Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows Review

Game-breaking glitches and a poor camera make TMNT: Out of the Shadows a bruised and battered shell of what it could have been.

Mikey won't stop talking about pizza. Between bouts of combat, he brings up stuffed crust, ponders the philosophy of ordering extra cheese, and complains about pizza toppings. It's all a silly monologue drawn out for comedic effect, but it's true to the spirit of Michelangelo, the goofiest of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Then the game freezes--if not here, then in plenty of other instances--and so you reload the latest checkpoint and fight the same enemies and hear the same banter over and over again. Eventually, you want to just drop TMNT: Out of the Shadows down the garbage chute like an old, grease-stained pizza box.

The classically named turtles didn't learn martial arts just to improve their cardio. They were born to fight, and that's what you're going to spend most of your time doing. The beat-'em-up combat mechanics are heavily influenced by the Batman: Arkham Asylum system. Attacking multiple enemies with energetic combos is quick and simple, and incoming attacks are highlighted for easy dodging and countering. As you level up, you can put points into powerful and satisfying team attacks, complete with cheesy one-liners. There's also a contextual jump button that lets you swing around lamp posts, roll over a fellow turtle's back, leap over a fence, and do a number of other acrobatic moves that look cool and help with positioning. There's even a taunt system that, when upgraded, buffs your team with useful effects. But for every success Out of the Shadows brings to the table, there's a ridiculous technical issue keeping your experience from ever becoming what it could be.

While Raphael fights thugs, you'll be fighting with the camera.

There are situations in which the turtles seem to ignore your commands. Tap frantically on the buttons without any response, and then, seconds later, that queue of blocks and attacks is spat out in a tardy and useless manner. You might not get into combat at all, however, because enemies are often stuck in the walls, floors, or pretty much anything else they touch. If you don't cross the invisible line that spawns enemies in the first place, you're left to roam an empty environment wondering what went wrong until all you can do is sigh, open the menu, and choose to restart from the last checkpoint. Of course, even if you do cross that line, an enemy might fail to enter the fray. Prepare to search every nook and cranny for that one guy who decided not to fight, therefore keeping you from making progress.

Even with four turtles, you're still going to be outnumbered in most battles. This is potentially exciting because the extra bodies let you attain high combo numbers and pull off more-powerful moves. In practice, however, the camera often jerks around too wildly for you to see what's happening. Special moves yank the camera too close to the action. Depending on what sort of acrobatics you're performing, the camera might spin or zoom on its own, disorienting you in the middle of a longer attack. And though it may not affect you, there is no option to invert the camera, making an already unpredictable game even more frustrating for those who prefer to play that way.

The poor lighting thrusts Out of the Shadows right back into them.

The plain and inconsistent level design makes it difficult to know where you're supposed to go. When all the streets and hallways look the same, there's little indication of how to move forward. Sometimes the ledges of buildings glow yellow, indicating you can leap across them. Sometimes that glow isn't there when it should be, leaving you to just run against surfaces and mash the jump button until something happens. In the worst cases, your turtles inexplicably have all of their combat animations replaced with the ledge leap animation. This leaves you totally unable to fight, since your swings and kicks are now little more than an awkward mime performance.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows could have been a fun, short romp with exciting combat, a silly story, and familiar green faces. A few broken battles in, however, you'll forget all about that potential. This is a sad, unfortunate showing for the heroes in a half shell.

The Good
Team attacks are satisfying to pull off
Turtle banter is faithful to the series' style
The Bad
Hard freezes are common
Camera flies around wildly
Difficult to know where to go
Buggy animations
Some enemies forget to fight you
3
Bad
About GameSpot's Reviews

About the Author

Brian Albert was a beloved freelancer at GameSpot until he joined the illustrious staff at IGN! We miss you, Brian.

Discussion

133 comments
ristactionjakso
ristactionjakso

Not a bad game at all. I havent experienced any bugs, the combat is great and the controls arent hard to master. 

theritty
theritty

I call B.S.  "could have been a fun, short romp with exciting combat, a silly story, and familiar green faces" ...ummm that's pretty much what it is lol I can't NOT agree with the faults but they're nowhere near as game wrecking as stated. This is the first game that lets you kick arse as the TMNT.

Voredor
Voredor

Some enemies forget to fight you. <<<<< hahaha i forgot how to evil

1XaN-
1XaN-

hay pls all said me how download this game For Pc :)?


