FutureFive NZ - Game review: Twisted Metal

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Game review: Twisted Metal

Twisted Metal was one of the first games to release alongside the PS1 console back in 1995, and became an instant hit thanks to its over-the-top violence. Vehicular combat games are a bit of a rarity these days but Twisted Metal aims to bring the genre back with this reboot for PS3. 

This is the first time the series has been released for the five-year-old console and the visual upgrades are instantly noticeable. The last two games of the series were released on the PS2 and PSP so it’s nice that the series finally makes its HD debut. Although the graphics in Twisted Metal aren’t the best I’ve seen, fans of the franchise will instantly fall in love with the visual upgrade. The levels are not only better looking but also noticeably larger compared to previous games in the series. 

Despite the obvious graphical changes, long-term fans of the Twisted Metal series will feel right at home as it’s all about violent vehicular mayhem at the end of the day. With the abundant number of FPS style games being released these days, it’s a nice change of pace playing a game like Twisted Metal where you can use all sorts of vehicles to destroy and kill your opponents. The only recent games I can recall that have involved vehicular style combat have been the FlatOut series. 

Even if you’ve never played a Twisted Metal game before, you don’t have to worry as this game is easy to master and you’ll be demolishing other cars in no time. The training mode is really helpful and teaches you all the basics of causing as much mayhem as possible. You can also opt to play the game using the old-school style controls or the more modern set-up, with the R2 and L2 buttons accelerating and braking, respectively. 

One piece of advice I will give to newcomers to the franchise is to pick a vehicle that suits your specific playing style. There’s no ‘easy’ mode in this game and the ‘normal’ difficulty setting is no pushover in itself. I have not played a Twisted Metal game since the PS1 days and I got killed in the first few seconds when I started playing this reboot. This may have been because I chose to use the motorcycle, although there’s no armour on the bike and you can expect to be exposed very easily if you’re not fast enough to dodge the enemies’ attacks. 

I eventually went the opposite way and opted to use a huge truck, which had lots more armour making it easier for me to absorb firepower from my enemies. Although it severely lacked the speed of the motorcycle, it was a better vehicle for me. This is the great thing about Twisted Metal – as there are a ton of different vehicles the game caters for all sorts of preferences. You can even use a helicopter, which is fitted with a magnet on the bottom allowing you to pick up other vehicles and throw them away. The special attacks for each vehicle vary so it’s best to experiment with every vehicle to see which one is your favorite. The ice cream truck may be the most popular choice as it gets transform into a robot, fly around and hurl bombs. Transformers fans, this is your lucky day.

Presentation-wise, Twisted Metal is definitely not a game suitable for the entire family. The mostly heavy metal and hip-hop soundtrack is entirely appropriate for this type of game, and you can expect to hear Rob Zombie, Iggy Pop, NWA and even  Wolfmother just to name a few. If this soundtrack is not your cup of tea, you can use your own playlists and music that you have saved on the PS3. This feature was previously used in Gran Turismo 5 and it would be great if other game developers used it on more PS3 games, since Xbox 360 gamers have the option to play their own songs whenever they want to (unfortunately Twisted Metal is only available on PS3).

The standard game modes are Last Man Standing, where the last player alive wins, Death Match, which is based on scoring the most points in a limited time, and Hunted, where one player is tagged as the prey and the others must target that player. All three can be played individually or in teams, and there’s also another team mode, Nuke, which is a variation on Capture the Flag.

Of course there’s a story mode too, which takes you through three characters – Sweet Tooth, Mr Grimm, and Doll Face – with each character’s story ends with an epic boss battle.

The great thing about Twisted Metal is that you can also play through the game’s main storylines in multiplayer co-op as well.  The progress is, however, separate, so if you are 50% into the story playing by yourself, the co-op story mode will start from the beginning again. One cool aspect of the story mode is that the cutscenes feature live actors in lieu of the game’s own graphics engine. 

Twisted Metal is a highly enjoyable game that shows that the vehicular combat genre has been sorely neglected over the last few years. Long-term fans of the franchise are sure to enjoy this reboot of the series and newcomers will get to fall in love with the violent mayhem the game brings to the table. If you’re sick to death of all the military shooters out there, Twisted Metal is a great alternative for your fix of blowing things to pieces. 

Graphics: 8.0
Sound: 9.0
Gameplay: 8.5
Lasting Appeal: 8.0
Overall: 8.5  

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