The lights are on
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 for
half an hour, asking an endless stream of questions about everything I saw,
when he finally looked at me with a smile and handed me the controller. This
was the first time I had ever played a video game in my life, and needless to
say I was hooked for many years thereafter.
time there have been many hit or more often miss sequels, and my interest in
the series faded. Then, just last year, Eat Sleep Play, the original developers
of Twisted Metal 2, announced that they were rereleasing and reinventing the
series. Suddenly, that long faded spark began to ignite, and I found myself
more excited than I’d been for a long time. On Valentine’s Day it was released. With bated breath I inserted the disk into my
PS3 that same weekend, and was greeted by an experience that failed to
Metal hasn’t lost its spirit in the last 15 years – one of its greatest
strengths – it isn’t 1996 anymore, and it’s likely that the major appeal exists
predominantly for long time fans of the series. The controls are more or less
the same: pitting your vehicles in different settings throughout the world to
demolish each other in the most outrageous ways possible. Weapons like missiles,
turrets, napalm, and even remote control cars with bombs strapped to their tops
are attained through pickups throughout the maps, while each character’s unique
special attack charges over time. These special attacks span from turbo (for
ramming vehicles) to a hurled flaming chainsaw to an ice cream truck transforming
into a robot with a jetpack. The insanity of what goes on in the game is
transferred to the level design, with destructible buildings any vehicle can
just drive through as if they were paper, pedestrians running around in a panic
as the world around them crumbles.
are perfect for combat, but terrible for the new racing missions peppered
throughout the story mode. In fact, the story mode as a whole was a bit
disappointing. Instead of each vehicle having a driver with their own z grade
back story there are only three characters: Sweet Tooth the serial killer clown,
Mr. Grimm, the game’s mascot and troubled ex-gang member, and Dollface, the
psychotic, masked ex-supermodel. While Sweet Tooth’s ice cream truck, Mr.
Grimm’s motorcycle, and Dollface’s semi are all available to use, any character
can now inhabit any vehicle. Unfortunately, the appeal to a Twisted Metal with
a linear story isn’t very high, and while the concept and mechanics work fine,
it seems like something is lost in the process. After getting through poorly
constructed boss battles, enemy A.I. that focus exclusively on you regardless
of all the other combatants they should be dealing with, and a lukewarm plot, I
had begun to question the decisions Eat Sleep Play made when taking the game in
this direction. That was before I played multiplayer.
sports both old school split-screen and a bare bones online multiplayer system.
There are some very basic rewards for experience points, but the gameplay
itself is where Twisted Metal truly shines. Modes like Team Deathmatch and
free-for-all are a blast as always, but they don’t compare to the madness of
Hunted, where you receive points for defeating the player who is the “hunted”
but then become the hunted yourself (I call it Murder Tag). My personal
favorite is “Nuke Mode,” an insane three phase battle similar to capture the
flag. This game is meant to be played with friends, either offline or online,
and that is clearly where it finds its most comfortable place.
game did not disappoint me at all. It was entertaining, energetic, and over the
top. If you could get over the lack of polish and sometimes frustrating
difficulty due to imbalanced A.I. and a finicky physics system, then there’s
the potential for hours of fun with your friends. I leave my controller
decidedly satisfied with where the series is now, and optimistic to where it
could go in the future.
To be clear I don't agree with the scoring system of GameInformer. Everything is too darn high. using g.i. numbers i give it an 8.5.