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E3 2011: Hands-On: Twisted Metal

I have a very bizarre relationship with the Twisted Metal franchise. I’ve always loved the concept, and even have come to the love the game’s it inspired. But of its 9 releases, I only truly liked one of them. Twisted Metal 2 sits proudly in my top ten games of all time. Twisted Metal Black had a very cool feel to it, with the dark story lines, but the gameplay itself was lost on me. It was too open, and bare compared to what I loved about the second one. None of them have ever captured the magic of TM2.

Because of my insane love for the second game, I’ve always followed the series just in case they ever managed to win my heart over again. To this day, I think they should just remake the second… but that’s another story. This is about the all-new Twisted Metal, which looks to reboot the franchise with its numberless, subtitle-less name.

When it was first introduced, it reminded me too much of Twisted Metal Black, which I know a lot of people loved so that may not be a bad thing if TMB was your cup of tea. But I also felt like the new Twisted Metal was trying to do too many things, and that may still be the case as I was only given a single game mode to try out with my hands-on time.

Like a lot of the multiplayer games at E3, people were split up evenly and pitted against one another locally, and even given headsets to communicate with one another. We played the Nuke The Base game mode, which was a little tough to get the hold of in an E3 environment. For those unfamiliar with the mode, let me walk you through it:

Your objective is to locate the other team’s boss, which for us looked like the clown, Sweet Tooth. Once captured he is chained to the back of your vehicle and dragged around until you locate a pre-determined spot to sacrifice the boss into. It’s like capture the flag, but with a major twist. The pre-determined spot is actually a vehicle that is driving around the map. Once you have the boss dragging behind you, you’ve got to reach this vehicle, and drive directly behind it. Once behind it, a circle appears that you must stay inside for a certain amount of time (which felt like forever when you’re the one doing it). If you managed to stay within the circle amidst the vehicle making break-neck turns at high speeds, and your foes whaling missiles at you, you will successfully sacrifice the team’s boss into a fiery mess of blades. But it isn’t over yet. After the boss is killed you’re able to launch a missile that the player who’s killed the boss controls, and you must guide it into the other team’s monument successfully to score a point.

Sounds like a lot of work, right? It is, and it isn’t. We had virtually no idea going into the thing what to do beyond a quick crash course from the reps, but after a minute or two we had it figured it out. I actually got our team a point, which was an insanely gratifying feeling after you do so much to earn it.

The game felt silky smooth, and responsive. I forget who I chose to play as the counter ended up selecting a random character for me, but it controlled very well. I could turn on a dime, and accelerate very quickly, keeping me in the action at all times.

I left the demo feeling happy, and looking forward to the game’s final release. I can only hope all of the game’s modes are as fun, and remain fun. The only thing that stood out to me, was I didn’t get much personality from the other vehicles on the map. They all sort of blended together, though it could have just been the mode we were playing. I’m sure the cast’s unique abilities and personalities will shine through in deathmatch.

Overall I had a pleasant, and surprising time with Twisted Metal, and I can’t wait to get some more time with it.

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