Reviews aren’t always easy. Take this one for instance. I have been trying to find a way to start it for the past two days to no avail. Why you ask? Mostly because I am, like so many others, a huge Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles fan and all I have ever wanted was for TMNT: Out of the Shadows to be good.
Developer: Red Fly Studio
For fans: Bad games.
Reviewed on: Xbox 360
Also available on: PC, PlayStation 3 (releases later in the year)
If we had to give it a numerical score: 3.5/10
What I liked
- Donnie’s Arcade
Not so much
- 3rd person view
- Monotonous action
- Ineffective AI
- Writing this review
The game starts off good. The visual candy looks great and does its job of getting the blood pumping for a great experience. However, once you start taking control of the turtles the issues start. Unlike previous TMNT beat em ups, TMNT:OOTS is a 3rd person game. Before each mission you choose the turtle you would like to use – which doesn’t really make sense though, as the player doesn’t really just take that one turtle out on the mission. All four brothers take to the streets and the player, if playing alone, has the option of changing between them as needed. This sounds great and all, but is really just a nuisance throughout. The three extra turtles don’t really do much in a support roll capacity when not used except trying to look busy against the bad guys you fight, mostly losing and then sometimes, when you are just about to finish a big combo on your very own enemy, tackle them out of the blue making your nun-chucks hit nothing but air.
Speaking of fighting, Out of the Shadows does have an extensive move list for each different turtle. Each character can attack with two options, weapon or kicking. As you progress through the game and level up you can also unlock bigger combos and generally improve your turtles as you see fit. However, even with these, all you will end up doing when playing alone is use the same turtle and bash the same buttons until each foot, Krang-cyborg or random thug is dealt with. You also have a counter button you can use to block incoming attacks which, if used correctly, does a counter-attack against the enemy. The fighting doesn’t have a flow to it though, so it never really feels right when you do use it. There is also a stealth option which just means crouching and sneaking up to a “bad” person and taking them out swiftly without making any noise. Not really sure why you need to crouch though because you can also sprint up behind that same bad guy and do the same.
In between the fighting though, a turtle needs to rest and what better place to do this than at your super-secret sewer hangout? Here you are able to learn the different combos for each turtle, upgrade your weapons and spend some time at your in-house arcade. I mention the arcade since this is where the best part of the game is. Here you get to choose your turtle and play in a more classic look than the main game. It is just you and all the baddies you could hope for. Using similar fighting game play to the main game, but in a side-on viewpoint, somehow just improves the game tenfold. There is no AI to get in your way and your 3rd person perspective won’t get stuck against a wall making it impossible for you to see what you are doing. Just pure, simple arcade fun.
The story telling is no different from the rest of the game. The cutscenes are styled after comic book panels with very bad voice work over it that doesn’t sync most of the time. The story isn’t that long though and you should be done with the game in about 3 – 4 hours.
I don’t like saying lazy development is the cause of this game because I know jiggly squat about game development, but it does feel like a bit of a rush job and I think more time on the drawing board and Quality Assurance process would have done this game wonders. It could have been great. Sadly though, it is not.