Twisted Metal – E3 Preview

Twisted Metal was one of the most surprising appearances of E3 last year. After years of keeping its existence secret, Eat Sleep Play arrived in spectacular fashion, showing off one of the most classic and identifiable games in PlayStation history on Sony’s latest hardware. It was arguably one of the most entertaining games on the show floor, and with another 12 months of development between then and now, what more does it offer?

This time around, the Nuke mode which David Jaffe explained at the Sony press conference last year was finally playable. The mode personifies the Twisted Metal series, and is extremely entertaining. Capturing an enemy leader, sacrificing him to a giant, armored missile launcher before flying a rocket into a huge statue has never been so fun. Compared to last year’s Team Deathmatch, this mode creates several major hot spots where many players gather for objectives. What ensues are epic battles with players from each team doing everything they can to blow each other to smithereens. Controlling the missile and flying it into the statue is a nice touch, and if you aren’t careful, it’ll get lost in transit.

I also had the chance to see the single-player offerings of the title. The map available included a giant boss, similar to the statues in Nuke mode, which had multiple phases. During one phase, I had to stay within a certain area of the boss, and was limited to only a small period of time outside of the confined area. What this did is limit my arsenal and defensive capabilities, further amplifying the intensity. There were also additional enemies in the area, which needed to be cleared out. The feeling of facing such an intimidating boss while half a dozen henchmen chased me down was definitely anxiety-inducing, but thankfully the thrill of blowing them up with rockets remedied that.

The presentation was delivered in typical Twisted Metal fashion, and was more reminiscent of the original two releases than Black. With that said, the developer mentioned that they’re aiming to place it somewhere in the middle of the two, so it should appeal to anyone who has ever found taste in the series. Each of the characters truly have their own personality, and with the unique special abilities of each, players should have fun finding their one or two favorites similar to what you find in fighting games.

Gameplay is as precise and twitchy as it was at last year’s show. Battles are extremely quick, and learning to use weapons accurately while dodging with evasive maneuvers is ideal. Since each character handles and operates differently, learning the ins and outs of each is as rewarding as it is effective. Most of all, the mixture of racing and combat it genuinely satisfying, especially with the smooth frame rate. Going fast while engaging against enemies is something we haven’t seen executed to this level in a long, long time.

Split-screen wasn’t available, but four-player co-op is said to be included in the final release. Given the sheer fun and fervor delivered, this looks like it’ll be one of the most enjoyable split-screen experiences of the generation whether playing with or against one another.

Twisted Metal releases on October 4th, 2011.