Developer: Eat, Sleep, Play
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
After 12 years away from the major consoles, Twisted Metal has returned with a few new twists. Also returning is the producer people remember for the first two Twisted Metal games and Twisted Metal Black, David Jaffe. So does the grand return live up to expectations, or will you go to Calypso wishing for something better? Here’s the Review.
Shut Up And Bleed…
Twisted Metal has a new concept in the mix. In previous installments, players would pick a car that was assigned with a specific driver as the character. In this installment, players pick a car and assign a driver to it, choosing from Clowns, Skulls, Dolls, and Preachers. This can happen during the single player challenges and multiplayer modes; however, in multiplayer modes there are only two sides to choose from. New cars and weapons can be unlocked during the story mode of the game. Each car has different statistics in three categories: speed, armor, and special weapons. Each car still has it’s own primary and secondary special move, just like the Twisted Metal we all remember. Also, during certain points in the game, you can change the pattern and color of the car being used.
My Name Is Daniel Grimm…And I’m an A-Hole
Similar to previous Twisted Metal games, the story mode of Twisted Metal has a multitude of characters who enter into the underground tournament; should they survive, they get their wish. However, in this installment of the game, the story is broken up into three chapters featuring Sweet Tooth, Mr. Grimm, and Doll Face. There are 3 boss fights that transition into the next chapter (and ending) of the game, with live action cut scenes that convey the story of the character being used. During the story, all the different modes of Twisted Metal are on display. The campaign includes the traditional elimination of the other competitors, unique boss battles, and even races.
In multiplayer, available modes include Last Man Standing, Hunted, Team Death Match, Team Last Man Standing, and Nuke. Last Man Standing is Twisted Metal at it’s core, where one car or team tries to take the other out. Death Match is what you expect it to be, and Nuke is the best mode, featuring a twisted version of Capture the Flag. Teams try to capture the leader, sacrifice it to a launcher, and fire a nuclear missile at the opposing team’s statue.
Why Don’t You Use Your Skull For A Helmet? Doesn’t that Sound Familiar?
While the graphics might not blow everyone away, the overall look of Twisted Metal works for the tone of the game. A good portion of buildings and other structures are destructible, while running over pedestrians, drivers, or gunners makes for a nice splatter of blood on the screen. The stages in the game are varied, including a wintry city, a city suburb, and an arena. Most of the environments use a color palette that is heavy on browns, grays, or a mix of the two. While the look of the game isn’t the best part, this is only a minor flaw in the game as a whole.
Blah, Blah, Blah, Gimmie The Trophy
Controls of the gameplay are tricky, but they are very responsive. The learning curve is pretty high, and personally, I would suggest that newcomers start with the tutorial, rather than fumbling around on a more advanced level until you figure out the controls. Just about every button on the controller is used, and there’s even a control which requires the player to swing the controller forward. While the controls may be tricky, it takes nothing away from the fun that is Twisted Metal. Gameplay is fast, furious, and very chaotic. The actual driving will take some getting used to, as it’s not as refined as other driving games, but essentially, it’s everything you remember about past Twisted Metal games.
I am Calyspo…
I love the soundtrack. Heavy Metal? Check. Old school gangsta rap? Check. Sammy Hagar? Okay, check. Sammy Hagar, Rob Zombie, Ghostface Killah, and N.W.A. are all a part of the licensed music played during the game. In short, the soundtrack plays into the aggressive feel of the Twisted Metal realm. The sounds of crashing metal, buildings crumbling, missiles firing, people screaming, and gunfire are all very satisfying. Just writing about it gives me a warm feeling on top of my skull.
And I Thank You For Playing Twisted Metal
There are only a few drawbacks to Twisted Metal as a whole. Sure, the graphics aren’t mind blowing, but you aren’t going to notice how paint shines in the light when you’re getting chased and shot down with a rocket, clown head, and/or hospital patient strapped to explosives. My biggest complaint about Twisted Metal is that it is very hard. The story campaign, as short as it is, will frustrate you. Admittedly, I’m not the best Twisted Metal player in the world, but the level of difficulty in the story shouldn’t take you away from the bread-and-butter of the game: the multiplayer. One other thing I would like to have seen in the game is a special ability for the driver you select. I feel special abilities would add more depth to an already deep character system. Still, at the end of the day, it’s a minor complaint.
Unfortunately, you can’t rent this game to get the full experience, seeing as how you would need to purchase an online pass. Although I’d like to see some more modes used for the online gameplay (such as racing), that shouldn’t take away from how much fun Nuke and Deathmatch already are. Even single-player offline is fun. Should you need to hone your skills, this mode is a good place to practice before you play online. In the single-player campaign, the player can figure out which car best suits them, or try to figure out all the little nuances of a certain car they might want to use. Also, for some people, the live action cut-scenes are hit-or-miss. Personally, I got a kick out of them, even if I found the outcome to be a little predictable.
Initially, I was a little apprehensive about enjoying Twisted Metal, simply because I thought the car combat genre had grown stale. On top of that, I was nostalgic about Twisted Metal, so I didn’t want to see it come out with a bad product. With that said, if you’re a newcomer to the series, you’re initially going to have a hard time; however, once you have the controls down, you’re going to be turning the ice cream truck into a giant robot and throwing flaming chainsaws with the best of us. So if you’re a newcomer or on the fence, give it a rent. However, if you have fond memories of Twisted Metal, buy this game! I cannot stress this enough. A lot of care went into Twisted Metal, and there is a lot to offer.
Final Verdict: Twisted Metal gets 9 Flaming Clown Heads out of 10
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This review is based on a retail copy of the Playstation 3 version of Twisted Metal by Eat, Sleep, Play