When Platinum Games announced a new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles game, I have to admit I got excited for it. The wait for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutants in Manhattan was a waiting game I felt I was losing with each trailer released. Now that the game is out, how does it hold up? Finish up your pizza, it’s time for the review.
Do The Kids Still Say “Cowabunga”?
Mutants in Manhattan follows the cast of the four irradiated turtles, as they investigate a series of crimes around Manhattan, which leads to a much more sinister plot lead by General Krang and the Shredder. The Story Mode of the game allows players to play through the first six chapters anyway they want to, unlocking the final three as they go on.
Each of these side missions varies from protecting a pizza stand, clearing out enemies in a certain amount of time, moving an object from point A to point B while encountering enemies to slow you down, or disarming a bomb or device to name a few. Most of the levels follow the same formula of completing a few side missions to lead to the boss battle. It is kind of cool to mix it up with old school guys like Rocksteady and Bebop, and some of the newer bad guys like Wingnut and Armaggon. However, while most of it feels the same, there are a couple levels toward the end that mix it up a little. A level and boss battle featuring mechs and another featuring a gauntlet of the previous bosses are some of the better parts of the game because they’re different.
Save a Slice For Me!
Mutants in Manhattan’s controls work well and are responsive which is huge in a lot of key boss battles. The problem is in the combat system itself, which doesn’t feel like it has enough emphasis on defense or countering blows or variety between the turtles. The game feels very much like an old school beat-em-up or hack and slash type game, but it’s all a flurry of offense from both the player and the A.I. Hits from the smaller enemies are hard to detect because everyone usually gangs up on the same enemies around the same areas. Once this happens, it’s a flurry of offense and mayhem. At times makes things difficult to actually see what’s going on.
This is where the online co-op really shines over the single player campaign. In co-op, you can at least talk to people to establish a gameplan or ask for help when needed. In the single player, with most of the commands, the A.I. partners are going to attack just about everything that moves. What hurts the game most is the lack of variety between the Turtles themselves when it comes to their abilities. The differences with each character are so minimal it doesn’t make much of a difference which character is used. It should be noted you can customize each character out to have certain special abilities from super moves to healing. However, most of the special moves don’t necessarily make a big difference to combat.
Such Noble Pepperoni… Such Moral Mozzarella
One of the things that split the game is the art style of the game. On one hand, the style in which each character is done looks fantastic. It’s best compared to the Borderlands series. If you’re a fan of that cel-shaded animation, this is right up your alley, at least for the characters. However, I can’t say the same for the environments. Most of the game is spent on the empty streets of New York or in the sewers, with the exception of a couple levels. The city, the streets, and sewers look bland and most of the levels don’t do much to tell one level from the other, aside from the TCRI building.
Mutants in Manhattan only had a few small technical issues that didn’t break the game but just looked odd because characters would just jump in place without any commands. Also, with such a heavy emphasis on cooperative teamwork, it seems odd that local co-op isn’t available for the game. That being said, playing online is where the fun is to be had. Customizing each turtle to your needs makes it feel like this is what was intended from the beginning. If you’re a Michaelangelo guy, you can load up each special toward your specifications. That, in part, is what the game should be as a whole. If you like Mikey, as opposed to Donny, or Raph to Leo, then you can have a reason for it (at least in this game) and work on each of their skills. It’s just a shame that there aren’t very many character specific abilities in the game.
The groundwork for a better TMNT game is there. It has the feeling of an old beat-em-up/hack and slash game, with some RPG elements thrown in. The writing and voice acting in the story mode had some humorous moments that were the heart of the four brothers we know and love. The art style for each character was beautifully done. The combat, while solid, lacked variety for each character which is something that can be worked on. Although the game is pretty short, most of the game still feels repetitive and doesn’t feel like it’s worth coming back to visit alone… Unless you want to grind to power up the abilities.
Final Verdict: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutants in Manhattan gets six cans of TCRI ooze out of 10.
This review was based on the retail copy Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutants in Manhattan developed by Platinum Games and Published by Activision for the Playstation 4.
- Voice Acting and Writing
- Art Style of the Characters
- Online Co-op
- Very Repetitive
- Art Style for Environments
- Lack of Variety for Characters