TMNT: Out of the Shadows Review
We’ve taken a look at what other critics thought of the game, but what does a fan like myself think of it? Well, while I’d love to say “totally radical,” the truth is that there are some fundamental problems with the game. That being said, I did have a blast most of the time and I feel like this is an excellent edition to the line up of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles video games. Whatever problems do exist, they aren’t enough to distract you from the fun that you’re having for too long. Before getting too far into this review, let me just say that my experience is coming from having played the PC version of the game and as of yet, no patch has been released for the game. However, there have been suggestions from the developer that they may be working on a patch, since they have come out and said that they are working on making the PS3 version of the game even better than the original release. To me, that screams “patch,” but we’ll just have to wait and see how they approach this.
So what was good about the game? It genuinely feels like a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles game. Before too long, you get used to these new character designs and it really starts to feel like you’re playing a TMNT game. Pulling inspiration both from the comics and even Nickelodeon’s cartoon, Out of the Shadows is a great hodgepodge of a title that offers all kinds of actions. The button combos start out simple, but eventually they become more than just a bit of a challenge. While the game clearly draws inspiration from titles like Batman: Arkham Asylum when it comes to the gameplay, the truth is that OOTS could be even more difficult. Let’s just say that you will absolutely need to learn how to counter, and you’ll have to time your counters correctly in order for them to be effective. Some moves cannot be countered and have to be met with other split second decisions. In the heat of the moment, I guarantee you will make a few mistakes as you’re getting used to the game.
The learning curve is pretty high on this one, but not so ridiculously high that it can’t be met. Sure, this game is challenging, but it’s also very rewarding. Taking out a large group of foot soldiers or mousers with your brothers just has a way of making you feel like a real ninja turtle. In addition to that, some of the moves you’ll pull off will have you staring at the screen in awe – until, of course, you realize that you have to get back into the action because there are more baddies to fight. Just like in many other TMNT games, you’ll be picking up pizzas for health. Unfortunately, they aren’t always plentiful and sometimes you’ll wish that you had more of them. Unlike in other Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles titles, you can use these pizzas whenever you want and they’re very helpful in a pinch. In addition to the items system, Out of the Shadows allows you to upgrade the stats for all four Ninja Turtles, giving you the freedom to decide what their next focus of study will be.
Also available in the headquarters section is the ability to train and learn the moves you’ve unlocked. This will become very helpful in the game and almost necessary, as thinking and learning on your feet while you’re in the thick of the action isn’t always as easy as it looks; taking a break and learning in the comfort of your own dojo is a must. Further down the hall, you’ll find Donnie cooking up all kinds of new tech, which you will earn points to unlock – much like the stat system. Donatello offers weapon upgrades which make for some interesting battles. Last but not least, there is a mode which allows you to play the game as a standard, sidescrolling beat ’em up. Needless to say, this is a great feature for anyone who has ever played the arcade games.
Okay, so if there’s all this great stuff, what’s so bad about Out of the Shadows? Well, some of the game design just leaves a lot to be desired. While it sounds like a good idea to have the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles chatting with each other in the game – kind of like what EA did with the main characters of the Battlefield: Bad Company series – in the end, it just becomes an annoyance. After all, we really don’t need to hear the same phrases and conversations ad nauseum for the duration of our gameplay experience. Let’s just say that their conversations actually get very old quite quickly. If this were the only problem, I’d be fine with it, but sadly the game is full of graphical glitches as well. You’ll find yourself fighting in mid air, staring down the inside of Michelangelo, and fighting off entire groups of bad guys alone because your brothers got stuck on some invisible wall somewhere. Oh, and invisible walls? Everywhere. This is a very linear game and there is not much room for exploration.
That’s probably one of the biggest problems I had with the game, because sometimes I found myself stuck and unable to progress, with no hint as to where I needed to go next. At least in the case of the arcade games, there’s a big arrow pointing in the right direction. However, in Out of the Shadows your path is sometimes a complete mystery, almost as if it were originally designed to be an open world title but they eventually decided to streamline the title and make it more linear. The problem with that is that they didn’t add the “big flashing arrow,” if you will. At times, you’ll spend up to fifteen minutes traversing throughout an entire level just trying to figure out where to go next. I’m sorry, but that kind of mistake is absolutely ridiculous. If they are working on a patch for this game, or if they are at least working on making the PS3 version of the game better, I hope this is the area of gameplay that they have focused on. I can live with the glitches and the repetitive conversations, but not knowing where to go or what to do in a straightforward, linear game? It drives me nuts.
All that being said, this game is still an absolute blast for TMNT fans. At a price of $14.99, I think it’s at least worth checking out if you’re looking for a cool new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles game to play. The positives definitely outweigh the negatives in this case, so don’t let Out of the Shadows pass you by!