Over in a Flash
Here’s a game which consists of 4 levels and wraps up in just a few hours. $14.99 is too high a price for so little. In fact, the only area of the game that feels like a ton of thought was put in is in the character progression system. It’s mind-boggling that such a deep system would be embedded in a game of such short length.
The quality of the overall ride is poor. You have some solid voice acting and interesting still panels progressing the narrative, but the actual meat of the game is a letdown. Between fights, broken stealth segments and boring hacking mini-games force their way in. In addition, a clunky and too-close camera will interrupt the platforming portions and the more crowded battles. And that’s assuming you make it to those next battles. Sometimes an enemy will remain still and sit off in a corner somewhere, preventing a cutscene from triggering. Other times you’ll scour the environment for a yellow-glowing object trying to figure out where to go next. That will happen from time to time thanks to the absence of a mini map or other guidance systems.
In the end, there may be those that find some redemption in the game’s Classic Mode, a throwback to TMNT’s side-scrolling arcade days. However, even that nostalgic mode isn’t safe from the numerous problems the game carries.
Combat Isn’t Fluid
TMNT: Out of the Shadows is a poor man’s Arkham City. Clearly Red Fly drew inspiration from the Caped Crusader’s exceptional series, but they failed to replicate it. There are four main inputs: weapon attack, heavy kick, counter and dodge/roll. On paper, this tried and true combat style sounds great and a wonderful addition to a TMNT game. However, the execution does not deliver. Unlike Batman, the Ninja Turtles don’t seamlessly shift between their opponents. Instead, they sit in place as rocks while their enemies rocket away from them.
This is annoying given the fact that special moves become available after a 10-hit combo. It can be rather frustrating to watch your combo disappear after your character fails to counter properly or ends up knocking an enemy to the ground. The latter is what will get you. Knocking an opponent to the ground almost always ends up with your turtle dishing out a missing follow-up attack rather than picking the baddie back up to take more of a beating. In fact, this happens quite often when you use the heavy kick attack, a combat option used to break an enemy’s guard.
Why would I want to break their guard and knock them down, thus ruining my combo chain, when I could keep racking up my combo counter by hitting them (regardless if they’re guarding) and use the special finisher? There is a fundamental flaw in the game’s combat setup. When the combat scenarios provide tight, full battles, sometimes a glimmer of decent combat comes through. But it’s usually ruined moments later by the sluggish and rigid fighting mechanics. I guess these heroes are more turtle than ninja when it comes to speed.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows has the foundation to be a respectable video game, but a plethora of flaws weigh it down. The vibrant and beautiful recreations of the Ninja Turtles are about the only piece of eye candy to be found. Although co-op has its moments, chances are you won’t be experiencing much of it (if at all) until a patch is release, at least for PC players. The fact that we’re expected to buy an unfinished product is outrageous. Couple this with the incredibly short campaign and cumbersome combat and you have a game you’ll want to steer clear of. Simply put, these heroes in a half shell should have never come out of the shadows.
[Editor’s Note: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows was reviewed on the PC. The game was provided to us by the publisher for review purposes.]