Graphics:
8.2
Gameplay:
8.8
Sound:
8.9
Control:
8.6
Replay Value:
8.5
Online Gameplay:
8.0
Overall Rating:
8.5
Publisher:
SCEA
Developer:
Eat Sleep Play
Number Of Players:
1-16
Genre:
Action


Ah, Twisted Metal . There’s something about that name, isn’t there? There is. And because the name itself can have all sorts of reflective connotations, we have a double-edged sword: on the one hand, you harbor this old-school bias and give a new entry the benefit of the doubt. On the other hand, you hold that name to such tremendous standards, which are often artificially inflated thanks to rose-tinged nostalgia glasses. So this wasn’t an easy review to write. But hey, it’s what I do. I figured it out.

The graphics may be a low point in the eyes of some, but I personally see an upgraded Twisted Metal: Black , which I assume was the developer’s goal. It’s dark, gritty, oh so sadistically violent, and loaded with plenty of great effects. It may not have the tremendous sharpness and clarity we’ve seen in other productions this generation, but it has a singular style that is synonymous with this stellar series. And the level design is absolutely spectacular; that stands out above all else.

The sound is just plain stellar, as it’s driven by a kick-ass soundtrack that keeps every level thumping from start to finish. The voice performances can be great but occasionally, I think they falter ever so slightly; perhaps overdoing a certain dark emotion. The effects can also seem a little muddled amidst the in-your-face music, especially when things get really hectic. But your entertainment will always be supplemented by astonishingly fitting and invigorating audio. Plain and simple.

Within five minutes of picking up the controller, I said out loud— “Yep, this is Twisted Metal ." It looks like the TM I remember, it plays like the TM I remember, and it has that unparalleled atmosphere I remember. That’s what’s so damn great about this production; Eat Sleep Play and David Jaffe understand their followers; they knew all along what those fans wanted. They wanted a next-gen version of the games they fell in love with over the past few generations, and in most ways, the designers delivered.

As mentioned above, the level design is excellent. It starts off relatively simple, as the first landscape is basically just a sleepy little town (albeit one that’s almost completely destructible). But you’ll soon find all sorts of inspired areas and locations; some force you to stay inside a certain zone (a countdown starts if you’re caught outside it), while others boast environment-specific features, like swinging spiked iron balls and electrical fields. And the bosses…well, no spoilers here, but let’s just say that the story mode doesn’t feel repetitive at all .

The controls are quintessential Twisted Metal ; it feels much like it always did in past installments, although I think this is faster. The only downside – for some players – might involve the button layout on the controller. I’m a veteran of this series and I couldn’t quite find a setup I was completely happy with; the Racing one (where the acceleration is mapped to the triggers) seemed to fit best, even though it was seriously at odds with what I used in older titles. There are just a few more commands this time around, and I’m still growing accustomed to it.

Now, let me address a potential sore spot for the fans: in the past, a character has always been tied to his vehicle. It was a staple and a given. But this time around, as some of you may know, a character can drive any unlocked vehicle. The story centers on one particular character but during the course of the plot, that character can drive any available vehicle. Plus, you can select three vehicles for any given level. When you’re low on health, you can make your way to a garage, park your current ride, and select one of the other two fresh vehicles.

At first, I wasn’t sure I liked this. And to be perfectly honest, I’m still not. This feels a little like leaving some of that patented flair behind; in the eyes of many, Sweet Tooth should drive nothing but that ice cream truck, you know? And with this new system, you can’t die or the level is over. There’s obvious leniency due to the three available vehicles but it somehow feels a little more restrictive, in that the punishment is just much greater. Having a number of lives to deal with felt like “proper TM,” if there is such a thing. Just my two cents.

On the plus side, the Normal difficulty isn’t crazy tough and not anywhere near as hard as Twisted Metal: Black (which I remember very well). The pacing and balance is actually quite good throughout. There are three endings and while it’ll be a challenge to see them all, you’ll definitely want to give it a shot. And when you’re done, you’ll have to jump online to challenge human players for the first time in franchise history. There’s even more depth and diversity here, so that’s great news, right?

