Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles™: Out of the Shadows
Gameplay 6
Graphics 6
Sound 6

As a big fan of the ninja turtles it pains me to see how much unrealized potential this game has. With a bit more spit and polish it could have been great but as it is the game feels rushed and unfinished. The combat is enjoyable once you get the hang of it but can feel imprecise and sluggish initially. Wait for a sale and hopefully a few patches before diving in.

Gameplay: With a bit more polish it could have been great.

Graphics: Some nice detail but overall a bit uneven.

Sound: The voice acting is great and the tunes fit the game nicely

Summary 6.0 Above Average
Gameplay 0
Graphics 0
Sound 0
Summary rating from user's marks. You can set own marks for this article - just click on stars above and press "Accept".
Accept
Summary 0.0 Terrible

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles™: Out of the Shadows

Developer: Activision | Publisher: Activision | Release Date: 2013 | Genre: Arcade / Beat ‘Em Up | Website: Official Website | Purchase: Steam

The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles played a big role in my childhood and while I haven’t checked out their Nickelodeon series I remain a fan of the four brothers to this day. Suffice to say I was quite chuffed when I heard about Out Of The Shadows as a decent Ninja Turtles game has been long overdue. There have been some nice attempts over the years but I was hoping that this game would finally capture the elements that have made the turtles such a timeless franchise.

The story predictably follows the exploits of the turtles as they investigate the doings of arch nemesis Shredder. Along the way gangsters and foot soldiers are beaten up with some Kraang aliens also making an appearance. Their reporter friend April ‘O Neil is also kidnapped along the way so as far as plot is concerned there is nothing here that we haven’t already seen before from the turtles.

The first thing you notice about this game is the visuals. I was under the impression that the game would be based on the Nickelodeon cartoon series but it appears that the developers mixed in some influences from the original comics and movies as well. The result is four very detailed but extremely freakish looking turtles. It took me a while to get used to their new look but the characters kind of grew on me. The diverse fighting styles and personalities of the turtles definitely helped in this regard.

While the turtles look good the enemies and environments are less impressive. The classic turtle games offered some very creative locations to battle through so it is somewhat disappointing to be restricted to dark alleyways, rooftops, sewers and subways. This might be more realistic than the beaches, floating islands and prehistoric levels seen in the past but it does become a bit monotonous. The game runs on the Unreal Engine so it also suffers from the usual texture pop-in problems. Enemies are a mixed bag and consist of the “Purple Dragon” gangsters, foot soldiers, mousers, robots and the Kraang aliens which are brains wearing humanoid disguises. You’ll encounter a few bosses as well but don’t expect to see old favorites such as Bebop or Rocksteady. The cut-scenes consist of cartoon stills with some voice overs which seem a bit out of place compared to the detailed turtle models used in the game.

The story mode only consists of four chapters set in various locations around New York but it takes about an hour on average to complete each level. The game is a third person brawler which fits the license nicely and you can switch between the four turtles at all times. The turtles not under your direct control will still continue fighting enemies and you can even use team attacks once you have upgraded the half shell heroes. Defeating enemies earns you experience points which enable you to upgrade your turtles once they level up. The upgrades are surprisingly comprehensive and lend unexpected depth to the combat. The combat can initially feel like a poor man’s version of the Arkham Asylum and City freeflow combat but once mastered you can pull off some impressive moves. The controls felt sluggish to me at first but I was soon countering enemy attacks and leaping all over the place during combat. I would definitely recommend a gamepad if you plan on pulling of feats such as 99 hit combos.

There is a dojo to practice the moves between levels and you can unlock weapon upgrades that make the turtles even deadlier. Sadly the camera which you have to control manually is a bit of a hindrance during battle and it is all too easy to get hit by enemies from behind which spoils your combos. You can interact with some parts of the scenery such as swing around poles or leaping off objects but overall the environments feel a bit empty.  I also encountered a few weird glitches such as my turtle repeatedly running up a wall before back flipping off which is a bit annoying during combat. You can only kick, counter or attack with your weapon as there is no jump button. Although there is no difficulty select, the game isn’t too tough and enemies actually have color coded attacks so you always know what is coming and how to counter. Levels are littered with shurikens, bombs, pizza and energy drinks which can be used during battle for healing or ranged attacks. Turtles do not share items that you pick up which is a bit of a hassle and the process of reviving downed turtles is also a bit fiddly in the heat of battle.

It’s clear that the developers care about the license and tried to create a great game but overall this title feels rushed. I suspect that the budget price might also have resulted in less funding which could have had an impact on the final release. I was impressed with the “Partners in Kryme” track from the original movie playing on the menu screen but during gameplay sound effects frequently dropped out and speech samples played over each other. The voice acting is quite good and Mickey’s quips about pizza topics and raising children had me in stitches but the comments repeat way too frequently which quickly becomes annoying. The hacking mini-games are also way too basic to provide any kind of challenge and only serve to pad out the game artificially. The final chapter in particular is littered with doors that have to be “hacked” first to open. You can employ stealth to take down enemies but it is not implemented very well and you can practically run up to an enemy and kill them with a stealth move provided they don’t turn around.

