I was very excited when Jaffe revealed that he is working on a brand new Twisted Metal game for the PS3. We havent gotten a good car combat game this entire gen. when Jaffe started to talke about how he wanted to at skill, strategy, and balance to it I honestly did not believe he could do it. After playing the multiplayer demo while (once I was able to get into a game because of the matchmaking errors) I am eating so much crow right now. From what I played the game is balanced perfectly and skill/strategy is absolutely needed to use each vehicle, travers the map, and use weapon pick ups effectively.
Each vehicle has their strengths, weakness. For example the Talon, the helicopter is hard to hit with non homing missiles, but if you use the freeze ray (every vehicle has this ability) it comes right down. And some vehicles such as the Reaper motorcycle with its flaming chain saw and the Darkside semi with is power slam can one hit kill it. There is a way to take out every vehicle (in the demo at least, there are far more vehicles in the full game).
Another way skill and strategy is essential in Twisted Metal is though the health and weapon pickups. You need to know where every health pickup is when you are low and when its better to run away. These and the weapon pickups are not always easy to find some are only found when something is destroyed or behind walls. Every weapon must be skillfully used or it will be wasted or even hurt yourself.
Finally the Twisted Metal's unique objective based mode Nuke is where all these things come together. To win this mode you need a team that has a variety of different vehicles and knows where health/weapons are at all times. Teams must also work together well and know what they are doing or else you have everyone just playing the game like deathmatch.
For all of you about to play it, I sugest doing training mode because the learning curve for the controls is pretty big for some people. After getting used to the controls I also sugest playing deathmatch with a vehicle with average speed and armor (the meat wagon is a good coice, it has average armor, ok speed, and a great special) to get used to the other mechanics (when matchmaking is fixed). You can train in SP mode but the AI does not reflect human players very well, they tend to all gang up on you and are quite ruthless.
I hope the full game keeps this balance with all the other vehicles, maps, and placement of pickups when it releases valentines day in the US.