Twisted Metal (2012) – Review

Twisted Metal is back on the PlayStation 3 but was it any good?

Read on for a video review and some extra discussion concerning the game.

Plus – The Good

  • An iconic franchise is back.
  • Live action videos for the story are always welcome.
  • They kept the same formula used throughout the franchise.

Minus – The Bad

  • Story is very short.
  • Controls are quite awkward.
  • Overall the gameplay feels very antiquated.

Score 5 Large – The Verdict

In the gaming world some names and franchises carry quite a bit of nostalgia. Twisted Metal is one of those franchises which attained its status via unique gameplay and mechanics which remain to this day. While nostalgia would like to dictate this franchise was absolutely fantastic, reviews from the period say otherwise. Out of the first four titles, Twisted Metal 2 had mostly positive reviews while the other three scored below average. On the PlayStation 2 Twisted Metal Black was also generally well received and so was the PSP title. So with a 50% success rate, how was the new game?

Right from the start things did not look good, both visually and mechanically. Seeing some stock PlayStation graphics and overlays for “Loading System Data” and skipping movies was jarring considering games have used custom assets for many years on the PS3. Graphics overall were quite bland and average at best. The control screen is overloaded with information, so much so that I never realized there was a button combination to jump and reverse. It also seems odd to use the original game for the default control layout considering vehicle based games don’t use face buttons anymore but even then the more modern ‘racing’ alternate layout available is equally odd.

The button layout isn’t the only odd part either, vehicle physics and aiming weapons isn’t much better either. Lining up shots is mostly luck based, unless you pick up homing weapons it really is difficult to land shots on a semi-consistent basis. Your best bet for manual aiming would be pulling 180’s with the handbrake and follow enemies from behind. You can’t veer off path too much so this gives you the best odds to land some hits. Simple changes like scaling up the vehicle size or putting in mild auto-aim could have helped tremendously in this case, sure it takes away some skill but it would take an enormous amount of frustration away from the game as well.

Frustration summarizes my overall experience with the game. When I look back at the Twisted Metal 3 and 4 days, there was a competitor called Vigilante 8 which was already better in many ways. After all these years I would assume a ‘reboot’ to the series would look into changing fundamental mechanics to improve it when you consider somebody else already did it better. But the end result was a modern look on what is fundamentally the same game with the same old problems. It really is a shame that the game ended up being so disappointing, especially since the future of the franchise seemed to rely on a strong success. We can only be hopeful for a true reboot in the future at this point in time.

Full disclosure

  • Play time: ~6h on story and ~1h on multiplayer.

  • Completion: Completed all 18 story missions.

  • Last played:  August 16th, 2014.

  • Version: v1.16

  • Platform: PlayStation 3.

  • Acquisition: 5.00$ via PlayStation store.