Apart from the story mode there is also an arcade mode where you get to play the game as a classic arcade title but with the modern visuals. You have to unlock the levels for this mode by completing the chapters in story mode but it is well worth the effort. This mode has to be completed in one sitting with no saves or checkpoints but contain plenty of homage’s to the classic turtle titles. I couldn’t help but smile when my turtle was knocked over by a car speeding out of a garage during combat. There is also some challenge maps and a survival mode for further longevity.

With a bit more time and polish I believe this game could have been a lot better. As it is I had a lot of fun but it is hard not to be disappointed by what could have been. Bugs such as the online co-op mode not working and the uneven quality of the visuals make this feel like a rushed title. The lower price tag helps to smooth over some of the bumps but it is still no excuse for releasing an inferior product. Hopefully a few patches will iron out most of the wrinkles but what this game really needs is a big budget sequel to truly show off what the turtles are capable of.

*Review originally published September 2013.

System Requirements

  • OS: Windows 8, Windows 7, Windows Vista, Windows XP
  • Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo E6600 @ 2.40 GHz/AMD Phenom X3 8750 @ 2.4 Ghz
  • Memory: 2 GB RAM
  • Graphics: GeForce 8800 GT series with 512 MB RAM or ATI Radeon HD3870 with 512MB RAM
  • DirectX: Version 9.0c
  • Network: Broadband Internet connection
  • Hard Drive: 5 GB available space
  • Sound Card: DirectX® 9.0c or later Compatible Card
  • Additional Notes: Internet connection for Steam activation and multiplayer functionality.

Related posts

Grand Theft Auto IV

Grand Theft Auto IV

Its hard not to harbor some resentment for the delay and lesser port that PC owners have received with this game, but at the end of the day it's still a lot of fun to play and a great game. As long as you can look past the technical issues that is. Gameplay: The technical issues and more "mature" feel detracts a bit from the gameplay but it's still good. Graphics: With the right hardware this game looks stunning. Sound: Decent voice acting and loads of good tunes.

METAL SLUG 3

METAL SLUG 3

I have to confess that I am a huge fan of the Metal Slug series and number three is one of my all time favorites. It has been fourteen years since the game was originally released in arcades, but it has lost none of its charm or playability. It once again hooked me right from the start and prompted quite a few playthroughs even though I am very familiar with the levels. Veteran players are in for a nostalgic blast from the past while newcomers have a chance to see why this game is so highly regarded by fans of the genre. Gameplay: An action packed run and gun title with awesome vehicle and huge bosses. Graphics: The 2D visuals looked excellent way back in 2000 and still hold up great to this day. Sound: As chaotic as you would expect from an arcade title.

Borderlands: Mad Moxxi’s Underdome Riot

Borderlands: Mad Moxxi's Underdome Riot

After I praised The Zombie Island Of Dr. Ned as a good example of how to do DLC properly Gearbox goes and does the exact opposite with Mad Moxxi's Underdome Riot. The arena fighting idea is nice but by removing all the XP and loot gathering we are left with a empty shell of the addictive Borderlands experience. This could have been so much better. Gameplay: A tedious grind with very little to show for all your efforts. Graphics: Nice, but nothing we haven't seen before in the main game. Sound: Pretty good, but Moxxi can become a bit repetitive with her quips.

Full Bore

Full Bore

Full Bore is a sprawling adventure with plenty of puzzle based challenges to tackle while you are exploring. Apart from a few rare instances you are not racing against a clock or facing any type of enemies so you can progress at your own pace. Some players may find the experience too sedate while others will be hooked by the fascinating gameworld and tricky puzzles. Gameplay: A block based puzzler with some very clever challenges. Graphics: Lovely pixel art with some great animations and lighting effects. Sound: An excellent glitch/blues soundtrack rounds off the package.

Borderlands

Borderlands

Borderlands is a unique first person shooter with some nifty RPG elements making it very action packed and addictive to play. For the best results the game should be played in co-op as the story is rather thin and the game has a very MMO feel to it. The unique art style and abundance of weapons makes this game a great time waster. Gameplay: Thin on story but lots of action and loot hunting. Graphics: The visual style sets it apart from other first person shooters. Sound: A good soundtrack and decent voice acting.

Lily of the Valley

Lily of the Valley

Lily of the Valley is a great update of the free visual novel released by ebi-hime in 2014. In addition to some stunning new artwork and a great soundtrack the story is still as unique as it is captivating. Don’t let the visuals fool you, this novel is not as lighthearted as it first appears and thanks to some great writing the story is a lot more memorable than expected. The game is short enough to complete in a single sitting, but still manages to have a bigger emotional impact than stories that are ten times longer. Gameplay: Pretty much a kinetic novel with only a single choice, but the story is so good that it is hard to stop playing. Graphics: The updated artwork looks really nice, but the option to play with the older visuals is a nice touch. Sound: The hauntingly beautiful soundtrack is definitely a highlight.

Leave a comment

thirteen − 1 =