Let's twist again
At first glance, Twisted Metal's shocking pyrotechnics, gruesome characters and bombastic action may seem chaotic and random; the sort of action game where genuine skill on the gamepad takes a back seat to quick reactions, luck and the patience to mercilessly pound the fire button. However, spend a little time with this exhilarating return for Sonys premier car combat game and you'll discover a deep and rewarding blaster lurking behind the fireworks.
Eccentric weapons such as chainguns, sniper rifles and a hearse that fires explosive coffins all bring unexpected strategy to the pandemonium, challenging you to switch between guns on the fly to unleash the most efficient attacks, and balance the risks involved when using the most powerful firearms that are slower and trickier to master, but can prove deadly if you can dodge the bullets and missiles criss-crossing the air around you. As well as offering a imaginative playground for carnage, the sprawling game worlds also present tactical possibilities for those who stray from the beaten path to discover deadly vantage points where you can ambush opponents, an aspect of Twisted Metal thats best appreciated during the exquisite mayhem of an online multiplayer game where up to 16 drivers can battle it out using ice cream vans, SUVs and helicopters.
Sadly, while using the weapons become a joy after a few hours, your first experiences of selecting targets will be fraught with frustration as the fickle automatic lock-on constantly picks the wrong target, often leaving your motor exposed and open to attack. The poor balancing of the vehicles which sees faster rides at a huge disadvantage to their slower, more powerful rivals is also disappointing and makes certain cars a chore to use, while the ridiculous, grindhouse-style movies that punctuate the single-player game soon become grating as theyre riddled with bad writing, stupid jokes and gaping holes in the plot.
But Twisted Metal shouldnt be looked to for well-rounded characters or gaming finesse; its all about blowing the shit out of everything that moves using the most outrageous weapons you can get your hands on, and in the thrilling multiplayer mode this frenzied blaster does its job beautifully.