I’ll happily admit, when I first booted up Twisted Metal a couple of weeks back, I was less than impressed. For the record, I thought it was terrible, and couldn’t wait to switch it off. Last night, though, something clicked – and after a good hour or so of not blinking my eyeballs have almost completely dried up and my head’s banging like a drum.
Ladies and gentlemen, Twisted Metal Is Back.
Let us rewind a bit, though. Twisted Metal’s not a game that takes itself too seriously, the grindhouse video inserts and the over-spun characters walk a disjointed path of hardcore imagery and pulpy nonsense, static and film grain deliberately placing the footage in the pigeon hole marked “low budget snuff” that Rodriguez pumps out with regular (and successful) abandon.
The menus are cheesy and cheap looking, the type face and logo desperately in need of refresh and the music – oh, the music. But, hey, it all kinda fits. It’s like Jaffe has just stuck two fingers up at the stuff poncy London design studios kick out for whatever’s new to market and shouted a big fat fuck you to anything remotely approaching a neat, slick interface.
This is heavy metal artwork against a heavy metal soundtrack.
But, you know what, after initially dismissing the game, a second look has turned everything around. The garish font, the silly colours, the ‘rock’ music, the fact that Sweet Tooth’s head is still on fire? It all just clicks into place. And the game itself, a breakneck assault on the eyes and brain? Absolutely, one hundred percent, the dog’s bollocks.
With mates, this is probably the perfect antidote if you just want to let go and have a little blast of crazy every now and again.
The controls, though, like everything else, take some adjusting to. Square’s go, circle’s brake, cross makes you turn quicker and the triggers perform everything from cycling and firing weapons to jumping; the digital pad for the onboard, persistent stuff like ice and shield. There’s a training mode which teaches you all this, and you’ll need it.[drop2]But into the game and after being rattled around the first level without any clue what’s going on for half an hour, it all started to make sense. Bullets started to hit home, rockets found their targets, I was boosting out of danger and I’d figured out how to change vehicles. I was in control. I was winning battles. I was on fire.
The game’s a real laugh, then. It’s vehicular combat, as I’m sure you’re aware, but it’s a genre title that’s amped up well past eleven, intentionally quick and decisive and never letting up. I wasn’t joking about the not blinking thing – exaggerating, sure, but I can promise you my eyeballs were as dry as a desert when I’d finished.
I’m glad I gave the game another chance. Twisted Metal’s story might make you wince and the game itself bombards you with relentless opponents and environments designed to punish you continuously, but it’s actually pretty damned good at what it does, which is make you a screaming killing machine with flames for hair, with nothing but a machine gun and a huge rack of heavy weapons for company.
You know, I’m not in a position to review this game – I’m not a big Twisted Metal historian and I won’t promise to know every last detail: I don’t. I just know that if you’re a fan of the series then this PS3 version plays to the strengths of the system (with some admittedly nice visuals) and really does kick you in the balls.
Twisted Metal is out today.