I want to admit something right off the bat: this is the first Twisted Metal that I’ve played through. I’m not a huge “car game” fan, but I promised to try expanding my horizons working here and Twisted Metal seemed like a good starting point, although i t was going to be pretty hard for me to ignore it after a trailer showed Sweet Tooth’s truck transforming into a mech.
I also admit I had a few false assumptions about Twisted Metal, like the belief that this was a car racing game with a little emphasis on violence. I learned quickly that it’s actually the other way around. Seriously, this is hands-down the most destructive game I’ve ever played. Almost everything can be destroyed, driven through, or blown up. With six or more overpowered cars shooting each other up at all times, you’ve got a pretty spectacular setup. It’s like a Michael Bay film turned into a video game, which is much better than it sounds.
The story of Twisted Metal revolves around a man by the name of Calypso, a supernatural being who also runs Calypso Industries. He runs a tournament called Twisted Metal, which isn’t so much a tournament as it is groups of people killing each other with their cars. The winner of Twisted Metal gets one wish from Calypso. The fact that all of the participants in Twisted Metal are absolutely crazy means that it goes off the deep end, and quick.
Those expecting a great story will be disappointed. First of all, this entry cuts out a lot of characters, leaving only Sweet Tooth, Mr. Grimm, and Dollface. The story progresses through live-action grindhouse cinematics. It’s pretty cool and fits Twisted Metal‘s gritty theme, but the story is lacking and isn’t very memorable. However, they do their job in setting the tone for the characters, which certainly do not come from happy backgrounds.
This is the first time in the history of the series that the drivers can drive any car they want, a change that doesn’t really make sense. This makes the drivers completely irrelevant, as they don’t give any bonuses to your vehicle or change what weapons appear on the road. I would say they become a mere visual, but since you can barely see them as you’re driving that’s wrong too. They may as well have gotten rid of the drivers and allowed you to create your own driver, which would have been great.
Each match begins with in one of several different locations. They can vary from Sunspring, CA to Blackrock Stadium; you’ll have a lot of fun driving through (literally through) each area. Your opponents are scattered throughout, and you drive around shooting and ramming each other until all but one are dead. You can switch between 3 different vehicles in every fight in the specially marked garage, and there are even health trucks to drive to that recharge your health.
The vehicles each have their own stats, such as speed, armor, and special weapons proficiency. There are many vehicles to choose from and each with their own special weapons or abilities. For instance, Sweet Tooth’s car can transform into a flying mech, the police car can use a massive gun turret, and Axel can turn into a spiked ball of destruction, amongst many other things. Some vehicles have special weapons that do require some practice but the reward for doing so is worth it.
The control scheme is different from any other driving game out there. It takes a little time to learn, but it really works. Making tight turns, using turbo, and making jumps comes pretty easy before too long. Strangely, it’s the most out-there scheme I’ve ever used, but for that reason it really sticks out to me. It makes no apologies to the casual player, but is extremely rewarding to those that take the time to learn it.
The story mode is very standard — 8hours at most — but the real draw is the multiplayer. Multiplayer features Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch, Survival, Race, and Nuke. Playing the game nets you XP that you can use towards unlocking new cars, new firearms, and new skin packs. Online play is great fun, although it can take a while for matches to load up, and I was kicked out of a group game a few times. However, theses instances were infrequent and didn’t really hurt the good time that I was having.
Twisted Metal isn’t perfect. The story is kind of just there, the characters don’t seem to matter, and some will be turned off by the complex controls. At its core, though, it’s pure, mindless fun. I haven’t had this kind of fun in a long time, and it’s even better with others. If this was the final Twisted Metal (play thru the story mode and you’ll understand why I say that) they made a really epic sendoff for it.
FINAL GRADE: A-