hot  /  reviews  /  videos  /  cblogs  /  qposts

Twisted Metal

Twisted Metal: A different kind of multiplayer game

1:30 PM on 12.19.2011 // Samit Sarkar

Unless you count the continued popularity of Mario Kart, we’re a long way from the ’90s heyday of car combat games. Modern multiplayer combat primarily concerns games in which people shoot each other, but David Jaffe, Scott Campbell, and their team at Eat Sleep Play are aiming to amend that phrase to end with the words “with cars.” They’re working on a new Twisted Metal title, the first original one to hit consoles since Twisted Metal: Black launched on the PlayStation 2 a decade ago.

Twisted Metal differs from shooters in more ways than the “shooting people while driving” part. In some respects, it’s more accessible than those games; in others, it’s even more impenetrable.


Twisted Metal (PlayStation 3)
Developer: Eat Sleep Play
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Release: February 14, 2012

In the hour or so that I spent with Twisted Metal, I kept noticing one aspect of the combat: it can take a pretty long time to kill someone. That’s not an accident, according to the Sony producer who demoed the game for me. He explained that the design decision was a result of Jaffe’s dislike of the pace in most multiplayer shooters -- the series co-creator isn’t a fan of the endless spawn-die-spawn cycle. In those games, it doesn’t take many bullets to kill you, and firefights rarely last long.

Twisted Metal, on the other hand, offers a much higher degree of “survivability,” said the producer. You’re going to have to work for a kill, but the designers believe that increased survivability only makes the game more thrilling. Here, combat is “all about the chase,” which, I guess, makes sense for a game featuring vehicular mayhem. In addition, the folks at Eat Sleep Play are hoping that longer lives will help to reduce the amount of frustration that new players have to endure while learning the ropes.


That decision makes a lot of sense, since it will likely take more than a few hours to understand Twisted Metal’s chaos. Multiplayer is the focus of this game, and it’s clear that Eat Sleep Play is devoting a great deal of development time to important facets such as balancing vehicles’ abilities and tweaking weapon damage, but the modes and options are so numerous and varied that I found myself overwhelmed during the demo. Jaffe has likened Twisted Metal to a fighting game, and the comparison seems apt -- I don’t have any understanding of the minutiae of fighting games, and it’s impossible for me to have fun with them unless I’m playing someone who’s just as clueless. The depth here is staggering; with such a steep learning curve, it’s important for the game to teach newbies well, and ensure that they can have fun, too.

You can outfit vehicles with an arsenal of your choosing. Each car has two special attacks, in addition to its standard firepower. A high degree of destructibility means that level geometry is always in flux. Some of the cars are better used as support vehicles, like the Juggernaut, a slow tractor-trailer that can open its rear doors for up to two teammates to hang out and man turrets. Many weapons employ a risk/reward mechanic: charging attacks makes them more effective, but in many cases, also more difficult to succeed with. One of the playable vehicles is a damn helicopter, and Sweet Tooth can transform into a freakin’ mech. The variety of opportunities will likely give rise to high-level strategic play, and will hopefully lend Twisted Metal a long shelf life.


I played in three different levels: one set in the suburbs, another in a theme park, and a snowy take on New York. Although there’s plenty of work to be done before the game’s Valentine’s Day launch, the environments impressed me with their size, destructibility, and variability. The level set in a fictionalized New York is full of secret shortcuts, and its verticality -- you can go up into buildings, or head down into the subway -- provides for great hide-and-seek gameplay. The theme park balances a large open area, complete with a Ferris wheel that can be detached from its moorings, and winding narrow paths on its outskirts. The suburban landscape is sparsely populated and offers near-total destruction. All of them seem to offer play spaces that are “fair” to both sides without having mirrored halves.

I played with the classic control scheme, where the face buttons cover vehicle control and the triggers fire weapons. Eat Sleep Play is also including controls based on modern racing games, with acceleration and braking on the triggers. As I said earlier, Twisted Metal isn’t exactly a pick-up-and-play experience, but once I figured out the controls, I did manage to race around the maps and score some kills. The frame rate never dropped during the fast-paced action, and I didn’t see any silly AI bot behavior.


While online play is the star of the show, the game also offers local split-screen action for up to four players, just like old times. However you play, you’ll need to invest a good amount of time to learn the ins and outs of Twisted Metal, even if you’re not new to the series. Thankfully, it looks like it will be worth it.

