When I was younger, I loved playing the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle games. This includes the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles games on the Nintendo Entertainment System and all the way up to my favorite, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles in Time on the Super NES. So when it was leaked and then finally announced that Activision had tapped Platinum Games to work on a new TMNT titles, I wasn’t sure what to expect.

We’ve enjoyed many of Platinum Games titles through the years, they’ve been hit and miss as of late. For every one good game they put out, there’s two to three that weren’t. I wasn’t sure if we were going to get the Platinum Games that gave us Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance and Transformers: Devastation or the same one that gave us The Legend of Korra

Game Name: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutants in Manhattan
Platform(s): PC (reviewed), PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One

Publisher(s): Activision
Developer(s): Platinum Games
Release Date: May 24, 2016
Price: $49.99 (Console), $39.99 (PC)

OK, before I even get into this review, I have to get this out of the way. Why in hell was Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutants in Manhattan even made with the lack of local co-op? Damn near every TMNT game was made with co-op in mind and while you can go online to do so, what’s wrong with a little local co-op between friends or family members? Argh, whoever made that completely dropped the ball and disappointment a huge majority of TMNT fans. During review of the title, my son asked if could he play with me. When I told him that it was only single player unless it was played online, he looked at me and replied: “That’s dumb!”.

I couldn’t have agreed with him anymore.

For everyone who was looking forward to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutants in Manhattan being the definitive Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles game that we’ve been waiting for, I hate to be the one to break it to you but this wasn’t the one. The game isn’t terribly bad, however, there isn’t really much here in the form of substance. The premise of the game is that our favorite team of ninja turtles need to piece together a string of incidents that ultimately lead up to the final confrontation with the main baddie of the game. Sadly, while the game was being pushed as having an original story penned by, that turns out being nothing more than the average “go here, stop that guy” grinding. If there was an original story, I completely missed it as I hacked and slashed my way to the end of the game. All I heard was the whining and nagging of April O’Neil telling me where to go, where the enemies were and that I need to go back to the lair to get new items. She even told me to get new items just as I started playing. Guess I was ill-prepared before I even got into the combat zone. And they call themselves, Ninjas.

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Speaking of hacking and slashing, the combat is perhaps the most interesting aspect of the game. Every turtle has access to a light and heavy attack, the ability to toss shurikens and the ability to perform up to four special abilities. Those special abilities range from strong attacks with certain attributes that add a little more oophm to your attacks or area of effect damage and even healing abilities.You’re able to earn access to new special attacks and even purchase stat boosts that allow you to enhance those special attacks. I’ll add that regardless of how strong those attacks are, it doesn’t really get relayed to the action on screen. It just seems like the upgrades are minor at best and it just feels like a waste in the games current state.

I’ll add that you can easily play the game without using any of the special attacks. Where the combat shines though is the ability to string moves together to form combo chains. You can string several light attacks into a heavy attack, do a heavy attack again and back to the light attacks. Repeat to get those long strings and watch the attack combo meter numbers start to climb. Just don’t get attacked and the game will keep going and going. In addition to that, the turtles are also able to perform team up attacks, however, it’s a bit tricky to get them pulled for successfully if you’re playing with the AI and seems to randomly happen. 

Speaking of the AI, during every single player session, it’s everywhere, which only contributes to many of the issues with the game. When you’re in the middle of attacking anything on the screen, the AI will jump in and take over. And sure, that’s ok, you want some assistance. However, it doesn’t just help but takes over and the combat simply becomes a race in if you can beat the, a race that you fail more times that you’d like. There were times that I was just standing there as the AI would take out everything remotely close to me and when I went elsewhere, it followed me. At the same time during the sessions where I had to get some information or disable a bomb, the AI would wait until I started the process and then every since turtle would then join in. Really AI? I know you’re trying to help and all, but let me have some part to play. 

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Swing and a… crap, he didn’t miss!

Backtracking is also a huge issue with this game. There are just too many instances where you end up in one location, only to have to backtrack to take out some enemy, find something or defuse something. I wouldn’t have minded this as much if it was one or twice, but 3 times in a single instance is too much.  It doesn’t help that April is constantly barking at you about where you need to go, like all of the time! Speaking of which, why are the stages named after the bosses? What happened to naming locations with actual names?

