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Twisted Metal

Twisted Metal
Game Name: Twisted Metal
Platforms: Playstation 3
Publisher(s): Sony Computer Entertainment
Developer(s): Eat Sleep Play
Genre(s): Vehicle combat
Release Date: February 14, 2012
ESRB Rating: M
Big Ups: Beautiful style, great soundtrack, rewarding gameplay
Big Downs: Inconsistent multiplayer network

What happened to the days of ridiculous caricatures of popular archetypes? What happened to the days of excessive violence and heavy metal overlaying childish glee? The newest Twisted Metal attempts to rekindle this spirit and does so admirably. Having a shaky track record, the series seems to finally realize itself for what it is; developer Eat Sleep Play with Twisted Metal’s lead director David Jaffe offers new content and impressive style that takes the series further into twisted joy. Accenting this glee is the series mascot, Sweet Tooth. Starting off with a live action opening, players are shown the disturbing drive behind the character. After succumbing to his violent alter ego and murdering most of his immediate family, Sweet Tooth has only one goal in mind: he wishes to kill his eldest daughter who managed to escape the brutal killing spree. So when Calypso, the series’ antagonist, offers to grant any one wish to the winner of the Twisted Metal Tournament, Sweet Tooth continues his murderous rampage toward Calypso Industries. Throughout the singleplayer campaign, players are introduced to three other characters who, for their own corrupt reasons, join the tournament to have their one wish granted. Three characters?! Yes, this game fails to match the previous extensive list of characters but hear me out. In previous Twisted Metal games, the cast consisted of many characters with interwoven tales of tainted goals and vengeances. However limited the current cast, the style and setting is so lush that it hardly comes close to being dull.

The story possesses several game modes that are fun in their own way. First of these is Juggernaut. It pits you against an imposing semi truck accompanied by an army of hostile competitors solely gunning for you. As the you attempt to shoot the Juggernaut’s few heavily protected weakpoints, the truck spews proximity mines and missiles while periodically dumping out more combatants to defend it. Quite possibly one of my favorite game modes, Juggernaut requires you to constantly be on the offense and on the move. I am so sorry for emphasizing the point, but there is nothing during your attempt in killing the Juggernaut like speeding past it to get a clear shot at its most vital weakpoint (its nose) and playing what would be a very one-sided game of chicken as you unload your entire weapon’s bay worth of payload all over its face to effectively destroy it. Hair-raising moments like this comprise a majority of Twisted Metal’s gameplay. The next interesting singleplayer gamemode is Electric Cage. Essentially a king-of-the-hill match, players must fight within a designated area until it moves. Once it does move, each player must rush to the cage’s new location while dodging each other’s angry projectiles. To encourage brevity, the Grace Period is a timer that counts down from a set number of seconds when a player is outside of the cage. When the timer hits zero, the player begins to gradually lose health if not within the confines of the cage. This fantastic game mode manages to keep the action going by confining the play area while encouraging a forward motion. Other than these two, the singleplayer possesses a mildly intriguing combat racing mode and a standard deathmatch mode. As fun as all of them are, it sucks that only deathmatch made it into the multiplayer. However with prevalent online connectivity issues, it is hard to say how fun they would even be.

Which is sad. The controls along with the amazing balancing (yes, I know the unlockable powerhouse vehicles are overpowered) make this game potentially the most readily competitive in the series. I really must applaud Eat Sleep Play for this. In an era of game development where developers put appealing aesthetics before competitive gameplay, Eat Sleep Play manages to rekindle an old flame of legitimate and fair gameplay that I felt when playing games such as, Super Smash Bros. Melee or Street Fighter 2. I figuratively state, Twisted Metal does not have ridiculous “Ultimate Moves” from Street Fighter 4 and randomly uncontrollable character stumbling from Super Smash Bros. Brawl; I literally state, Twisted Metal’s barebones combat rewards and punishes the players for their own skills and follies. Bravo Eat Sleep Play! Now fix the damn network code, please?

Obliterating your opponents with missiles, combustible RC-cars, and other explosives would not be quite as awesome if it wasn’t accompanied by the ridiculously heavy metal soundtrack. ¬†Duking it out as Rob Zombie’s Dragula blasts through the speakers elevates this hyper-violent destruction derby to the umpteenth degree. This makes each action-packed encounter heart-pounding and exhilarating. I also forgot to mention the multiplayer game mode, Nuke. Players divide into teams where they attempt to kidnap their opponent’s leader whose body fuels a death machine that launches a controllable nuke at the enemies statue. After three hits, the enemy team loses. Absurd? Very. Helluva lot of fun? Definitely. The teams’ leaders are the four characters from the campaign: Sweet Tooth, whom we already know; Dollface, an ex-supermodel with a narcissism complex; Grimm, arguably the most drastically different popular character from the series, Grimm is the son of a dead daredevil whose death governed his life ¬†and is seeking to alter the outcome of his father’s life; and the Preacher, a seeming evangelical who possibly best knows the identity of Calypso and seeks to smite him from the earth. Maintaining the many series staples, Eat Sleep Play leaves most fans feeling satisfied with its macabre yet juvenile sensations.

I find it hard to see a flaw in the new Twisted Metal which is funny considering I was one of those people complaining about the limited roster and other factors. But like its awesome announcement at E3 2010, Twisted Metal definitely kicks all asses in any genre. It is so awesome it hurts when realizing the major online connectivity issues prevent me from enjoying the game beyond singleplayer. Though multiplayer is a blast once you finally connect to a game, the time and energy required to do so are not worth it. Regardless the tease that the multiplayer is, Twisted Metal is still a great game. I would recommend it to anyone and their mother.

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