I’m not going to waste my time teasing this review. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows is lousy. Skip it. If you want to find out what makes it so bad keep reading.
TMNT: OOTS is a bad, buggy, unfinished wreck of a game. I’m tempted to do this review as a list, which we all know is the lowest form of “writing,” but even I’m not that lazy.
Or am I?
The cutscenes look like they were hastily made on MS Paint.
This is how the devs decided to present the game, and so this is how I will present it to you. These ugly, static cutscenes move along the plot. Check out Donnie down there. He has found himself a boot.
The enemies come in four similar flavors of grunt.
Purple Dragons, The Foot, Mousers (and Man-cers --don’t ask) and the Kraang --it’s all the same. Some hit harder than others. That’s about it. Other than the miniscule Mousers, I felt I was fighting the same enemy in every level. There are also a handful of annoying, uninspired boss fights --and by handful I mean three different bosses over four chapters. Do the math.
Environmental deja vu.
Bland is an overstatement. The alleys, sewers, docks, and rooftops all feel like the same boring corridor arena. There’s no radar or objective indicator. I would say this makes it difficult to navigate the levels but they’re too linear to cause any disorientation.
Voice overs are a jumbled mess of catch phrases.
Spin-sanity! Welcome to the STAFF meeting! Do you like catch phrases? Do you love them? I mean, really, REALLY love them? Do you like it when people speak over each other? Do you think you can spend the rest of your life listening to the same lines over and over again? Because after an hour with OOTS this small collection of phrases with haunt you to your grave.
The Turtles look embarrassed to be here.
Look at them. Do it. They need to feel shame.
Special moves require intimate knowledge of the right thumbstick.
This is pretty much where the whole thing goes to hell. The combat system on its own has some redeeming value. Each Turtle has their own move sets, taunts, and special abilities. There are some very cool combos and team attacks you can pull off with other human players (forget about it with the AI). An upgrade system unlocks some decent finishers.
Once I got past mashing X and Y combos it just sucks. You have to hold the right trigger and perform quarter, half, and full circle movements with the right analog stick to perform special moves. I found myself holding the right trigger and spinning the analog stick at varying speeds, hoping a power move would register.
The counter system could kill Batman.
The counter system in OOTS is a hobo’s version of the Arkham titles’ fluid block and counter combat. Whereas Batman is the goddamn Batman, the TMNTs are not. The laggy, unresponsive counter system makes me wonder if the Turtles collectively asked someone to hold their beers right before the fight began. When it works, it’s cool. When it doesn’t, consider yourself face punched. Spoiler: It’s almost never cool.