Ilovegames1992
Ilovegames1992

What the hell? Maybe i'm blinded by just how awesome it is playing as the turtles and doing cool Arkham style combat, I really am loving this game, the camera isn't great but i've never encountered any game breaking glitches either.

cpinheiro2
cpinheiro2

I used to play Turtles a lot, specially on NES and Arcade. Its a shame if this version has really came that bad.

DbzJohno
DbzJohno

Can't stand that you can't invert your camera controls.

incrediblmullet
incrediblmullet

To all you people who have bought the game and are disagreeing with this review SHUTUP!! You paid for the pile of trash and you don't want to admit to yourself that you got ripped off. So of course you say its not that bad. Don't try and convince others to buy this crap just cause you can't face the fact that you did something dumb.

killip
killip

Nothing a few updates wouldn't sort out. I'll wait out to play it though.

beigefoot76
beigefoot76

While I agree with the other comments that TMNT OOTS isn't quite as bad as a 3, I do think that the lack of fluidity with the fight moves and that horribly annoying camera are being downplayed too much. These two negatives ALMOST ruin the game completely. Luckily it looks good and there's enough variety in the game as a whole to just barely save it. I'm hoping a sequel will improve these problems. I can't give it more than a 5.5.

GuillermoX
GuillermoX

Strange how heavily they complain about "fighting" the camera when the majority of the gameplay I've seen has a static view

Shouoken4Peace
Shouoken4Peace

Yikes. What a shame. It's hard to live in the shadow of such epic brawlers like TMNT Arcade for the NES and Turtles in Time for the SNES. It's even harder to live in their shadows when you are generally a shameful excuse for a downloadable title. Looks like it's time to bury their shells at wounded knee.

Samppu117
Samppu117

so im not sure is this game worth buying or not? some people say yes and some no

Hoops0123
Hoops0123

I don't full agree with this review. I bought the game after testing the demo and i enjoyed it. I think the lack of direction sometimes is annoying since they don't point you were to go but most of the time it wasn't that hard to figure out. I also never encountered in my play-through any enemy glitches. The camera wasn't great but overall for an arcade game i thought it was worth my $15.

kingotnw
kingotnw

I don't own this game, nor do I intending on buying it either way. But I just wonder if Game Spot is intentionally tanking their reviews. More and more now, if y ou look at Metacritic, Game Spot reviews are the exception to the norm. I can only imagine how bad this score would be if it was on a Nintendo platform.

RAPTOR24
RAPTOR24

Do not listen to this review, this game is much better than a 3.0! I would give it at least a 7.5 or higher. I mean for an Xbox Live downloadable game it is very good and offers a lot. Also if you are a TMNT fan then this is right up your alley, and one of the best TMNT games in a looong time. I love the fighting and team mechanics, the banter between the brothers and the graphics. Give it a chance.

wizardluxas
wizardluxas

glitches, empty space freeze, no moving character freeze, game gets locked in repeat as you try and use code door, give pizza to the knocked out, they stay knocked out, give pizza to self before dying and bar returns, but still get taken out in one hit.. (and a host of others)... perhaps they should have beta tested this more before release......

artiebillymac
artiebillymac

I actually enjoyed the game the only problem i have suffered is bad camera angles & the difficulty at times just gets to much . 

thezhe
thezhe

teenage mutant ninja turtle, teenage mutant ninja turtle, teenage mutant ninja turtle, ta ta ta ta ta ta ta ta ta!!!

supermarioooooo
supermarioooooo

BHAAWAAHAHAHAHHAAA  i knew that game gonna be shit. cuz stupid alien ninja turtles design and love of money. yes todays gaming understanding is this. they fucked flashback now ninja turtles.. we only have batman which is gonna be bad in next game.. cuz its same with arkham city..nothing special. why 3rd game? what is this hurry? wait next gen and make a totally new game..

Wolfkcing
Wolfkcing

This review is fair but I don't think I would have come down with a 3 for it. I find the game to be quite fun and entertaining. I don't care much for graphics and wasn't expecting much from an arcade game.

 Why does everyone complain about "getting lost?" it's not like the levels are all that big.

Cephrien
Cephrien

That sucks. I had hopes for this. : /

wgerardi
wgerardi

Knew this was going to suck.

