Twisted Metal Review: Car Combat's Explosive Return - Twisted Metal - PlayStation 3 -
Switch Lights

The lights are on

What's Happening

Twisted Metal

Twisted Metal Review: Car Combat's Explosive Return

The Twisted Metal series will always have a place in PlayStation history. In the early years of the PSone, the successful vehicular combat game brought attention to a console trying to establish its identity. After creator David Jaffe left, the series floundered with two disappointing 989 Studios installments before returning with the hit Twisted Metal: Black. After a 10-year hiatus from consoles, how does the series stack up in a vastly different gaming landscape largely devoid of vehicular combat games?

In terms of classic Twisted Metal gameplay, this is the best the series has ever been. When the game drops a handful of vehicles into a gigantic, destructible playground littered with weapons, it’s a blast. Most of the classic weapons are back, although developer Eat Sleep Play altered some things slightly. Each vehicle now has two special attacks, remote bombs can be shot forward, and new weapons like the stalker and swarmer missiles operate with a simple charge mechanic and deal massive damage if timed correctly. Abilities like reverse turbo and alternate sidearms also help mix up your strategies.

Perhaps the most convenient change to the gameplay is the way players access energy attacks. In previous games, sequences of three to four d-pad presses were required to access secondary abilities like the freeze, landmines, shields, and rear fire. In this new installment, you access all of these with one simple press of the d-pad. Firing an EMP at an enemy is as easy as pressing up, while your missiles can be fired behind you with a quick press of down on the d-pad. This simple tweak significantly improves ease of use.

Twisted Metal saves its most notable changes for the single-player story mode. Previous titles typically featured over a dozen characters with unique endings. This new title ditches this approach in favor of a single linear story featuring Sweet Tooth, Mr. Grimm, and Dollface. Each of these segments follows the formula established in Black: You first learn their motivations for entering Calypso’s tournament, receive a story update halfway through the game, and then witness the results of their granted wish when they finally confront Calypso. Told through stylized vignettes that mix live action and CG visuals, these stories are campy at times, but each is interesting and well produced. Given their decent quality, it’s disappointing to have such a limited selection of narrative perspectives.

The lack of character variety is disappointing, as are the moments in the story mode when Twisted Metal deviates from its strengths. Classic deathmatches are always fun, and a couple of the boss fights are great. However, things go awry when the game introduces checkpoint races and non-traditional boss battles. One race is completely unwinnable if you fall off any one of numerous skyscrapers, and two poorly designed multi-stage bosses really tested my patience.

Thankfully, the multiplayer is pure Twisted Metal. Deathmatch modes place you in one of the game’s numerous massive maps, and it doesn’t take long for things to turn into an all-out warzone. Nuke mode is chaotic and entertaining, with two teams capturing their enemy’s leader and launching him or her at a massive effigy of the opposing team. Hunted and Last Man Standing are also fun, but can’t compete with the insanity of Nuke. Gamers irked by the “die five seconds after you spawn” experience from titles like Call of Duty should enjoy the longer lifespans of Twisted Metal’s online play. On the other side of the coin, shooter fans used to extensive progression systems may be disappointed with Twisted Metal’s bare-bones ranking system. Though it has an XP system, all you can unlock are sidearms, vehicles, and skins that are already offered in the story mode.

When Twisted Metal embraces the series traditions, it delivers the best action ever seen in the franchise. When it departs from convention, however, it becomes a hit or miss affair. Whether or not vehicular combat can strike a chord with gamers in 2012 the way it did in 1995 remains to be seen, but Twisted Metal is a blast when it’s firing on all cylinders.

User Reviews:

  • 9.50
    Twisted Metal is Fast. Real fast. If you just jump in the multiplayer right away you will get obliterated. I suggest play a few offline modes to get the controls down then once mastered go ahead and take the fight to others. This game was built around multiplayer both online and offline, creative director...
    read more
  • 8.50
    I have been with the franchise since my cousin had the first few on the Playstation. I've kept up with the games except for small brawl, if anyone remembers that. It was a real fun experience for me and I understand everyone is pissed that online is in updates right now, but for the most part I love...
    read more
  • 7.75
    When I was five years old my uncle visited my house and brought some video games with him. One such game was the PS1 release of “Twisted Metal 2.” The fiery explosions of 32 bit car combat danced across the screen in a foreign yet inviting aroma of simulated destruction. I watched him play...
    read more
  • 9.50
    Okay, to get this out of the way quick and painless, I am a fan of Twisted Metal. I grew up with the series(and no im not a serial killer......or am I!) as a child and still defend it to this day. Recently the GI reviewers said it was a decent game, but I believe its more than decent. First the Problems...
    read more
  • 9.50
    I have been a fan of the Twisted Metal series since the beginning. My favorite prior to this was Twisted Metal Black. When this Twisted Metal was announced I made sure I pre-ordered it. Finally the game is out and it is amazing. Over all the gameplay has not changes, it still has the fast-paced, tight...
    read more
  • 9.25
    Solid game, tight gunplay and driving mechanic. Some flaws and frustrations in one player, but no too bad. I have not yet played mulitplayer, so this review may not be acceptable to some, but the servers were down. I've been a TM fan since day one and had high expectations, Eat, Sleep, Play exceeded...
    read more