Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Twisted Metal

Can you believe that you’d have to go all the way back to 1995 for the launch of the original Twisted Metal on the PlayStation? Indeed it’s been 17 years and a host of sequels and spin-offs since SingleTrac released their iconic destruction-derby style racing fiasco and now under the name of Eat Sleep Play, the series has been brought back to life better than ever. This PlayStation 3 exclusive brings action in abundance and while not the best game ever, it certainly holds its own by being a fun divergence from your generic types of games flooding the current market. If you’re looking for nostalgic value or something a little bit different to play, this could very well be the experience for you.

Twisted Metal’s environments reminds me of the Escape from New York and L.A. movies staring Kurt Russell – cities are ravaged by groups of lunatics in an attempt to win a tournament held by the strange and obviously evil man named Calypso. Vehicles are of course are at the centre of this manic experience but a fine balance has to be implemented between durability, maneuverability and firepower. There is a variety of vehicles to choose from, each leaning toward a particular strength and showing off a rather obvious weakness, for example picking a huge truck will make you bulky, but there’s no doubt you’ll be quite slow and a pretty easy target for the more nimble cars, bikes and even helicopters. Twisted Metal is all about finding a play style that suits you and balancing your abilities to ensure you are the last road warrior standing.

Overall it doesn’t really matter what type of vehicle you choose because the game does an excellent job balancing them out. Fantastic control mechanics make even the biggest of vehicles a joy to control with a whole bunch of ways to move quickly and efficiently along the varied terrains to avoid oncoming fire. This is made even more enjoyable by Twisted Metal’s terrific stage design with a whole host of tracks taking inspiration from real cities with shall we say, some extra additions to spice the carnage up a notch. Levels are decent in size and offer plenty of opportunity to explore as well as find interesting and advantageous ways to tackle your enemies.

The cars and environments aren’t the only things beaming with personality in Twisted Metal. The character roster in particular shines with insanity as you can choose from an insane clown driving an ice-cream truck, a motorcyclist resembling the Grim Reaper and lots of other classic characters including Minion, Hammerhead and Darkside. Personality is definitely the aim of the game here as each gruesome psycho is a joy to play with as you find out all their nifty little quirks and holes in their personalities.

Once you get on the battlefield Twisted Metal does very little to change the classic formula concentrating primarily on destruction. While there are a few different game modes, the ultimate objective is to destroy your opponents and be the last car driving. Twisted Metal ensures that this isn’t simply a chaotic mess and certainly gives you the opportunity to choose whether to play conservatively or go in guns blazing. Each character has their own unique power alongside generic weapons that are thrown across the battlefield. Being able to defend yourself while picking off enemies is a tactical game and while at first glance you may have a hard time keeping up with the carnage around you, once you get to grips with Twisted Metal’s ‘twisted’ philosophy, you will see that underneath the rubble and destruction, considerable skill and tactical gameplay can be extracted for a more in-depth experience.

The main mode present in Twisted Metal is campaign. In previous installments the evil Calypso would grant the winner of his tournament any wish they desired, normally with an inhumane and cruel twist strung alongside. This time however, the campaign specifically targets 3 characters Mr. Grimm, Sweet Tooth and Dollface. You will find variations of different game modes present throughout your time with the campaign, including racing, which makes for a fun departure from the usual destruction style deathmatch experience. Rather oddly however, even though Twisted Metal’s campaign specifically concentrates on 3 characters, you are given the opportunity to use a variety of vehicles instead of sticking to their traditional wheels. While this provides variety and versatility, it moves away from Twisted Metal’s traditions and although it’s only a minor issue, it still might bug a few gamers out there.

Outside of the campaign Twisted Metal provides significant entertainment for you and your friends. While no cooperative online campaign is present, players can go at it split-screen, which is a very welcome addition. Aside from that Twisted metal also offers 4 player split-screen game types but really the most enjoyable mode is going online and battling it out with 16 other human players. All the classic game modes are present along with some very interesting additions including an offense / defense style game called Nuke where players must capture and sacrifice a particular enemy player to launch a rocket at your opponents base. To be honest all of Twisted Metal’s multiplayer modes are a whole heap of fun because it’s such an unpredictable yet balanced game, which causes enjoyable havoc amidst human players.

I think it’s very obvious why Twisted Metal is such a well-rounded and successful title – not only is it a technically solid and enjoyable experience, but it’s also a breath of fresh air providing gamers with a genre that has not seen the light of day in a number of years. Games like this should be welcomed with open arms because the development team clearly knew it was producing a game that had no guarantee of popularity but due to the sheer technical prowess put behind it, has certainly come out a winner in my eyes. Twisted Metal is an all out vehicular war and if that sounds like something that will get your engine going then give this a go because it does everything other than disappoint.

8.0 | Gameplay |
Twisted Metal for many modern gamers will be something they’ve not really experienced before. The age of the first-person shooter has overshadowed many genres so the idea of vehicular combat may come as a shock to some players. Saying that, it’s absolutely worth a go because great control mechanics, variety in cars, environments, weapons and game types make this a real treat and as I’ve said before, a breath of fresh air to the modern gamer.

8.0 | Presentation |
All PlayStation 3 exclusives are beautiful and this is no exception. Twisted Metal is a devilishly delightful game to look at it right from the offset – carnage and mayhem rarely looks this good. I’m bias as I’m sure many gamers are who have played games like Uncharted 3 where the graphics are of an absolutely different caliber, but this still competes as a very pretty and smooth game. What is especially impressive is the frame-rate that holds for the most part even when the action is at a boiling point.

8.0 | Replay Value |
Not only is the combat balanced and a whole load of fun online, but the maps are so versatile and dynamic that it’s difficult not to want to jump straight back in and really learn all the different paths and shortcuts. A host of different game modes both online and offline split-screen means you can always play with friends at any given time, which is a fantastic bonus. There’s definitely something for everyone here.

8.0 | Final Thoughts |
Twisted Metal brings a smile to my face for numerous reasons. Not only is it a technically impressive, efficient and challenging game, but also it’s a brave release. I keep emphasizing this but in this modern age the green light is not always given to ambitious, niche or non-popular genre titles. There was absolutely no way in guaranteeing that a vehicular-shooter would be a successful game in this current market but quality development and faith in the franchise pulled through. Twisted Metal is an iconic series, one that deserved to be reinvigorated but I think no one thought it would come to life in such an impressive fashion. If you want mayhem, destruction and heaps of fun with your friends, then this is absolutely the game for you.

Igor Kharin.

Digg Technorati Delicious StumbleUpon Reddit BlinkList Furl Mixx Facebook Google Bookmark Yahoo
ma.gnolia squidoo newsvine live netscape tailrank mister-wong blogmarks slashdot spurl