E3 2010: Twisted Metal Hands On Preview - Just Clowning Around
Written Friday, July 02, 2010 By Dave Olsen
Today just seems different. Maybe it’s the burning pile of rubble and bricks in the center of town. Or it could be the ominous yellow-orange clouds hanging overhead. Perhaps it’s the helicopter raining down fire on a motorcycle that is in pursuit of a classic muscle car who has someone riding shotgun... literally! That shotgun is being aimed at an ice cream truck. Call me mad, but something is definitely off.
All of this can mean only one thing... Sweet Tooth is back and Twisted Metal has returned. Well, that's technically two, but they mean the same thing... You get the idea.
Twisted Metal... The name itself evokes images of chaos, a wide range of different vehicles, explosions and utter carnage. The tone of the game has changed from the dark cartoon of Twisted Metal 2 to the dark realism of Twisted Metal Black, while the style reportedly returns to that of Twisted Metal 2. If that doesn’t make you happy, then think of it this way, it’s not returning to Twisted Metal 4!
As soon as the new Twisted Metal was announced at the Sony press conference, almost immediately a line formed in the West Hall at this year’s E3, chock full of attendees eager to get some hands on time with the newly announced game. Of course, we were one of those. I mean, who can turn down the chance to get involved in a 16 player team-deathmatch, trying to beat 10 of the Eat, Sleep, Play devs at their own game? Answer: no-one! Especially when Sweet Tooth and his Clowns, and Dollface and The Dolls were the two factions the team was showing off – incidentally, the two aforementioned factions are the only two announced factions at the moment. Dear Mr. Jaffe, please have a motorcycle faction led by Mr. Grimm, lots of love, PS3T.
The E3 demo took the team-deathmatch action to the streets of a small town called Slaughterdale; a pretty enormous map if we do say so ourselves. It definitely seemed not only more advantageous to pick one of the larger vehicles, but it was the most appealing vehicular type from a gameplay perspective. Most of the buildings throughout the level had weapon pickups littered throughout, but by choosing one of the larger vehicles, you opened up the possibilities to drive through walls and such. With enough firepower, you could even destroy a building as well, but come on, can you ever have enough firepower?
Even though the game is still fairly early in development, the controls feel responsive already. If you’ve played any Twisted Metal game before for more than a few minutes, chances are if you pick up the reboot of the franchise, you’ll feel right at home. Maybe even more so when you hear that the characters and the vehicles from what we’ve seen so far are all returning fan favorites – plus... a helicopter! With the game still deep in development though, more details on the new factions, new vehicles and new weapons are expected on the run up to launch.
The game feels a lot more like Twisted Metal 2 than anything – which is obviously a good thing – and in all honesty, it makes perfect sense seeing a good portion of the Eat, Sleep, Play team worked at SingleTrac on the second installment. There weren’t any noticeable problems in the graphics department, although it was clear that it's an early build and textures and overall visuals are expected to improve... or at least we hope so. Our hands-on was fairly limited for the most part, what with just the one map and a small selection of cars to choose from, but as far as first looks go, it’s a solid debut.
Even from just a quick hands on with the title, it’s abundantly clear that the Twisted Metal online experience is a return to its roots and that will no doubt please fans of the series. This may be even more so after they hear that the franchise is back in the hands of David “I can’t do any wrong” Jaffe, despite him constantly saying otherwise – If I had a dollar for every time he said he wasn’t working on Twisted Metal, I’d be on my yacht somewhere! Incidentally, that’s something fans believed was lacking from the third and fourth installments and it seemed to be the case as his return to the franchise with TM: Black was met with critical acclaim. It must be his passion that shines through!
It’s still early days, but initial signs are positive, and this is coming from someone who hadn’t played Twisted Metal in a good five or six years. Being able to jump right in and net the first kill of the match is a testament to how easy to pick-up and play it is. It seems like Twisted Metal has been designed to feel familiar to the long time fans, but easy enough to pick up for a whole new generation. The best of both worlds some would argue.
Twisted Metal will be released on PS3 in 2011.