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The Shipwreck that is Turtles out of the Shadows
by Kris Steele on 08/29/13 01:18:00 am

The following blog post, unless otherwise noted, was written by a member of Gamasutra’s community.
The thoughts and opinions expressed are those of the writer and not Gamasutra or its parent company.

 

Turtles out of the Shadows is a game that looks good (if you ignore the uncanny valley) but is one of the most seriously borked experiences in my gaming life. This makes me sad because some of the old Turtles games (especially Turtles in Time on SNES) are some of my favorite gaming memories. I played the trial of this game on the Xbox 360 and I can say with certainty that I have no desire to play anymore of this train wreck. Taking a look at a mess of a game I feel is a good learning tool for realizing things not to do in your own games.

Literally two minutes into my gameplay, the below screen shot happened. I started on some roofs and was told to press forward plus A to drop down. There was a bar that seemed to be of interest to the storyline but for no apparent reason I couldn't jump down from certain sections of the roof to reach it. Or so the developers assumed. I managed to find a corner (mind you this took about 10 seconds of trying) where I was able to halfway leap over the edge and then fall to the ground below. This put me outside the main level area into an area where I could walk through cars and people. I managed to get back to the main game by walking into an open area with no ground and I fell back to where I should have been. I would probably give this a pass if this was the only issue, but it was just the first.



Quickly it became obvious that the camera was the worst camera in any game that I have ever played. EVER. The camera stayed behind my turtle during non-combat sections, it never adjusted for where I was moving. I was constantly manually adjusting it. If I decided to turn around, I had to do a 180 with the camera controls to see where I was going. The camera in the combat was even stranger. It seems to want to show you where the action is happening but it does so very poorly. At one point I was fighting a mouser and another ninja and the camera did a 360 degree spin in place. WTF!?!

The next fun thing I ran into was a loading screen that wouldn't go away. After waiting a few minutes, I thought the game may have crashed. I hit Start to try and see if I could reset the level or something. The pause menu came up. I unpaused and was back to loading. I hit some of the face buttons and the loading screen went away. So apparently the game was done loading but did not dismiss the loading screen until I hit buttons on the controller (the loading icon was still displayed and spinning). I guess I have to know to periodically hit buttons now incase loading is over.

How jumping was handled is really odd too. If you are standing still, you jump straight up. If you are moving and press the same button, you roll. It's very odd to only be able to jump when at a standstill and straight up in the air. That goes against the play mechanics in pretty much every other similar game in this genre.

And then I ran into an invisible wall. Yes, not a barrier or a door or fence to impede my movement. It was an invisible wall near the end of a hallway that I could not move through (why they didn't just let me proceed to the end of the hallway where I could see a real wall is also puzzling). How lazy is that? And this is in the trial game, the area of the game you expect to showcase your game so that others will buy it.

There were a few other odd things I won't go into. The combat might get better but between the spinning camera and poor directional control of the turtles, it felt completely button mashing to me (but not in a satisfying way that happens in many beat em ups). It seems like the developers did spend a decent amount of time on doing quality artwork, sound, and voice work and some of the gameplay mechanics seemed interesting (on the fly switching between turtles for instance) but when you mess up fundamentals of the game and the game trial is bug ridden, few gamers are going to care about what you actually got right. Looking at this game, I really have to wonder if it was truly finished when it was released. At least if it were unfinished, there'd be an excuse for such a mess.


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Comments


Jonathan Jennings
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Ouch. I love the Ninja turtles so anytime new game is in the works for them I get excited but your experience definitely doesn't make me want to fire up my 360 to try it or not immediately anyway . I'll definitely have to go give it a try or watch videos of it but thanks for the write-up!


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