I’ve always found ‘Sweet Tooth’ an ironic name for the main character of the Twisted Metal franchise. He’s an evil clown who drives a weapon-laced ice cream truck that definitely doesn’t sell sweets, yet he’s always managed to satisfy a certain craving for me anyway. This classic car-combat series has always been over-the-top violent, with an emphasis on blowing up the other characters with exaggerated weapons. Basically, a disturbing, gothic take on the same concept as the Battle mode in Mario Kart. The new version I just played for the PS3 ratchets up the intensity in many ways.
The first interesting change I noticed when joining my network match against the seven people surrounding me was that each character can drive the vehicle belonging to any other character. They bring with them their own statistics and special weapon, but things like defense and acceleration are altered by the change. After tooling around the partially-destructible warzone in the classic ice cream truck for awhile, I decided to slap our favourite clown onto the unmistakeable ride of one Mr. Grimm. Once again, for emphasis: a clown with flaming hair and razor-sharp teeth, riding a motorcycle and throwing chainsaws at people. Yeah, keep the kids away from this one—it’s nightmare material.
As far as the action went, it was fairly standard Metal fare. I drove around, picking up heat-seeking missiles, bombs, and more and attempted to use them to blow the competition away. There are two big additions that I didn’t get the chance to try, though. For one, you can now pilot a helicopter instead of a car. These aren’t as unbalanced as they may seem, as what my opponents who used helicopters gained in height advantage, they lost in maneuverability, so the fight is still pretty fair either way. Also, some vehicles can now turn into mechs. This is probably a bigger deal than the demo made it out to be, but I found the guys who transformed got annihilated within seconds. Maybe it is just because it was our first time playing the game, but the mechs seemed to be at a huge disadvantage in my matchup.
Technically, the game is quite sound. Eight of us were constantly zooming around the destructible map, causing explosions and sending each other flying. Despite this, the framerate seemed to stay around a remarkable 60fps. The demo was not without technical problems, as several times players (including the host) got dropped, but that is what these stress-tests are for, and I have little doubt such issues will be ironed out come the final release.
I had an odd feeling when I finished my match of Twisted Metal. Despite having just sent several people to hell in extremely gory fashion, I felt like a kid again. Having tied for first place despite joining halfway through the round, I had a silly grin plastered all over my face. As the clowns said in the immortal commercial for Twisted Metal 4, ‘Sweet Tooth is back’. Though he’s given me a delicious bite, I can’t wait for the main course.
Stay tuned to gamrReview for more info on Twisted Metal as it becomes available, and keep watching over the next few days because there is plenty more E3 goodness to come!