Ever since the 8-bit days of the Nintendo Entertainment System I have been hooked on the four green dudes from the sewers: The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. As an adult I can vouch that I am still partial to watching the classic 80s Cartoons on YouTube and I’m certainly not shy when diving in to session of TMNT IV: Turtles in Time on my SNES. I often wonder why the franchise has become so popular in the Video Game world? Perhaps it has been the steady consistency of TMNT video games over the years that have kept fans involved? Or perhaps it’s down to the evolution of the TMNT cartoons that have barely gone off the air since I was a little girl? Whatever the reason I’ve wondered if it was possible to ever fall out of love with such a prolific franchise?
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Mutants in Manhattan had a lot of hype around it. The trailer looked stunning and the cel shaded graphics really seemed to transport the franchise back to the comic book roots from the 80s. The Foot, Bebop & Rocksteady, Shredder; everything looked great in my humble opinion. Platinum Games were given the task to bring the four green dudes alive on the PS4, Xbox One, PS3, Xbox 360 and PC but did they create a good enough games to satisfy the longest standing fans? I played through the campaign and was left feeling a little underwhelmed!
A really bad idea…
TMNT video games are rooted within a cooperative campaign. Not just cooperative but what us gamer might call Couch Co-op. It might seem to soon to start talking about dislikes but there is no couch co-op. Why? A lot of fans would have loved to have experienced this feature but unfortunately the rise of the online multiplayer culture triggered the demise of classic couch co-op. Call me old fashioned but this sucks! TMNT Mutants in Manhattan does hold a slightly redeeming feature. It may come as no surprise that you can flick between the four green dudes at any point throughout live gameplay. Each turtle has their own Ninjutsu abilities that can be developed by gaining experience points after each level. This slice of RPG element to Mutants in Manhattan made me smile. It worked well and I enjoyed changing my abilities around after each level. Naturally, some abilities are more useful than others. I doubt many of you will be overly thrilled with the Boost Jump!
Levels, levels and more levels
I’ve always preferred the TMNT side scroller action games as opposed the the 3D levels. Mutant’s in Manhattan held my attention reasonably well. Reasonably! The first level took place on the streets and on rooftops of Manhattan. The city looked bland and became repetitive very quickly. Unfortunately this was a recurring theme for all of the levels. Okay at first but frustratingly monotonous. I got the feeling that Platinum Games rushed TMNT Mutants in Manhattan to coincide with the release of the new TMNT film. That’s a classic move from the big wigs but it comes at the cost of compromising quality.
There’s no denying that TMNT Mutants in Manhattan looks absolutely stunning. The cel shading is top notch in all areas. I’ve started to become less and less interested in graphics over the years as I feel story carries a lot more weight to a video game but I think the call shading is one of the stronger points.
I’ve read a lot of comments from fans that doubt that battle mechanics saying things like “they feel sloppy”. That’s a new one on me. I went in to Mutants in Manhattan with a closed view of what to expect as I’d heard some very average things about it. With that being said you’ll have an option to barrel in to the tutorial mode at the beginning of the game. I’m glad I did this as there’s more to the controls than one would expect in a TMNT game. How did this translate in to real time game action? Pretty well. Switching between turtles seem fluid and executing the Ninjutsu moves were great. Think fast paced hack & slash and you'll have a good idea of what to expect from the combat. There were a few occasions where there appeared to be too much going on at once which led to some stuttering of frames. Typically this occurred during the boss battles (which took some serious killing!). Again, it seemed a little rushed. Whilst pulling off crazy Turtle combos felt great it wasn’t as great losing some frames.
Should you buy it?
This is an easy question to answer. In fact I can give you multiple:
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