multiplayer: Though the game has been specifically designed to be playable with friends or alone.
Damn You, Muscle Memory: For those already used to the controls from the Future trilogy, this game may be a pain to re-adjust to, such as the Triangle button being used for the swingshot instead of selecting a weapon, as that's assigned to the Right Stick instead, and the game won't pause when you select a weapon (unless you're playing in Single-Player mode).
Foregone Conclusion: We're shown the last of Dr. Croid's logs first. It's kind of sad to find the first of the lot, knowing what's going to happen in the end.
Foreshadowing: In one of Dr. Croid's logs, he mentions using a "vectomorphic tricilloscope" on his pet, Mr. Dinkles, and discovers a strange form of energy inside of him. It's actually the Loki Master, the final boss of the game, possessing the pet for now.
Heel-Face Revolving Door: Nefarious. First he's evil, then he's forced into being not-so-evil, then he's just there, then he's helping to defeat another galactic threat, then he's evil again. And then maybe not.
Lampshade Hanging: Ratchet's response to the Plumber's appearance. Makes sense that it was Ratchet who was puzzled by the lack of "cryptic advice that will help us beat Nevo", considering how that turned out last time.
Fridge Brilliance: Of course the Plumber doesn't have any advice for beating Nevo. You never fight Nevo.
Meaningful Name: The Loki share a name with a Norse entity closely tied with mischief and mayhem.
Noodle Incident: It turns out the Z'grute is only the latest in Qwark-related monster attacks.
The Only One Allowed to Defeat You: When you play as Qwark and Nefarious, if Qwark is killed, Nefarious will yell, "No one kills Qwark but me!" Also, the ending cinematic where Nefarious backhands the Loki away from Qwark.
Only Sane Man: Doesn't show up often, but 'A Presidential Retreat' gives us Qwark, fantasizing about the eponymous retreat-slash-waterpark, Nefarious cajoling Ratchet to let him kill the Captain, Ratchet considering the plea and Clank trying to keep things moving along. Poor little guy.
Russian Reversal: One of the skill points is "On Planet Magnus, Vegetables Eat You"
Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: The very instant things go bad, Lawrence runs away . . . then again, this wouldn't be the first time he's done it.
Secret Weapon: Dr. Croid's "Last Resort" project. The game doesn't even try to hide the fact that you're just assembling a new RYNO.
Shout-Out: One of the first levels you play through is a training ground monitored by an AI. If you listen to her for more than five minutes, she'll start to remind you of another passive-agressive AI. Once she realizes that the players aren't trainees, but "interlopers" she even tries to deter them by damning them with faint praise and making mostly-useless threats. ("You remember those gold stars I gave you? They're gone now. Try hanging that on the fridge.") On a similar note, more than one villain asks if/how the heroes are "Still Alive"— sometimes several times in a row.
Also a different AI, at one point, lies about cake.
Tempting Fate: The Tharpod who steered the boat toward the lighthouse in Octonok Cay. Here's the gist of what he says:
Tharpod: Well, I'm off to go live a life free of Sepiads and tragic irony!
It will surprise nobody to hear that, roughly 30 seconds later, the King Sepiad eats him. Subverted after the fight with it, when the Tharpod comes crawling out of its mouth, raving about the horrors he's seen inside the Sepiad.
Toilet Humor: An example of Doctor Croid's Lombax whispering skills
Ratchet:Dr. Croid, we're going to stop Nevo from hurting anyone else but we could really use your help. Do you understand what I'm saying?
Croid:I think he needs to poo! I'll go get a baggie.
Video Game Cruelty Potential: It's a co-op game, and you're handed vacuums that let you suck up your friends early on. People are going to go flying everywhere. Including into the incinerator.* And you get a skill point for it, if it's Clank or Nefarious you toss in. Not to mention that if you turn "grief mode" on you can suck up other players whether they want to or not.* Otherwise the sucker must stand still and the suckee must be in the air.