The boss battles, at first were a bit fun but ultimately boil down to how many hits you can pull off before the boss smacks you across the screen and taking out your favorite turtle. The patterns are easy to detect, yet at times, I found myself still getting hit even though I got out of the way in time. This is also another place where the AI simply isn’t much of any help as it constantly tries to pummel the boss, only for the boss to send the AI turtles flying all over the place and effectively taking out what would be your lifeline should you fail in combat. 

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The ability to swap between the turtles during combat is a nice touch, though I would have like it to be a bit simpler. It tends to get a bit messy during so during combat and having to press both the left trigger and a direction of where the turtle is mapped on the d-pad. Still, being able to pull off the swaps and pulling off some nice hit strings while using the specials at the same time does eventually put a huge smile on your face. Don’t expect to just run head first int the foot clan either, as they’re always scattered across the stages you’ll play in. Some are just out in the open, some are hiding and it’s up to you to find them. Thankfully the turtles have an ability called the T-glass, that lets you see them, where ever they are on the map. Without this, you’d spend the majority of your time trying to find the enemies and even with the “T-glass” it is still a pain to seek them all out.

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Even Slash is pissed off on how this game turned out!

The game isn’t bad for a few hours of mindless combat and it does that well. However, if you were looking for the next outstanding Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle game, sadly this wasn’t the one. Other than the hack and slack combat that is riddled with breaks, nagging from April O’Neil  and boring boss encounters, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutants in Manhattan simply didn’t fill the void that’s been empty ever since of Konami’s heydays. I’m a bit disappointed in how this game turned out and was expecting more from Platinum Games, especially have the stellar treatment that Transformers: Devastation received. 

Since this review is based on the PC version, I like to report of if the port included any PC-centric upgrades. Thankfully you’re ability to change the anti-aliasing, shadow quality, and texture filters, as well as toggling off the blur and V-sync. Monitor resolutions go up to 4K, though it won’t let you change your monitor to that unless you have a 4K monitor, which makes sense. It does not have the ability to detect your PC’s performance level, however. In action, the looks amazing and brings the game to life. So freaking awesome looking and you’ll be jumping and hacking away in style. However, the game only runs at 30 frames per second and I can’t understand that. Why is this in 30fps, even on consoles? There’s just not excuse for this, especially after their previous releases.

Oh no, you're very exposed in this title.

Oh no, you’re very exposed in this title.

You can choose from four different controller schemes, but you can not re-map the buttons to your choosing. Performance-wise, I’m happy to report that the game ran fine on a high-end rig, as well as a mid-range PC. I did run into issues with the video segments that played between stages and during/after boss battles, in which the audio sometimes played.You can choose from four different controller schemes, but you can not re-map the buttons to your choosing. Performance-wise, I’m happy to report that the game ran fine on a high-end rig, as well as a mid-range PC. I did run into issues with the video segments that played between stages and during/after boss battles, in which the audio sometimes played. And yes, you can play with both the keyboard or go at it with a controller. I know I’ll get smacked around for saying it, but why would you play a game like this with a keyboard?

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I’m not saying avoid this game at all cost, but I will say that if you didn’t enjoy Activision’s and Platinum Games, The Legend of Korra, then you’re likely not going to enjoy this either. I’ve played through the game twice for review purposes, but I’ve since uninstalled it and won’t be reinstalling this. I can only recommend this for only the hardcore of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles fans. For everyone else, you may want to think about putting down $40 dollars (PC) or $50 for consoles and instead try to rent or wait until the price drops. Sadly it seems that Platinum Games either doesn’t excel when it comes to licensed games and should focus more on their own IPs, or at the very least take a pass when it comes to doing video game adaptions of tv shows.

Half-baked heroes in a half-shell for sure.

Pros:

  • The combat system is the shining star in this game
  • The does look really good
  • Colorful cel-shared art style
  • Definitley embodies the tone of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles we all know and love

Cons:

  • OMG April, please shut up!
  • Mindless hack and slack that lacks any substance
  • No local multiplayer
  • Combat gets boring

 

  • Half baked heroes in a half shell
Overall
2.5
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About The Author

Keith Mitchell
Editor-in-chief and all-around good guy!

Keith Mitchell is the Founder and Editor in Chief of The Outerhaven. A grizzled IT professional during the day, but a passionate lover of video games after his 9-5 grid. Loves playing the Dark Souls series and has been gaming since he was 6 years old. Available for podcasts upon request.