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Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutants in Manhattan

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Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutants in Manhattan
Tmnt-mim-fob-ps4.jpg
The moment Nickelodeon's partnership with Activision came to a screeching halt.
Genre(s): Hack and slash
Platform(s): Microsoft Windows
PlayStation 3
PlayStation 4
Xbox 360
Xbox One
Release: May 24, 2016
Engine: Platinum Engine
Developer(s): PlatinumGames
Publisher(s): Activision
Country: Japan
Series: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Successor: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder's Revenge


Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutants in Manhattan is a hack and slash game based on the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles franchise. It was developed by PlatinumGames and was the last Nickelodeon-related game to be published by Activision. It was released on May 24, 2016 for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, and Xbox One, and is PlatinumGames' third licensed video game, succeeding The Legend of Korra and Transformers: Devastation. Less than eight months after release, the game was delisted from digital stores in January 2017.

Why It's Shell-Shocked

  1. Co-op mode is online-only. They were going to add couch co-op but it was never implemented.
  2. Locked at 30 FPS on PC and consoles. For PC, this can be fixed with mods. While this has been the case with the recently released Astral Chain, Vanquish, & MadWorld, this game has no legitimate reason not to limit it to 30fps.
    • Note that this issue wouldn't be on here if it weren't for the fact that Robert Conkey, the producer gave a "hypocritical" response to the framerates and lack of co-op; “We actually really wanted to do local couch co-op, but the problem is if you do, then you have to split the screen, and suddenly your 60FPS situation gets a lot worse, and it also starts limiting, technically, the things you can do, so we had to go with online only.” They could've just reduced the resolution like they did with Bayonetta 2 and NieR: Automata, but they refused to due to unknown reasons.
    • It also could be a possible side effect of being on the PS3 and Xbox 360 alongside PS4, Xbox One and PC, but here is the catch, both The Legend of Korra and Transformers: Devastation were 60FPS on both last gen and next gen consoles, so it's either hardware limitation from PS3/Xbox 360, laziness, or both.
  3. Limited selection of moves and attacks, especially when 75% of the time you're using the same attacks over and over to clear the stages. This is added by the fact that the moves have cooldowns that range from 30 seconds to 5 minutes. For example, Turtle Time has a cooldown of 300 seconds at initial level. Half of the time, the performance on the moves can always be beaten by button mashing because the damage on the moves per cooldown is too low.
  4. Terrible controls; parrying and dodging are mapped to the same button, and the lock-on cannot switch to other enemies and is mapped to the L3 button. To switch between a turtle, you have to stop, press L2 and use the D-Pad. Speaking of dodging, if you dodge too many times your turtle gets stunned for a few seconds.
  5. Mind-numbingly dull combat, which consists of repetitive button-mashing alongside waiting for moves to come back between 30 seconds and 5 minutes. 
  6. It's extremely easy to become disoriented because of all four turtles attacking at the same time in a blur.
  7. Little to no challenge; the turtles can revive each other without limit, and even if one of them "dies", his health will completely regenerate after a few seconds. If a player is not revived in time they'll play a button-mashing minigame to get back in the action. The only way however to get a game over is if everyone dies at the same time, which shows the four turtles panicking back at the lair, despite the fact that they can get back in action immediately.
  8. Enemies are just generic sponges, and barely have any challenge. In fact, while you fight slower to make up for the fact that all four turtles are fighting, it doesn't help that the enemies are barely threatening.
  9. It even has the need to shoehorn things like stealth objectives which April, your mission commander, throws at you. However, the concept of stealth, four guys, and fast-paced action sound more like a gimmick that a successful concept. There's hardly any reason to do them because you can still progress the stages normally.
  10. While this game has a lot more bosses than The Legend of Korra (around nine bosses in total), they make you fight the first six bosses in General Krang's stage for no reason. Speaking of the 9 bosses, it has the need to shoehorn fights in them as "secret boss bonuses" which often times have hidden criteria or the requirement to play on a higher difficulty. For example, on Rocksteady's boss fight, Bebop jumps out partway through the fight on Hard difficulty or higher.
  11. Easy Levels, Hard Bosses: What makes the game even more boring is that the enemies are simple enough, but the higher difficulties mostly make the enemies damage sponges, and the bosses are major damage sponges which take around 15 to 20 minutes to finish, serving no challenge whatsoever. This not makes the game fun, but rather boring and monotonous. This should be a reminder that hit sponges are not good game design whatsoever.
  12. Repetitive level design and objectives which mostly revolve around holding down the button for around 20 to 30 seconds or delivering objects that slow you down.
  13. Some of the graphics lack anti-aliasing so their shadows sometimes get pixelated.
  14. Superficial upgrade and combo customization system. Each character can use every ability, so there's little to no uniqueness between the four turtles. 
  15. Unresponsive commands which AI teammates barely listen to, and the teammates' AI is too dumb; they get in the way of things or refuse to listen to commands. Most of the time, the turtles often times run in random directions instead of just following you.
  16. Some of the settings are broken. For example, the inverted camera option doesn't even work whatsoever, as it doesn't do anything. The camera still turns the same way even if you have it on.
  17. In Karai's stage, there is a large pylon you can climb to earn a secret trophy/achievement. However, the pylon is really hard to climb because you have to move perfectly straight, as it gets thinner and you can easily fall of if you are slightly off-center. Compounding this is the fact that your teammates will climb the pylon with you, even if you command them to stay put, and can nudge you off it.
  18. Overpriced. This game cost $50, and has only 9 stages, most which are artificially padded by tasks where you just hold down the button and damage sponges, and nothing else except for multiplayer which is the exact same thing except other players are controlling other turtles with the addition that it lets you play the stages freely without having to beat them in single-player.
    • Speaking of that, the multiplayer co-op even spoils the later scenes of the gameplay, as it lets you play any stage freely, even if you haven't beaten them in the main story mode.
  19. Sequel baiting: The ending has the TMNT find Shredder's helmet left behind, where they eventually leave it behind and talk about going to eat pizza. At the same, Shredder takes the helmet, and then cuts to the credits.
  20. It ended Nickelodeon's deal with Activision on a sour note.

