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Twisted Metal Review

Greg Tito | 21 Feb 2012 19:00
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I did mind playing with the default control scheme. My hands cramped trying to accelerate and reverse with a button press instead of a trigger, and when you change the scheme to one more suited to light driving games like GTA, you will be a lot more comfortable. Piloting the few aircraft in the game is another scheme altogether and you might take hours to figure that crap out. I appreciated that Twisted Metal came with a printed manual - a rarity today, it seems - but I realized there's a reason most games don't make you go searching for a piece of paper to learn how to play. Figuring out all of the special moves and hairpin turns your car can do takes practice, but I wish Twisted Metal did a better job at teaching new players. I don't want to have my hand held - especially by a creepy clown - but I didn't like the constant feeling of frustration either.

The challenge level of the game is generally high, but it fits. On normal difficulty, Twisted Metal will take several replays of each mission before you beat them. It feels like an old-school platformer, beating some levels and the "boss" chapters that end each campaign takes a combination of practice, luck and talent that leaves you with a sense of accomplishment. Depending on your skills, the 18 single-player missions will take you 10 to 15 hours, which feels about right.

The replay value comes from multiplayer, and Twisted Metal doesn't disappoint with how you can compete both online and locally. The modes vary from simple deathmatch all-out battles to scenarios based on specific missions like the Nuke mode and they are all pretty fun. I was thankful for the local splitscreen to play the campaign cooperatively or just duke it out with a buddy, but it's weird that option is grayed out unless you have a Cat-5 cable connected to your PS3. The multiplayer servers have been sketchy since the game launched, but Sony has mostly figured out whatever the problem was.

Twisted Metal has all the hallmarks of the franchise with tons of fun to be had blowing up cars with missiles, remote bombs or a quick shotgun to the windshield, even if you have to wrestle with the controls a bit to get full satisfaction from a kill. The horror movies that punctuate the single-player campaign are all well-acted and directed, but other than providing a cursory connection to the action, there's almost no relation to the gameplay. There's nothing inherently wrong with such a setup, but games have made such headway in storytelling that it's a shame Twisted Metal's formula of unconnected cutscenes feels dated. I kept imagining ways for the story to be enacted within the engine of the car combat, as well as wondering if the exact gameplay of Twisted Metal would appeal to a larger audience if it used say, Mario, Luigi and company, instead of a serial killer with a flaming clown mask.

Bottom Line: It was a probably a good idea to update Twisted Metal for the PS3, and the combat and ambience is intact, but there's nothing here to push the medium beyond the 1990s era that spawned the original.

Recommendation: Hardcore fans of Twisted Metal will find a lot to like with this reboot , but unless you have a burning love for heavy metal music, cinematics depicting brutal violence, or NASCAR, you can probably pass.

Game: Twisted Metal
Genre: Vehicle Simulation
Developer: Eat Sleep Play
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Platform(s): PS3
Available from: Amazon(US), GameStop(US), Amazon(UK), Play.com(UK)

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