by Justin Snyder
previewed on PS3
David Jaffe and Eat Sleep Play are finally bringing the classic car combat franchise to current gen consoles. The over-the-top vehicular combat, varied and ridiculous weapons and crazy characters of Twisted Metal were beloved by many throughout the life of the Playstation and Playstation 2. But little more than rumor was heard of any new installment coming to Playstation 3, that is, until E3 2010, where Sony revealed the new game at its press conference.
Now, I’ve played the previous installments here and there, but I have never actually owned a Twisted Metal game and I have never felt compelled to buy one. But new info has rekindled my interest.
The game will feature a full single-player campaign as well as online multiplayer for up to 16 players and four player split-screen support. The single player represents a departure from the previous games, which has some hardcore fans riled up. The earlier titles had an arcade-style single player mode where you would play through the same set of levels as each character while learning that character’s backstory. The new release has factions (also present in multiplayer), each with its own campaign. Three have been revealed so far, headed by the iconic Sweet Tooth, Dollface, and Mr. Grimm.
The switch to factions means that players can now choose any vehicle and any character, as opposed to each character having his or her own trademark vehicle. This is why screenshots and other promotional material for the game have shown Sweet Tooth riding a motorcycle, when most would expect him to be in his creeptastic ice cream truck. The factions allow for crew attacks, where a passenger can ride with you. The passenger can assist by firing missiles out the window, lobbing grenades or doing other supplementary attacks.
One of the biggest new features in this installment is aerial combat. Twisted Metal finally features vehicles like the helicopter that allow for a whole new gameplay experience. They add strategy to the franchise because not only can you use them, you have to deal with them from the ground as well. Hopefully these new features will allow this entry in the franchise to appeal to old fans who are looking for more of the same, while still feeling fresh and new enough to draw in those who may not have played the games before.
An interesting addition is something called the Health Semi. This is a truck that drives around the level in multiplayer and, if you have the skill to drive into the back of it, fully restores your health. While there are health pickups scattered around the level that restore about a third of your health, having the opportunity to restore it completely but tying it to skill is a pretty cool idea.
Of course, not everything about the game is completely new. The controls, for one, are the same as previous games, which is now very counter-intuitive for players. Using the square button to drive and the x button to break is, well, the exact opposite of what everyone has gotten used to. Now, that’s not to say there won’t be an option in the final game that allows for a more commonly used control scheme. Only time (or David Jaffe) can tell. Unfortunately, the graphics haven’t been as updated as the gameplay. Graphically, the game pales in comparison to many other recent and forthcoming PS3 titles. Still, Twisted Metal is more about frantic gameplay than pretty cars, so it shouldn’t affect the game as much as it would the next Uncharted.
Twisted Metal is shaping up to come back in a big way. It has managed to catch my interest (as someone who never really been into the games before), and can hopefully do so for other players like me. Some changes and new features might ward off the hardcore fans of the earlier games, but when you consider the original creators are at the helm, you know they want nothing more than to make a game that their current fans will still love. I know one thing for sure: my next Valentine’s Day is going to involve more violence than I ever would have expected out of the holiday.