Photo Gallery: (4 images)
Click to zoom - browse by swipe, or use arrow keys

Samit Sarkar,
 Follow Blog + disclosure

This blog submitted to our editor via our Community Blogs, and then it made it to the home page! You can follow community members and vote up their blogs - support each other so we can promote a more diverse and deep content mix on our home page.

 Setup email comments

Unsavory comments? Please report harassment, spam, and hate speech to our moderators, and flag the user (we will ban users dishing bad karma). Can't see comments? Apps like Avast or browser extensions can cause it. You can fix it by adding * to your whitelists.

 Add your impressions

Status updates from C-bloggers

Fuzunga avatarFuzunga
The Undertale review section on its Steam page is hilarious! [img][/img]
n0signal avatarn0signal
Pixie The Fairy avatarPixie The Fairy
A Nintendo rep gave this to me today because she likes talking to me. I do have lots of the Old AC eReader cards I guess I could put in it... [img][/img]
GoofierBrute avatarGoofierBrute
I'm still trying to figure out how to do it, but for the most part I like what I've seen of the new blog editor. My first blog post using it should go up tomorrow.
Pixie The Fairy avatarPixie The Fairy
The demon threat is real.[img][/img]
Mike Martin avatarMike Martin
RadicalYoseph avatarRadicalYoseph
Daily VGM #20 (Bonus) - Valak Mountain Night (Xenoblade Chronicles) [youtube][/youtube] This theme perfectly captures the essence of Valak Mountain. It feel serene and calm, as well as mountain-esque (lol).
Lawman avatarLawman
What does one do when MGS V has lost its luster and Persona 4: DAN is growing stale? Listen to Queens of the Stone Age, of course. And wonder; is Steins;Gate worth the asking price? I want it, but not sure if I $30 - $40 want it...
Terry 309 avatarTerry 309
Been trying to get Tales Of Phantasia finished before Zestiria comes out... How i'm going to get through that game I have no clue... especially when Exist Archive comes out in December and I have to play that too... also i've still yet to finish Grandia 2
TheLimoMaker avatarTheLimoMaker
Been in a bit of a rut this week and as such haven't really been satisfied with any of my games. Therefore, I'm going to start Destiny again on my new PS+ account. Any tips given the amount of updates it's had?
Bardley avatarBardley
Bought a used knockoff game console called the Power Kracker 2013, which claimed to have 76,000 games. The AC adapter was missing and someone had crammed an off-brand GameCube controller inside the box. I don't know what I expected.
Firuzi Gafrindashvili avatarFiruzi Gafrindashvili
Resident Evil: Revelations 2
RadicalYoseph avatarRadicalYoseph
I actually love the quests in Novigrad where you write a play. It's a fun and lighthearted break from the tragedy of Baron and horror of Velen and the Crones.
FlanxLycanth avatarFlanxLycanth
I preordered Tales of Zestria and Disgaea 5 because they were £10 cheaper that way, WHO WANTS TO FIGHT ME HUH?
Gamemaniac3434 avatarGamemaniac3434
Man, plague of shadows is gooood. It really fleshes out plague knight and the world by extension, and it has some fun story stuff. Plus plague knight plays differently enough to shovel knight to make whats old feel new again. Deep customization too.
nanashi avatarnanashi
You will be missed. 2001 - 2015 ATHF RIP. ... oh and uh, GET OUT OF MY FREAKING POOL!!
SpielerDad avatarSpielerDad
Freezing my ass off at a Penn State football game. Half of the hicks at this stadium probably didn't graduate high school, yet they're rooting for a college football team. I wish I was on my warm den playing MGS V.
AvtrSpirit avatarAvtrSpirit
Gosh darn it, she's done it again! That Sapphire's a talented minx. [youtube][/youtube]
ChrisHannard avatarChrisHannard
Is renting games still a thing in America? I know there's only one UK company still doing rentals. And does it make you less tolerant of games? I definitely gave games less of a chance when I knew I could sling them back in the envelope and get a new one.
Termadoyle avatarTermadoyle
Probably the most awesome soundtrack in an indie game. And the game isn't so bad either. win/win situation tbqh.
more quickposts


destructoid's previous coverage:
Twisted Metal

View all:powered by:  MM.Elephant

Ads on destructoid may be purchased from:

Please contact Crave Online, thanks!


Invert site colors

  Dark Theme
  Light Theme

Destructoid means family.
Living the dream, since 2006

Pssst. konami code + enter

modernmethod logo

Back to Top

We follow moms on   Facebook  and   Twitter
  Light Theme      Dark Theme
Pssst. Konami Code + Enter!
You may remix stuff our site under creative commons w/@
- Destructoid means family. Living the dream, since 2006 -