I’ll be direct in the approach here from the get-go. The new TMNT game is embarrassingly bad.
And it really breaks my heart.
The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles have been among the most beloved mainstream lores since the mid-80’s, spawning universal success and acclaim almost throughout everything they’re stamped on. From the hit TV show, to movies, comic books, toys, and other merchandise, “turtle power” was all the rage and to an extent is still alive and well.
Getting back into the gaming sphere, the self-titled games on the NES and SNES were fantastic.
The new ones haven’t been anywhere near as great, but with Platinum Games at the helm, there’s no possible way Mutants in Manhattan falls flat, right?
As it turned out, Mutants in Manhattan fell into a sewer nowhere to be found. Cowabunga.
What Is It?
Whether you watched the originals on the USA Network or the new ones on Nickelodeon, the story bangs on the same drum. Shredder and Krang wanna take out Leonardo, Rafael, Michaelangelo, and Donatello all while trying to take over the world by first taking the streets of New York City.
As pedestrian and unoriginal as the story is, it’s probably the highlight of the game. Levels take forever to load, but that’s okay because you’re treated to rather long cutscenes that don’t do a bad job of emulating the show on Nickelodeon.
Other than that, it’s the Platinum gameplay that takes front and center, and let’s just say it’s nothing like Bayonetta though it’s obvious that the similarities are there. It doesn’t even channel Transformers the way we hoped. I’d mention that other licensed game Platinum was responsible for, but I’d rather not.
Why Should I Care?
For what it’s worth, the controls in the game aren’t too bad. In fact, they’re as fluid as one would expect a good Platinum game to be. This is a combat-based action game where close quarters combat reigns supreme, and it’s fun… For about 15 minutes.
The game just lacks any sort of real variety to hold your attention. When you first boot the game up, they recommend you take the tutorial. It’s straightforward. You learn about the intricacies of walking around, jumping, and attacking, and then to stir the pot a little bit you learn about the game’s stealth gameplay, and then soon enough you learn about the ninjitsu and other special abilities that each turtle is capable of performing. And then you also learn how to switch to whichever turtle bro you have on the fly–which is probably the only annoyingly awkward thing about the game’s controls.
The tutorial is actually well put together. Here’s the problem: Most of what you’ll do in every level is run up to basic enemies and tap on the attack button.
That’s literally all I did throughout my aggravating six-hour playthrough.
I ran across the streets of New York City, charged at enemies, and constantly tapped on the attack button. When my turtle got weak, I healed myself. When too many enemies approached, I used a ninjutsu ability. Once in a while, I switched out Donatello for Rafael. I can’t even begin to tell you how boring this all was. This is honestly only remotely acceptable in a sidescrolling 2D beat-em-up, which is probably what this game should have been.
So basically, I spent five minutes learning about stealth and how to parry, and for the six hours I actually spent on the game’s single player, not once did I need those moves or information.
What’s even more ridiculous is the fact that each level is named after its main boss. For example, the first level is called Bebop–whom you fight at the end. The levels give you the feeling that the game is an open-ended sandbox, but it really isn’t. You just traverse across the map, and use your radar to find strange things happening, which usually results in just ridding the area of enemies or going on wild goose hunt to flip switches.
And then when you reach the boss, he’s only difficult to take out because he has a bunch of health bars. Because of how big the boss arenas are, it’s nearly impossible to play defensive by figuring out attack patterns because they move around so much and the horrible camera does nothing to help.
To make matters worse, the game’s last level is just a gauntlet of all the bosses, which is probably the biggest no-no cliché in any action game.
What Makes It Worth My Time And Money?
There is absolutely no reason to turtle up the $50 for this game.
The only way you can have fun for more than 15 minutes in this monstrosity is if you’re playing with a friend, but here’s the kicker: It only supports online multiplayer. There’s no couch co-op. In other words, Activision is expecting you AND a friend to have the game to play with each other.
How did TMNT get this bad? Or rather, how exactly did it end up this bad with Platinum Games at the helm? We all know they have an A-Team, but it’s abundantly clear that it was the F-Team that handled this game. If it wasn’t, this developer has some explaining to do. No more giving them the benefit of the doubt.
Here’s to hoping the movie is good. It has Stephen Amell, who’s like the most awesome dude ever, so it can’t suck. Can it?