Review: Twisted Metal

So it has been quite some time since most of the fans of Twisted Metal have received a sequel, reboot or whatever to the franchise. That last title coming out almost four years ago on the PS2 so it was about time to bring one Sony's biggest, and in my opinion one of the best, to the next gen hardware. This is just what they did. So how did this franchise hold up and is it worth picking up? You'll have to read on for that.

The Story

Set in a weirdly fucked up world, contestants of a "demolition derby" of sorts vie for the ultimate prize of anything they wish. All they have to do is survive the competitions and kill everyone else. You get to take a romp through the stories and wishes of Dollface, Mr. Grimm and the iconic Sweet Tooth. Unlike other TM's though the stories flow from one into the next instead of requiring the playing to effectively replay the entire game in each character's shoes.

Hated

First and foremost I would have to go with the multiplayer. At the time of this review it has been close to impossible or frustrating to actually get in and play online. Once I do get into a match it is a blast and you can see some of the real bulk of the design work, but it is the wait and constant denial to enter a game room. The fact that this is one of the selling points of the game and it is plainly not working correctly, at this time, is a huge setback for Twisted Metal. I this was only suppose to have plagued the Demo and not the full game. Looks like something got slipped up over at ESP or Sony and it brings a bit of hate out.

While I was having issues with the MP I figured I would play through the story mode of the game. This brings me to my second real thing I hated. There were so few and a bit predictable. Also, it seems like Sweet Tooth was the only one who actually got a full story while Dollface and Mr. Grimm mainly had their story recapped with a little new info in the middle. Tooth was the only story that had an actual middle that wasn't 90% recap of what already happened. I get that the game wasn't designed with the single player thought first, but I was hoping that focusing on only the three characters would have lead to more rounded stories. I do hope that there will be expansions to make up for it even though I know it would lead to nickel and diming us fans.

Lastly, for a game that has had PR reps and developers stating that it is not a racing game there sure was a lot of it. But that's not the gripe. While it did make up for about 1/6 of the story mode it also seemed to be the glitchiest part of the game I encountered. While I've read that other reviewers had issues with coming in first place while killing off the opponents I kept finding myself getting blown sky high with a single rocket and getting glitched into mountains and buildings. In the past I complained about physics in the game and steering, which has been fixed by the way, in the races it is like gravity is ignored completely. There should be no reason the same rockets would rock me as hard while not speeding in the races. Not to mention getting stuck in buildings or transported to other parts of the map instantly. If the car could teleport you'd think I'd teleport to the end of the race and call it a day.

Loved

I know I mentioned it in the Hated section, but I do have to give some of the love to the online multiplayer too. When I am able to actually get into a ranked game I have so much fun that I lose all track of the real world. This goes for the solo play as well. But do notice I said ranked matches though. This is due to the fact that the game and matches feel close to 100% balanced when playing by the rules that have been set down by the designers and developers. Unranked can still be fun but not as much. But in the end this is exactly what I wanted from Twisted Metal.

While linked to the above it needs its own part of my love. The Nuke mode of the game is absolutely amazing. It adds a perfect mix of strategy and mayhem to a game that main focuses on completely destroying all or one car. While it may seem like a "capture the flag" kind of match there is a bit more to it. For one you not only need to capture the enemy leader but then hold a position and stay alive to sacrifice the leader so you can take control of a missile. Then you have to guide the missile, while keeping it "alive", to attack the enemy. I'll admit when I first heard about it I was skeptical and did not think it was going to be as amazing as it is. But now I'd be happy if it was the only option to play in multiplayer.

Moving on I have to touch on the actual level designs for the game. With all the news and views of the game leading to launch we got to see some of the basics and how well they lent to the game play style. Once you actually start to speed through the levels/arenas you can see all the extra details and throwbacks to the past Twisted Metal titles. That is not to mention all the extra paths and hidden paths that can easily turn the tides or completely screw you. I only wish I could drive around and get a real appreciation without being blown up.

Lastly, the weapons and special variations are what I've been looking for in all of the years of the franchise. In the past I always felt that there were a lot of "reused" weapons or weapons that felt to similar between characters. Be it storage space or something not fully designed in the past that is not the case in this new edition to the franchise. I feel like I learn something new about each weapon that changes it even more with each match. Not only do they feel new but you can feel that each was treated with the same level of detail as each vehicle. Almost like the weapons were treated like Laserbeak and the vehicles being Soundwave. Not a perfect analogy but it gets the point across. I think.

Overall

When all is said and done, should you give Twisted Metal some of your time? Plain and simple I'd say yes but with a warning to take into account. As I said above, at the time of this review they are still plagued with network issues and this is where a bulk of the game will be played for most of you. Yes there is a story/single player mode, but as of now it has not eaten up enough time to hold out for the issues to be resolved.

Like I said though I do fully recommend picking up Twisted Metal if not now, soon because it has been one of the best gaming experiences I've had in the past months. I am sure that if it has piqued your interest at all you will get hooked; at least once you can get into the multiplayer.

Twisted Metal was developed by Eat Sleep Play and published by Sony exclusively for the PS3 on February 14th 2012. A copy of the game was purchased by me for review purposes. I played through the main story campaign and many hours of multiplayer in all modes. I particularly stuck to Nuke as it was my favorite.