Besides the basic Deatmatch and Team Deathmatch options, there are various modes that will test your dexterity and strategic ability. Hunted and Team Hunted is particularly insane as one player is marked and everyone is out to nail him first. Last Man Standing is exactly what it sounds like, and Nuke is just a blast…yeah, pun intended. If you’re on defense, you just have to play defense (which is fun) but if you’re on offense, you have to grab the enemy boss, drag him to a missile launcher, and sacrifice him to gain access to a homing missile, which is aimed at the opposing team’s mammoth statue. Completely and totally nuts.

The only downside is that the online component isn’t completely up to snuff just yet. As you may have heard from other sources, problems like connection errors, freezes and other little mishaps are indeed common. The bad news is I have to take this into consideration when doing this analysis; the good news is there’s nothing here that can’t be fixed, which means that in due time, this should be a fantastic and hopefully reliable online experience. It’s absolutely worth trying.

Twisted Metal isn’t quite the masterpiece I had hoped for but beyond all the minor drawbacks and annoyances, one fact shines through the oddly appealing fog that only this series can create: it’s Twisted Metal . I know I’ve said this several times but in a generation where so many of our beloved franchises have shifted in theme, style, and worst of all, gameplay, this is one that has remained blessedly free of change. The one significant change that does exist (characters not tied to vehicles), I don’t particularly like. So sue me for being “stuck in my old ways.”

The button-mapping can take some getting used to, the story isn’t particularly thrilling (although it is gross and oddly engaging), and the online issues are real. But the level design is awesome, the music is great (love Rob Zombie!), the action is ceaseless and well implemented, and the potential for addictive online multiplayer is there. Heck, it’s darn close as is. And lastly, this really is …oh all right, I won’t say it again.

The Good: Style and atmosphere is top-notch. Bad-ass soundtrack. Good control. Inspired environmental interaction and fantastic level design. Pacing and challenge feels just about right. Online multiplayer is erratic but still frequently amazing.

The Bad: Graphics aren’t quite as refined as one might’ve hoped. Button-mapping can take some getting used to. Online issues.

The Ugly: “Oh man…so much is so ugly…which makes it so right.”

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Temjin001
Temjin001
9 years ago

Looks like a winner. Perhaps not the goty contender I was thinking it would've-could've been, but it looks to offer the goods where it counts most.

Quincho
Quincho
9 years ago

good review Ben 🙂 i still dont know if I'm getting this one… I need one more good reason hehe

Temjin001
Temjin001
9 years ago

You get it new, and probably limited time only, you get a free PSN download of TM: Black. Good 'nuff?

(TM Black sill comes free with it, right?)

maxpontiac
maxpontiac
9 years ago

After playing the demo the only thing that was disappointing to me was the graphics. Everything else seemed top notch.

Temjin001
Temjin001
9 years ago

Yeah, pretty much the same here. What was with the enviro textures on the hills and stuff that look tiled and old school? Anyway, small potatoes. The animation looked great, though.

PoopsMcGee
PoopsMcGee
9 years ago

Great review! It will be mine before this weekend is done.

Where are people getting the demo? It's not in the PS store, is it?

Nas Is Like
Nas Is Like
9 years ago

Nice review, Ben. Looks like I will probably be picking this one up sometime.

On a random note, Darkside looks cool in this game. I just wish he was playable in Twisted Metal 3, he was such a boss (no pun intended) in that game. As a kid, I would've killed to play as him in TM3 (ok well not really kill, but you get what I'm saying).


Last edited by Nas Is Like on 2/15/2012 11:31:01 PM

cowboyd PSN XBL
cowboyd PSN XBL
9 years ago

Sometimes you have to give a game a pass if the gameplay is there i love this game.

WorldEndsWithMe
WorldEndsWithMe
9 years ago

Good review as always, I wonder how it's selling.

cLoudou
cLoudou
9 years ago

the only issue for me is the 'reverse' buttons. Its either pulling the right stick back or double tapping circle. They probably should of just tied the brake and reverse to circle, IMO.

LimitedVertigo
LimitedVertigo
9 years ago

This game IMO has lived up to the hype I've created for it. Glad to see a genre I really enjoyed in the 90s can still exist on the PS3. I really don't get why people bash the PS3, there is sooo much variety with the exclusives.

Temjin001
Temjin001
9 years ago

Okay, so where have you been hanging out where people bash the ps3?

LimitedVertigo
LimitedVertigo
9 years ago

The general public, the media, friends, even misinformed parents. You honestly haven't noticed the way the 360 is showcased in the States over the PS3?

