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Twisted Metal review

AT A GLANCE
  • Huge amount of variety to play around with
  • Story campaign hides a ton of hidden extras
  • Nuke is a cool addition to multiplayer
  • Multiplayer feels sparse next to campaign
  • Races tend to hinge on just picking the fastest car
  • The difficulty, if you prefer to breeze through games

Murder the world

Given how crammed full of different match types the single-player campaign is, we were expecting to see something similar from multiplayer. So it was disappointing to find that multiplayer matches are constrained to just seven basic match types: deathmatch; Last Man Standing (like deathmatch, but with limited lives); Hunted (one player is the target, and his/her killer then becomes the next target); team variations of those three; and Nuke, which we’ll get to in a minute.

Don’t get us wrong: the basic match types are a lot of fun. The action, as always, is superfast and almost hilarious violent, with death coming swiftly and repeatedly (thankfully, a new vehicle and a fresh respawn are usually just a few seconds away). And while the match types are “simple,” the maps – eight in all, if you don’t count the smaller, sectioned-off versions of the larger ones – are just as huge, fun to explore and filled with hidden secrets and strategic opportunities as they are in single-player.

Even so, given how much potential the single-player campaign hinted at, we were hoping to be able to set up our own death races or electric-cage matches. No such luck. Again, that’s a surprise in a series that’s traditionally been very multiplayer-focused.

On the other hand, single-player doesn’t have Nuke. An exclusively team-based game mode, Nuke makes players take turns playing offense and defense. Offensive players have to find and capture the opposing team’s “leaders” (who aren’t player-controlled and hang out in stationary turrets), then drag them over to the nearest missile truck. Once they’re in range, they’ll need to stick close to the truck until a meter fills up, at which point they can “sacrifice” the leader to the truck.

Pull that off, and the real fun begins. The truck will fire off a missile, which you’ll be placed in full control of, and which you’ll need to guide into the opposing team’s statue, a massive neon effigy of their leader (i.e. Sweet Tooth, Dollface, etc.). This is actually tougher than it sounds; the missile moves fairly slowly and can’t climb too high, so the opposing team actually has a pretty good chance of shooting it down. Get it past them, however, and you’ll score a point and be one step closer to destroying the statue.

Like anything else that’s this elaborate, Nuke can be frustrating if you fail at the last second, but otherwise it’s a uniquely fun and involving departure from the other, more straightforward multiplayer modes.

Whether you’re playing solo or multiplayer, though, Twisted Metal is a pretty compelling package. The carnage is uniquely fun, the cutscenes straddle a line between slickly produced and cheesy, and the stories are surprisingly involving. And the soundtrack – which combines ‘70s, ‘80s and ‘90s metal with occasional gangsta-rap tracks – always manages to complement the action perfectly (and if you find that it doesn’t, you can edit the playlist). It’s got a few warts, sure, but there’s a lot to love here.

Is it better than…?

Twisted Metal: Black? Yes. Not only is 2001’s gritty, fantastic-for-its-time reboot showing its age, but the action in the 2011 version is a lot smoother and more packed with interesting things to do. Sadly, some of TM:B’s most brilliant touches – like being able to crash an airliner or unleash a destructive Ferris wheel – are absent from the new game, but the abundance of game types and cool secrets (not to mention working online play) more than make up for them. In any case, Twisted Metal comes with a free download voucher for Twisted Metal: Black, so you can grab it and judge for yourself.

Rage’s “Road Rage” multiplayer? Yes. Rage may look considerably prettier than Twisted Metal, but its car-combat multiplayer feels slow and dull by comparison, even ignoring the fact that it supports only four players. Comparing a shooter’s car-combat multiplayer to a game devoted entirely to the vehicular manslaughter might be a little unfair, but the fact that we’re doing it at all is a testament to how scarce decent car-combat games have become.

ModNation Racers? Depends on what you’re looking for; obviously, ModNation has it all over Twisted Metal when it comes to designing your own tracks and racing – something that, while new in TM, is still rare and not part of multiplayer. If you’re looking for the pure thrill of shooting missiles at other cars, though, Twisted Metal’s demolition matches are where you want to be, with action that’s freer, faster and far more violent than anything ModNation’s got under its hood.

For those who skipped straight to the end

While its character roster is smaller than previous games, and its multiplayer seems disappointingly basic next to its single-player campaign, Twisted Metal is nevertheless a compellingly badass game filled with fun things to discover and unlock. This isn’t a perfect Twisted Metal, but as comebacks go, it’s pretty strong.

More Info

Release date: Feb 14 2012 - PS3 (US)
Available Platforms: PS3
Genre: Action
Published by: SCEA
Developed by: Eat Sleep Play
ESRB Rating:
Mature: Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Strong Language

24 comments

  • Ravenbom - February 21, 2012 11:24 a.m.

