Twisted Metal review

"It was Twisted Metal, just as I remembered it."

8

It didn't take long for Twisted Metal to tug on my nostalgic heartstrings. Developer Eat Sleep Play's reboot manages to invoke memories of the original PlayStation classic--a game that carried me through a chunk of my adolescence. Despite hitting some speed bumps down memory lane, Twisted Metal on the PS3 feels like a worthwhile update to a classic series.

Like many, I wondered if the multiplayer magic was still there. Would playing online click the way it did when I played split-screen with friends all those years ago? I immediately ventured online to find out. I was ecstatic to find that the basic essence of Twisted Metal multiplayer remained intact. Power-ups littered the field and players blazed through the course trying to make roadkill out of one another with homing missiles, shotguns, and remote bombs. It was Twisted Metal, just as I remembered it.

But this Twisted Metal includes a few updates that help it feel more modern. Namely, the environment is now destructible. I watched in awe as some errant missiles missed their target and instead wound up tearing down a nearby structure. Whether I was playing a classic deathmatch or a new game mode like Nuke, the extra carnage helped cement Twisted Metal's status as a fiendish demolition derby.

Online multiplayer was like a roller coaster ride, in the sense that it was a load of fun that could end at any time. I ran into a multitude of connectivity issues throughout my time with the game and often found myself getting tossed back into the lobby in the middle of a firefight. Finding a stable session turned out to be more challenging than I had hoped. This is a major issue that I sincerely hope Eat Sleep Play will stay on top of, because simply trying to get into a game soon became a test of patience.

As much fun as the online component of Twisted Metal was, I can't say that I had the same kind of fun with the game's single-player mode. The presentation of the story mode in itself was a head-scratcher. Rather than allow me to choose between characters and then play out the storyline from their point of view, Eat Sleep Play has opted for a more linear approach. I had my pick of any available vehicle, but Calypso's tournament now encompasses a single story. While I liked the live-action grindhouse cinema-style cutscenes that accompanied it, the narrow plot doesn't leave much incentive to replay the story mode.

Worse than its structure is the single-player's punishing difficulty level. Whereas multiplayer sees a dozen or so vehicles in an every-man-for-himself scenario, the single-player mode painted a giant bull's-eye on my car. The AI opponents all have a nasty tendency to attack in groups, one after another, with near-pinpoint accuracy. Often times, they knocked me across the map with insane pinball-like physics. It's frustrating, to say the least, and the crushing difficulty is certain to rub newer players and some Twisted Metal vets the wrong way. Individual levels contain a good variety of objectives, but they all boil down to one human versus everybody else. At the end of the day, it isn't a lot of fun.

To its credit, Twisted Metal rewards surviving these waves of run-of-the-mill opponents with interesting boss battles. One example had me facing off against a demented duo of racers, each driving a giant monster truck. Not only did I have to destroy them, but I had to do so in multiple phases. For as interesting as these fights were, however, the problem of outrageous difficulty persisted. The bosses were utterly merciless, and may only turn-off those already weary of the game.

So after a frustrating single-player experience, it's safe to say that I'll take the nearest off-ramp back to online multiplayer. After all these years, Twisted Metal remains at its best when there are fellow humans to compete with. This game feels like a vintage Camaro--a classic to be shared with others, right before they smoke the tires and lose control doing burnouts in the parking lot. As long as the networking and connectivity issues are sorted out, Twisted Metal is worth taking out for a multiplayer joyride, just stay off the single-player road.


[This Twisted Metal review is based on the retail PlayStation 3 version of the game, provided by publisher Sony.]

Senior Editor

Ozzie has been playing video games since picking up his first NES controller at age 5. He has been into games ever since, only briefly stepping away during his college years. But he was pulled back in after spending years in QA circles for both THQ and Activision, mostly spending time helping to push forward the Guitar Hero series at its peak. Ozzie has become a big fan of platformers, puzzle games, shooters, and RPGs, just to name a few genres, but he’s also a huge sucker for anything with a good, compelling narrative behind it. Because what are video games if you can't enjoy a good story with a fresh Cherry Coke?

From The Chatty
  • reply
    February 22, 2012 9:00 AM

    Ozzie Mejia posted a new article, Twisted Metal review.

    "It was Twisted Metal, just as I remembered it."

    • reply
      February 22, 2012 11:58 AM

      His review is pretty spot on regarding single player. The difficulty is harder that I remember and yes it feels like that you have a arrow mark on your back. The level where you take down a monster truck took the luck of finally being able to find him alone without a ton of others attacking me at the same time. The levels seems about half the size of the larger maps in 1 or 2.

      No reverse and the super spin button really do not fit well.

      Making Sweet Tooth the only playable character was just stupid, I enjoyed being able to play different characters and cars.

      I am completely stuck on the "race" level it seems so poorly tweaked difficulty wise that unless I kill everyone I wont win. Since I cant even get near the top 3 racers I am doing something wrong or the level is broken.

      Tons of poor decisions I hope multiplayer makes it worth because so far I have a had a few moments of awesome with a big pile of suck taking up most of my time.

      • reply
        February 22, 2012 12:02 PM

        I don't know why I had so little trouble with the single player. I'm not even particularly good, but I breezed through it. Got a little hung up on the bosses maybe but they are bosses! I enjoy the multi a lot, the maps are really fun, lots of hidden routes and stuff to figure out. I wish they would sort out their network problems and the game needs more players as it's hard to find matches outside of deathmatch and team deathmatch (WHICH ARE THE WORST ONES!)

        • reply
          February 22, 2012 1:54 PM

          How did you beat the silly race?

          • reply
            February 22, 2012 2:00 PM

            I picked the fastest car and then killed the other fast cars. The third one took some time to memorize the course.

          • reply
            February 22, 2012 2:03 PM

            Beat it on my first try with Kamikaze, just zoomed past everyone else.

      • reply
        February 22, 2012 2:03 PM

        haha you are not remember the size of the maps correctly at all. They were so tiny.

        • reply
          February 23, 2012 11:35 AM

          Damn memory failing me, I thought the first one had like mega huge areas of freeways,offramps,suburbs.

    • reply
      February 22, 2012 6:04 PM

      No split screen?

      How's the Twisted Metal: Black Port? (Anything worth getting it for, if we have the original?)

    • reply
      February 22, 2012 6:06 PM

      Is there no Split Screen?

      How is the Twisted Metal:Black Port? (Anything in it worth getting if we already have the Original?)

      • reply
        February 22, 2012 7:50 PM

        There is online and offline split screen and the campaign can be played in co-op. Didn't try black.

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