CleitonMagno
CleitonMagno

I didn´t play IT yet, BUT LOOKS LIKE ACTUALLY THE GAMESPOT REVIEWERS ARE JUST TEENAGERS!!!! AND DON´T KNOW WHAT IS AN ARCADE GAME!!!


alayeesquire
alayeesquire

I have been playing this game nonstop since it came out and I've experienced only two of the problems described above (the random crazy camera angle and wonky hit detection). Other than those two, I have had a lot of fun playing it especially as I leveled up the turtles. The reviewer's opinions are his; however, I disagree with many of his statements. Maybe you need to be a hardcore fan who grew up with TMNT to truly appreciate the game, I don't know... but this game is nowhere near a 3.

vladiidotti
vladiidotti

For $15 it was definitely worth it. The bugs are annoying, but hope the developers are working on an update to fix them. Wonder what developers are saying about the poor reviews? It still is the best tmnt game to date. The nostalgia alone and fight sequences are great. If this was a $60 game, I'm sure a lot of the reservations would have been addressed. I'd give it 6 or 7.

Bumblebee1138
Bumblebee1138

@HeroClixFan88 The game really was a crap and have all the bugs this review pointed out. So maybe you should actually play the game before whining like a 12 year old bitch butthurt about someone's damn opinions.

zeh212
zeh212

@beigefoot76 Gamespot reviews are sometimes just crazy, GTA IV got a 10 and Diablo III got an 8.5 and League of Legends is reviewed with 6.0 and one of the arguments says it is an overexpensive game(its free to play now, wtf).

BigGhost_AJT
BigGhost_AJT

@Samppu117 Try the demo first.  I only played about 5 minutes of it and turned it off.  Straight trash homey.

Dragon_Relm
Dragon_Relm

@Samppu117 worth it if your a turtle fan, there's a demo on XBL no harm in trying it out.

pinky08_09
pinky08_09

@kingotnw how can you say that its the exception to the norm in Metacritic? tha average is 3.8 and they gave it a 3.0. theres is clearly issues that almost every reviewer found annoying and dissapointing

kalgert123
kalgert123

@RAPTOR24 Angry Joe calls it a disappointment

I agree with AJ on Youtube, he even made a lets play of it and I see: Clunky camera, repetitive combat and it just exploits a person's nostalgia.

That means you sir just got exploited..

sladakrobot
sladakrobot

@supermariooooooYou mad bro?
You laughing about what? Bad games coming for your console?
"they fucked flashback now ninja turtles" who is they?
Ubisoft made Flashback,Red Fly Studio made this game.
Why dont you play Batleblock Theater,Tales of Two Sons or State of Decay just to name few.

DonRoosevelt
DonRoosevelt

@Cephrien Read more of what the players are saying... most that have bought it really enjoy it... the ones that say it suck are hanging onto reviewers words like it's the words of Jesus Christ Himself.


Play it.. it's not as bad as this guy says.

rogi10
rogi10

@zeh212 They didn't review the free version, they reviewed the collector's edition that you could buy when the game was released.


jerusaelem
jerusaelem

@Dragon_Relm @Samppu117 Being a fan of something hardly means you have to eat whatever half-assed garbage they peddle out. Doing so is only more incentive for them to create half-assed garbage in the first place.

Yomigaeru
Yomigaeru

@Dragon_Relm @jerusaelem @Samppu117 I disagree. I'd expect that a "true fan" wouldn't accept lazy attempts and half-assed products in the name of supporting their favorite franchise/team/what have you. On the contrary, I'd expect those fans to be more upset and less forgiving than everyone else.

Dragon_Relm
Dragon_Relm

@jerusaelem @Dragon_Relm @Samppu117 True but a true fan appreciates what they tried to do and sees the things they "did do" right and enjoys it because of that and can over look "some" of the not so good. It might not be the best out there but Its still fun. Just look at true football fans there behind them whether they win or lose.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows More Info

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  • First Released
    • PC
    • PS3
    • Xbox 360
    Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows is a third-person brawler game set in New York City where players can go through action-packed adventures as Leonardo, Donatello, Michelangelo, and Raphael.
    5.9
    Average User RatingOut of 172 User Ratings
    Please Sign In to rate Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows
    Developed by:
    Red Fly Studio
    Published by:
    Activision
    Genres:
    Action, Beat-'Em-Up
    Content is generally suitable for ages 13 and up. May contain violence, suggestive themes, crude humor, minimal blood, simulated gambling and/or infrequent use of strong language.
    Teen
    All Platforms
    Violence