Twisted Metal, Eat Sleep Play’s death race multiplayer for the Sony PS3, comes across like one of the brutal, outlandish vehicles it contains
Twisted Metal for the PS3 may be a demolition derby with a psychotic industrial bent, but as a package, it feels closer to EA’s contender for top honours in the shooter category last year, Battlefield 3. Like DICE’s FPS, Twisted Metal has campaign, but the game’s main purpose is to allow players to hammer their friends online with an assortment of vehicles.
Twisted Metal: Plot
The single-player campaign isn’t completely disposable. Indeed, it serves as a mandatory introduction to Twisted Metal’s four-wheeled fragfest and to their credit the developers have packaged it beautifully. In it, players follow the fortunes of three psychotically unhinged drivers competing in a deadly competition run by a millionaire nutjob called Calypso.
Twisted Metal: Characters
The protagonists are hard to get behind being, as they all are, completely evil to the core, but their stories unfold compellingly in a series of high-end stills that mix grindhouse presentation with slasher-flick content. It all looks utterly gorgeous.
Twisted Metal: Gameplay
The story mode is essentially a series of free-for-all road battles, set across a range of maps in which the rules for survival change a fair bit from race to race. Some are straight deathmatches, while others involve staying within a safety zone that switches its position every so often.
Each of the game’s three storylines finish with a multilayered boss battle that feels epic while the player tackles it and immensely satisfying once it’s been conquered.
The main campaign also chucks players in at the deep end, and if this is your first experience with the Twisted Metal series, you may be in for a rough ride, initially. Some of the game’s controls feel intuitive such as break, accelerate, fire and so on.
But as the game progresses, players will need to learn to cycle weapons, deploy special moves, execute handbreak turns, use turbo boosts and more – and as this happens, the game’s difficulty curve starts to spike. It also doesn’t help that most of the game’s AI cars target the player before any other car on the track.
Still, what the single-player does very well is reveal the depth and breadth of the game’s control system. It may look like a straightforward road thrash, but Twisted Metal rewards players who are prepared to put the work in; the best players in this game are those who get to know each car in their arsenal, and each of their vehicles’ strengths and weaknesses.
Twisted Metal: Multiplayer
Once the player emerges bruised and battered from the story mode, it’s likely they’ve learned enough to enjoy Twisted Metal’s main selling point: the multiplayer. Without the nasty AI to interfere with things, the game’s blend of frenetic action and finessed gameplay truly begins to shine.
Like most other online contests, players earn points, level up, unlock weapons and are even given the opportunity to put their own personal stamp on their machines of death.
Twisted Metal: Verdict
Twisted Metal doesn’t make any concessions. On the surface, like its protagonists, it’s a heartless, snarling beast of a game. Players need to be prepared to learn a fiddly control system and plough through a difficult campaign before the game reveals its most attractive qualities.
Those who persevere, though, will be rewarded with a great experience that one can only describe as being like creating art with a blowtorch.
Twisted Metal comes on like old-school industrial music; it’s not for everyone, but those players attracted by its grimy imperfections will grow to truly love it.
Twisted Metal availability: Available now
Twisted Metal price: £39.99