Thursday, May 26, 2016

TMNT Muntants In Manhattan Review: Heroes In A Half-Ass!

PlatinumGames is a game developer I love... but they seem to be on a down swing at the moment. Star Fox Zero was a giant piece of garbage and this game unfortunately isn't too much better... but at least it's kinda better. So how good is TMNT's newest game really?

So let's get this straight. I couldn't find any TMNT continuity that this story fits into and I know my TMNT better than most. The story is your basic TMNT affair. Shredder and General Krang are laying siege to Manhattan with some mutants(duh!) to distract the Turtles from their main plot... you guessed it, to make a portal to invade Earth! The story is so generic for the game, I swear it's been recycled from almost every version of the TMNT. Despite that it's... ok. The whole General Krang thing made me think this was part of the ongoing 2011 TMNT comic series, but April makes references to the 80's and 2001 TMNT animated series too in the game, hence why I can't seem to work out which continuity it fits in... so I'm sticking it in the Elseworlds pile. To put that in English... it's it's own thing using the familiar names and elements.

Going to get this out of the way now, the visuals in this game even on PS4 are designed well... but has a bland colour palatte. The art designed is based on my favourite ongoing TMNT comic artist, Mateus Santolouco... but the colour palatte doesn't do the art style justice. On top of that combat becomes a clusterfuck with all the attacks going on and it just looks messy and incoherent with all the motion effects on the weapons. This game visually just doesn't do the TMNT justice and it's baffling that PlatinumGames made a game that looks like this, even MadWorld was visually more interesting.

If you expected new gameplay from PlatinumGames... you must have been dropped on your head! TMNT has used the same template they've used for Transformers Devastation and Bayonetta... and it somehow doesn't feel as good this time around. While each Turtle has their own fighting style, they all feel the same to play and with 4 Turtles on screen... you may end up forgetting which one you're using. It gets worse with the dodge mechanic feeling sluggish and the A.I of the other Turtles seems to range from super violent... to super stupid! Hell the A.I. in general seems to be really bad across the board.

The game has 9 levels, each is explorable for collectibles and has a boss. It's quite simple and is a problem too. The level design is very bland and generic and to make matters worse, the colour palette is terrible! I know I already mentioned it, but it just looks so flat and nothing pops against it. Anyway, the basics of each level is complete a bunch of random missions until the boss gauge is full and get to the boss. It's actually surprisingly linear and doesn't hide it either. On the plus side, the missions do go by really quickly... but you can get a lot of empty areas that makes you wonder why they didn't just make a 2D side scrolling beat 'em up. You do collect items to use but outside of the power ups and pizza(used for healing... a doi!), you won't use them. There are collectible comic book covers too... but they do nothing!

The boss fights kinda suck. No seriously, they are not as good as they looked in the trailers. The enemies deal way too much damage and they have health bars that would make Super Star Wars blush. Pretty much unless you've mastered 30fps dodging, these fights will be very difficult and go on for a really long time. The bosses are just damage sponges, especially on higher difficulties! Think that's bad? There are secret boss fights that randomly show up in the middle of a boss fight, yeah it has no defined trigger either. This is annoying since there are trophies linked to these and the secret bosses can up the difficulty further, though it is cool to see Bebop and Rocksteady team up together.

The game's upgrade system is pretty bad. You earn points that are used to upgrade the special skills called ninjutsu... because ninjas! Almost all the ninjutsu are usable by any Turtle so you can just load up whichever ones work best for you. These range from AOE attacks, to boosts and even healing. Problem is that all it does is reduce the cooldown time. You also get charms to equip that don't make you any stronger either! All the charms do is stuff like better drop rates or status ailments to inflict on enemies. The charms can be upgraded with scrolls you get from enemies, but you'll realise it's a grindfest for nothing really quickly. The charms are useless in the long term. Yeah, this game doesn't want you to get stronger at all.

This game is definitely built around it's multiplayer, yeah... now everything becomes clearer! The multiplayer is online only and each player chooses a Turtle and is matched up with players using the other three. Unfortunately for you, I don't play online multiplayer unless I can do it without a subscription fee... so I can't give you the nitty gritty. The game is built around randomness and repetition, so I bet you can guess how it goes. As I've said before, a game must stand on it's single player and multiplayer is a garnish. I bet most people will experience the secret boss fights online!

This is where I nitpick, so buckle in folks. The game runs at 30fps, which is frustrating for this type of game. Games with an emphasis on fast action gameplay should be running at 60fps, especially on PS4! This game is only 9GB! This isn't a hardware issue since last year's Transformers Devastation ran at 60fps on all versions of the game and was 12GB, so what happened here? Also it feels WAY more repetitive than Transformers Devastation and this game were build on Bayonetta's foundation. The missions may be random but they are the same ones, regardless of stage. The items are so damn useless outside of power ups and pizza because they don't really do anything substantial. Yes they do damage to enemies, no they don't do enough to justify the time wasted and the damage you'll receive trying to use them. It's also a 6 hour game! Most people hate short games, so add that to the list.

So in the end, the TMNT franchise has another mediocre game under it's belt. It seems PlatinumGames is either losing it's flare... or Activision got them to shit this game out in time for the new cinematic abomination's release... which makes much more sense! The gameplay is not up to PlatinumGames standards at all. It's repetitive and short at 6 hours long with the claws of online multiplayer sunk deep into it's flesh! Throw in damage sponge bosses and all the other problems and you get a game that just feels like another lazy licensed cash in that can only really be enjoyed by the most extreme TMNT fans... except me because even though I'm a TMNT fanboy, I'm also a seasoned video game player. Wait for a price drop on this one guys, or better yet... play TMNT Turtles in Time for SNES or MAME instead.

Score 5/10

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