Redeeming Qualities

  1. Colorful art style that captures the tone of the comics the Turtles originated from.
  2. Nice cel shaded graphics.
  3. Decent voice acting, with the standouts being Nolan North as Leonardo, Splinter and Shredder, Steve Blum as Krang, Mick Wingert as Raphael, and Fred Tatasciore as Rocksteady and Slash.
  4. In the PS4 version, the light bar on the controller changes color depending on which turtle you're playing as, which is a nice touch.
  5. The pizza-eating minigame, where you make your turtle eat pizza at the lair to restore lost health after being knocked out can be amusing, but expect to do it a lot during co-op on higher difficulties.
  6. You can unlock covers of the IDW TMNT comics, which can please fans.
  7. Captures the cheesy, light-hearted tone of the early and recent TMNT cartoons, despite the art style resembling more of the comics.

Reception

Mutants in Manhattan was received unfavorably, with the PlayStation 4 version having a Metacritic score of 45 based on 27 reviews, the Xbox One version having a Metascore of 55 based on 14 reviews and the PC version having a rating of 48 based on four reviews. The game even managed to dethrone The Legend of Korra as Platinum's worst ever game (before Babylon's Fall dethroned it in 2022). Before it got delisted, it had a "mixed" reception on Steam.

As noted on the PlatinumGames office tour in 2018, the physical game along with Infinite Space (which was co-developed by Nude Maker) was not on their list of games, likely to reflect on its negative reception for the former Mutants in Manhattan. Dave Rudden from IGN rated it 4.9 out of 10, calling the game short, bland, and highly repetitive, while also expressing criticism at the lack of local co-op multiplayer. GameSpot awarded it a score of 4 out of 10, saying "Without a doubt, Mutants In Manhattan is a disappointment, one multiplied several times over not just by its pedigree, but by the fact that the ingredients for a good game are present."

Trivia

  • The game was directed by Eiro Shirahama, who also directed the Legend of Korra game from two years earlier. Notably, people can tell that he had learnt nothing from the Korra game's negative reception as the latter was far worse in every way imaginable!
    • Eiro Shirahama would leave Platinum in 2017 and instead go to Capcom, where he worked on the Resident Evil 3 remake and Ghost 'n Goblins: Resurrection as project manager for both games.
  • This game is the last Nickelodeon-related video game to be published by Activision, because their next game starts a new deal with GameMill Entertainment. It is also the last non-crossover TMNT video game for a while until the announcement of Shredder's Revenge in 2021.

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