PlayStation fanboys everywhere have been pleading and begging for a new Twisted Metal game for as long as I can remember, but their cries have never been answered. That all changed today when Sony announced a reboot of the series on the PS3, developed by David Jaffe and many of the same guys who made the original.
As soon as the unoriginally titled Twisted Metal was announced, I was on the show floor hunting it down, eager to get my hands on a game many thought would never see the light of day. After a long wait in line, I finally sat down and got to play it to find out if Sweet Tooth still has that killer instinct. For my complete hands on impressions, hit the jump.
The ten minute demo I got to play consisted of 16 player 8v8 team deathmatch. Before the chaos got underway, I was able to choose from at least six different cars including a muscle sports car, tow truck, motorcycle, and even a helicopter. The inclusion of a chopper is definitely new to the series and made combat a bit trickier. For the demo, I decided to choose the muscle car, which had front-mounted Gatling guns and looked very similar to a Ford Mustang.
Controlling the game was fairly simple, with the square button being used to accelerate, the L1/R1 buttons used to cycle special weapons, the R2 button firing special weapons, and the L2 button firing regular boring machine guns. The first thing I noticed was that whenever you fire a special weapon, the characters driving the car actual stick themselves out of the windows to fire the weapons. The bigger the weapons, the farther your characters stick out. It might not seem like anything much, but it’s a little touch that adds a lot to the game’s atmosphere.
The combat itself is extremely intense, mainly thanks to the special weapons packing a huge “punch”. I’m not sure if the final arsenal is available in the demo, but I was able to use homing missiles, shotguns, sniper rifles, and cluster bombs, all of which tore my enemies up with huge explosions and great visual flair. It also helped that the weapon sounds effects were very bass-heavy, making every explosion rock my ears off.
If you are looking for some type of major innovation in the vehicular combat, you shouldn’t look here. You simply point your car at an enemy’s and fire everything you have, hoping you kill him before he kills you. It is important to note that you don’t simply earn points for killing enemies. You also earn points for landing weapon hits, though what those points are used for I’m not really sure.
The level I played was named Slaughterville, a small town filled with polite folk, just begging to be blown to smithereens. Weapons are scattered throughout the level, some of which are out in the open, and some of which are hiding in buildings like movie theaters and schools. Getting into these buildings is a little tricky though, as some have walls that are completely destructible, allowing you to drive through, while others force you to navigate carefully through doorways.
Besides weapons and buildings, the level is also filled with innocent pedestrians who can be run over, and other vehicles, which you can destroy. One disappointing element of the demo is that all of these people, vehicles, and buildings are very plainly rendered, with very little detail at all. The cars and characters seem to have tons of graphical detail, but the rest of the environment is just plain boring. Hopefully things will get spruced up as the game gets closer to release.
Another issue I have with the demo is the standard machine gun is essentially completely useless. It does very little damage to enemies, and the visual and audio effects are mediocre. Hopefully the developer will do something to spruce it up, since it is your fallback weapon when all the others get used up.
Speaking of weapons, I forgot to mention that you also have additional weapons mapped to the D-pad buttons. These include a freezing ray, which can be fired forward and disables opposing cars for a short period of time, and a mine, which can be dropped behind you to damage would-be followers.
Overall, I would have to say that my experience with Twisted Metal was overwhelmingly positive. The car combat is extremely fast, intense, and addictive, three traits you really want in a vehicular combat game. While this was only a small taste of the bigger picture, it left my mouth watering for more.