Underdog15
Underdog15
9 years ago

The EB closest to me is run by some crazy manager chick who thinks she's god's gift to gaming. She -ALWAYS- asks me if I'd prefer the 360 version of a multiplat. I -ALWAYS- reply, "No, thank you. That's a terrible idea."

Milonakis
Milonakis
9 years ago

I love the soundtrack so much, this game is as good as i expected and more. I like the graphics the way they are, you don't need to see the texture of the $hit your running over and blowing up. I play classic control scheme simply because it's what im used to. Also the sweet tooth story line was particularly disturbing in a good way

playaplus
playaplus
9 years ago

yea i mean I guess the downside to the game is the graphics…idk how much that has to do w stuff going on….lol all the cars shooting and causing damage and exploding and crashing though walls…all at the same tim. All that shit has to take up memory i would assume…not to mention turbo and missiles flying. Gameplay is funfuckintastic though

___________
___________
9 years ago

been looking forward to this so badly till $ony gave EU the finger YET AGAIN and pushed it back to ME3s date.
ME3 or TM, thats gotta be the easiest decision man has ever had to make!

CrusaderForever
CrusaderForever
9 years ago

So, you are getting Mass Effect 3?

Jawknee
Jawknee
9 years ago

You're always the victim aren't you Cantstandya? Is how you justify your bad attitude?

SmokeyPSD
SmokeyPSD
9 years ago

Can you have 4 player splitscreen?

Evil Incarnate
Evil Incarnate
9 years ago

I started playing my copy last night and it was nostalgic! Graphics could have been better but everything else feels right. The controls are old school and take a little getting used too. It really does feel like a blast from the past and I dig that!

newchef
newchef
9 years ago

ive had it since day one and i still cant get used to any of the control settings, the basic controller set up is ok but i wish it had an option to set it up however you want

bentl78
bentl78
9 years ago

From most reviews i read, the single player campaign is not spectacular.. i dont play online much.. so i am hesitant to get this.

TheHighlander
TheHighlander
9 years ago

So, let me get this straight, it's a great game, not perfect but great, and you even gave it a commensurate score! What's wrong with you man? Don't you know you're supposed to ding it for not meeting the uber-high expectations? Doesn't it fail to meet the standard that pundits claimed it must meet? Oh, wait, you did that thing again didn't you? That thing where you actually review the game with respect to itself, judging it on it's own merits. My god man, who are you to be so objective and fair in your reviews? You know that's no longer the way!

OK, enough. Nice review. Sadly though, I watched enough of this in the PSX show last night to know that whether or not I would enjoy it, my wife will not be keen, so this one will remain on the shelf for me.

Oh, by the way Ben, I notied that you used lots of lovely alliteration in the review…."a singular style that is synonymous with this stellar series." Nice, don't normally see anyone playing with words these days.

Ben Dutka PSXE
Ben Dutka PSXE
9 years ago

LOL Thanks.

You know, I was actually going to mention in the review that if you're married or have kids, you may have to play it inside a locked, sound-proof room. 😉

TheHighlander
TheHighlander
9 years ago

LOL, I got that feeling from the look on my wife's face.

Twistedfloyd
Twistedfloyd
9 years ago

Pretty much agree with you, Ben. Minus the control scheme, which classic for me is preferred.

Online is a nightmare right now. When I can play, it's amazing, but getting into a game is still a pain right now, which isn't good.

The campaign is varied and really works well. I didn't think races would work, but it works fantastically as well as the other modes.

Story is weak. Haven't beaten it yet, but the presentation doesn't totally work. Loved that J.S. Gilbert is back as Tooth, he does a good job overall. And the actual story is good, but it could take itself more seriously like Black did.

That thing where ST was in the hospital was just stupid with the camera following up the building…. Just show me Tooth damn it, not some cheap special effects!

Overall though, I'm quite pleased. Once online is ironed out, this'll be pretty close to the game I've dreamed of since Black.

Jawknee
Jawknee
9 years ago

I dig it. I haven't player a Twisted Metal since TM2 on PS1. Loved that game. This seems to be an updated version which is just fine with me. I got my copy on day one but haven't had much time to play. Maybe tonight.

Palpatations911
Palpatations911
9 years ago

I bet it is a blast online!

WolfCrimson
WolfCrimson
9 years ago

Hey, Ben, which vehicle do you like the most?

Ghidora
Ghidora
9 years ago

Soundtrack is GOTY..

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