    Oh yeah! Mikel, I was going to say there is something very similar to Nuke mode in a single player boss fight. And I was complaining in an earlier post, but outside of locking the cars at the beginning and unbalanced race mode, the game is quite good and I like the cutscenes, I just wish there was a story for every car like in previous games. Always fun to see how Calypso betrays practically every wish.
  • james-ridder - February 19, 2012 1:13 a.m.

    im about 94 percent into story mode and not completly letdown about the shortage of story cutscenes,the stages are pretty tough and the new racing aspect can prove the difficulty in getting use to more than one vehicle,iron maiden level was awesome and interesting ,think tm fans will love it!
  • ChaosEternal - February 17, 2012 10:36 a.m.

    Woah, I guessed this got an 8 just by skimming a couple sentences. And earlier I guessed Ninja Gaiden Sigma Plus got a 6 by doing the same. I guess I'm getting used to the review styles and their corresponding numbers. 0.o
  • talleyXIV - February 15, 2012 4:58 p.m.

    Played the demo, I thought the controls were ridiculous. Aside from that, it had great graphics, great online play, and was very unique. I am glad my brother pre-ordered it.
  • newgames128 - February 15, 2012 4:05 p.m.

    "Sadly, some of TM:B’s most brilliant touches – like being able to crash an airliner or unleash a destructive Ferris wheel – are absent from the new game," ....Did the reviewer see any of the previews that show the giant ferris wheel being shot and rolling down a hill over everything in its path?
  • Yukichin - February 17, 2012 1:42 a.m.

    It's possible that that scene was just for show. I haven't played the game, so I can't comment much, but considering the reviewers (presumably) played the game...
  • Ravenbom - February 21, 2012 11:21 a.m.

    That scene isn't for show, you can destroy the Ferris wheel in the amusement park and it'll roll into a mountain. It's pretty cool to watch, actually. The amusement park is far and away the best level. LA's rooftops are a close second. I really miss the multiple characters/endings. Also, having to unlock the cars feels cheap, especially the first race where the fastest car is locked out and there's no second place. With so many hills and turns the only good shot you get at the fastest car (Crimson Fury) is on the bridge where the cars behind you get a good shot at you. There's just not a good balance between the cars speed and the weapons in the race.
  • ItBurnsWhenIWii - February 15, 2012 3:12 p.m.

    This game is great. I totally agree with the score and the review. If anything I would have added that (in my opinion) the single player seemed unfair. I love me a good challenge, but when every car only goes after you and enemies pick up health packs it gets to feel cheap at some points. That said I LOVE the story cutscenes(and the easter eggs they have) and the nuke mode is fantastic.
  • Faustinator - February 15, 2012 4:45 a.m.

    Still have TM and TM:World Tour, never played Black (never had PS2) but might be tempted to get this (as well as a controller) for the PC.
  • jmcgrotty - February 15, 2012 2:05 a.m.

    It's like they went out of their way to make this game 100% undesirable. The 3 characters is unacceptable, the live-action scenes sound pathetic (they might work for all I know, but I'll never find out) and the reliance on multiplayer/online is a game crippler. Depressing for a game I had huge high hopes for going into this year.
  • Jrymanz - February 14, 2012 8 p.m.

    I'm really disappointed about there only being 3 characters. One of my favorite things about the old twisted metals was seeing each characters ending. Still a good game.
  • mattchew86 - February 14, 2012 4:48 p.m.

    This looks amazing. Throw in a free copy of TM:B, and I'm sold.
  • sleepy92ismypsn - February 14, 2012 4:29 p.m.

    I want this game so bad. I've been waiting 10 years for a brand new Twisted Metal game. I don't know why my copy isn't here yet. Fucking UPS is taking forever.
  • bass88 - February 14, 2012 4:55 p.m.

    At least you're getting it now. I have to wait until March 7th because Sony Europe is run by arseholes who think it's okay to remove the twisted humour part out of Twisted Metal. I'm guessing nobody ever explained the title to them.
  • Zeos - February 14, 2012 3:24 p.m.

    Damn I wish I had this to pass this dumb holiday by.
  • christopher-wallace-tarry - February 14, 2012 3:19 p.m.

    Wow, two 'under the hood' puns in one article? And you had all the world of motorsport-related humour at your fingertips? disappointed GR, disappointed.
  • GamesRadarMikelReparaz - February 14, 2012 5:13 p.m.

    It's not a pun, it's an idiom! But you're right, that was a little excessive of me.
  • QuickSticks45 - February 14, 2012 2:05 p.m.

    eight, eight, eight is great, you can hole it this way, you can hold it that way, it's still eight
  • taokaka - February 14, 2012 1:48 p.m.

    I want to get it for some fun 4-player splitscreen fun but I can see myself not actually playing the online multiplayer or single player portion for a while with the sea of games releasing soon
  • tareq - February 14, 2012 1:45 p.m.

    Man looks like there aren't any recent car combat games to compare it to

Showing 1-20 of 24 comments

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