Twisted Metal Review
By Matt “Chtulu80” White
Developed by Eat Sleep Play
Published by Sony
“Twisted Metal” now for those who have played games for a while should know this series. It its a series that has had its ups and downs throughout its history. There has been one constant in this series for me. The “good” ones has always had creator David Jaffe behind them. The “bad” ones have not. This has pretty much been a hard and fast rule for me on this series of games. This review will be just one mans opinion of the game.
“Twisted Metal” is a reboot of the a game that was one of the first to make the Playstation famous. I can remember unboxing my original Sony Playstation and finding the demo disk of games inside. Of course all these games where launch titles or titles in the launch window. The one game that stuck out on that disk for me was “Twisted Metal” I have always been a fan of car destruction going back to a kid watching monster trucks crush cars. This was quite a match for my tastes at the time. What was not to like there were cars blowing other cars up. There was also different characters, each with their own stories and cutscenes.
David Jaffe has carried this model in his games in the series to a “T”. When I first heard of the game I was excited to say the least. The last game in the series “Twisted Metal: Black” was one of the best games I had played on the Playstation 2 system and I was eager to create new memories in HD with the release of this new title. I wanted to play not only as Sweet Tooth, but also many others not only in single player but online as well. I even remember at E3 when Sony was doing a press conference and at the end, brought out Sweet Tooth with his signature ice cream truck.
I thought I would be in a state of gamer bliss upon release. This was not the case. I believe what Jaffe wanted to do with this game was not the best ideas in the world. Now don’t get me wrong the core of what has made this series good in the past are present in this game. Those being the car destruction, the characters with special cutscenes and story lines. But gone are the choices of selecting a character to run through the single player with. Gone is the basic deathmatch structure. A few of the things that made this series great to me.
With the single player, you start out as being strapped with Sweet Tooth. While he is the iconic image of “Twisted Metal”, he was not one of my favorite characters. For me he while being powerful he was too slow and the handling stunk. What else could you expect from an ice cream truck. The first thing that struck me as odd is the game had you pick 3 different vehicles. So in all reality you did not have to use the ice cream truck as Sweet Tooth. This was almost sacreligous to me. I was like fine, whatever Ill pick three different vehicles and off we go. Come to find out that the races that you have to choose multiple vehicles for, there is a garage feature. This has not been in a “Twisted Metal” game to my knowledge. Like with the different vehicles I just shrugged if off as ok, ill try this. Not really knowing where this belonged in my beloved series.
Then after the first few levels it started introducing new game types into the mix. For me this is where it really started going downhill. For example, for those who have played a “Twisted Metal” game in the past where does racing ever fall into the mix? I mean its car destruction, not a road race. Also in this mode you have to finish first or else its insta-fail.
Another game type that was put in was “Cage Match” where there was a small set area of the map where there was a “laser cage” that you had to stay in while combating or else you would take damage. Don’t get me wrong this could have been a decent idea but the cages were too small to move around in with some vehicles. There were also time limits on areas the cage was in. After a set amount of time the cage would move and you would have a set amount of time to get back in the cage before again, taking damage. With some cars and on some levels this was near impossible. For example a stage with an ice skating rink and if the cage was on the rink you would have almost no control of your vehicle and when the cage moved, trying to get off the ice really proved to be a problem.
Yet another game type was “Juggernaut”. While again in theory this could be good. A semi truck spitting out enemies every, I believe 60 or 90 seconds. It just proved rather difficult. The main reason was not only did you have to take out the semi, but also all enemies that it had spit out over the time that it was on the map. This proved rather difficult in the final levels of the game where you have 1 car for you and you have to defeat not 1, but two juggernauts spitting out cars on one of the smallest maps in the game. No garage to switch cars, only 1 or two health power ups on the map, and you would hope the AI wouldn’t pick those up. In short you were screwed in a very short amount of time, ON EASY!
The controls also need a lot of work. While not as bad as some of the previous installments of the series, they were not particularly good either. One thing that the did nail was the 180 degree handbrake turnaround. I used this move all time time. Usually just trying to get an enemy off my bumper or trying to line up an attack. The controls just seem to want to do too many things. For the most part, controls just really didn’t work for me.
The music on the other hand was great. Jaffe made great use of licensed music along with some original pieces for the game. I can remember booting up the game for the first time and finally getting into single player and the first cut scene was playing Patsy Cline “Crazy” in the background. This actually made sense because this whole game is crazy. All the characters are crazy in the head. When I got to the actual playing what came up other than the Sammy Hagar classic “ I Can’t Drive 55” among other classic tracks and if you can manage to get to the end of the game, the song on the end credits is by none other than internet sensation, Hip Hop Gamer.
The online for this title has been plauged by server issues since inception. While at the time of this review they may be better, this player has not tried it in some time. The servers were quite laggy when I did play the online. It basically puts you on one of three teams. I guess I was just looking for the one on one combat of the original “Twisted Metal” just in an online fashion. This was not the case and I was not very happy with it.
All in all while this game does bring back the feeling of the original games in a somewhat HD fashion, it just not look as good as what it could be. The graphics did look muddy at times and I think that more time, and care could have been taken in this area. I did notice some slowdown in areas of the game when a lot was happening. While not really surprising because there was quite a bit going on, there have been other recent games where this has not been the case.
My final opinion of this title is while it could have been a great game and a comeback for the series it really was not. For this reviewer it just felt like it fell short of what I expected from it. I just wanted it to perform like the games of old while it had a new coat of paint. The somewhat shotty controls combined with the way the single player went and the difficulty of the game/new game modes made the game feel thrown together in my eyes. This was not what I thought that this game was supposed to be or could have been. It feels like it should be a budget title and not a $60 release. I think that due to the somewhat thrown together nature of this title that it should have been relegated to a PSN release instead of what it was. Not to say that it wasn’t a good game, it just was not a good game to me. I think a lot of factors made the game feel this way. You can say that since after the game was complete that Jaffe stated that he was longer going to be with the company after release that it could have been seen as a sign that he was trying to rush the title out. I just don’t believe that this game was all that it could have been. I believe that this game would be a purchase, but not at $60, maybe more like $20-$25 region. If you pay more then buyer beware. My opinion would be rent before you buy.
Final Score 3/5