TMNT: Mutants In Manhattan (Xbox One) Review With Live Stream
Online 4-player co-op
Working together as a team has some high points
Who knew Turtles could double jump and even float!
Boss battles are lame acts of attrition
Equipables do not drastically change gameplay
Shell Shock –
During the late 80s and even early 90s, there was no escaping the popularity of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. From movies, to comics, to action figures, these anthropomorphic mammals where everywhere and had several standout games including a four-player hit arcade game and an original NES game known for its brutally high difficulty. Unfortunately, the quality of their games dwindled as their popularity declined as the license switch publishers from Konami to Ubisoft to Activision. However, Platinum Games, usually known for producing a higher standard of games such as Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, the Bayonetta series, and Vanquish, are using their momentum from Transformers Devastation to try their hand at creating a four-player Turtles game that fans have dreamed about since the late 80s. While not terrible, it isn’t hard to see that Platinum most likely had a very rushed development schedule on a strict budget – most licensed titles do.
While controlling the turtles feels responsive and well animated with their running, double jumping, gliding and climbing skills, the overall framerate never feels as good as it should, especially for a high-speed combo-driven brawler – 30fps versus a smooth 60fps. Negatively, each turtle plays identically minus some slightly different super attacks. Like other Platinum titles, combat is mostly driven by two attacks: light and heavy. Holding the left trigger then pressing a face button will unleash a combat skill that can eventually be powered up with a stronger force or shorter cooldown. In other words, all the typical brawler/action game components are here, including blocking and dodging, but ultimately falls flat with repetitive gameplay.
Watch my live stream here:
While not really open world but not exactly liner, each stage is uninspired and boring. The sewer level, for example, looks exactly the same from corridor to corridor and even the streets are composed of nothing more than copy-and-paste buildings and streets. Without using the turtle vision mode, players would surely get lost after each turn. Each stage usually involves nothing more than pummeling the same bad guys, holding a single button to open a door or hack a computer (which takes much too long), or carrying gold from Point A to Point B. These mission objectives are tasteless and repeat throughout the entire 5-10 hour campaign.
Boss battles are also a major disappointment as they are nothing more than acts of attrition, composed of using the same dull hit and run techniques. Whittling down the seven meters (on normal difficulty) of health of each boss is never fun, always grindy, and do not distinguish themselves from each other. On several occasions I have slowly gotten a boss down to the last bit of health only to die from one mega attack, forcing me to frustratingly start all over again.
There are some technical issues that hold back the overall fun factor as well. The camera easily gets stuck on the environment and rarely points in the direction you want and the friendly bot-controlled AI turtles can be pretty downright stupid at times. Playing online with human players is by far the way to go but the online community is pretty slim even after a couple weeks after release. Worst yet, if players disconnect during a match, a match you could have very well spent over 30 minutes on, the game boots back to the main menu with all progress lost. This happened to me on a few different occasions and actually made me afraid of playing online. But at the same time, I do not want to play single player because the AI is awful. There is also no local multiplayer option, the pizza eating button mashing concept when you die doesn’t make any sense and is over before the player even realizes what is going on, and the in-game voice quips repeat much too often and are super annoying.
Combat and overall play control, especially team based coordination, can be enjoyable but it is difficult to care when the environments, mindless AI, and attack-sponge boss battles sour the overall experience. Even replayability is highly limited as replaying levels to earn a high score or finding hidden relics that yield weak rewards is nothing to get excited about. For the few things TMNT: Mutants In Manhattan does right, it does several things wrong… but what can you expect from a license title stuck in the 80s?
Not As Good As: the co-op arcade titles of yester-year
On Par With: Transformers Devastation
Also Try: Ducktales Remastered
By: Zachary Gasiorowski, Editor in Chief myGamer.com