+ nice visuals, nothing cutting edge graphically but it runs real smoothly with a lot going on (and features a ton of destructible environments) the art style is really cool and varied not only in terms of vehicles, weapons, levels and special effects but also the live-action CG hybrid cutscenes which are super stylish and cool (a throwback to the original Twisted Metal game which used live action cutscenes at one time)
+ great gameplay that doesn't spoon feed you and isn't afraid to frustrate you and kill you. And trust me, that's a good thing, because it actually makes the moment when you finally succeed genuinely awesome and not just 'oh yay I beat the level' instead it's 'fuck yes I beat this fucking level!' and it's never in a bad way cause you always beat it because you figured out a new way, a new strategy. This isn't your typical Call of Duty type campaign mode like we see everywhere nowadays, holding your hand telling you exactly what to do -- this is like the good old days, the old school games where YOU actually had to figure out what to do, what works best, etc. and with that there is a TON of depth to this game, not only in terms of the vehicles and their specialties but the levels, tricks and more that you slowly uncover with more gametime (I'm still discovering new things). The multiplayer is very strong just as the single player is. The MP is unique from the single player but just as deep, rewarding and satisfying as well with the same great varied gameplay.
+ fantastic sound, some great sound effects whether it be the crunch of you running over a fleeing Santa Claus on the street, a weapon launching or your car blowing to pieces. There's a ton of nice touches sound wise here, for instance if you break through a building wall in the theme park themed level there's a fun house that when inside your in game music will be turned down and instead you'll hear some creepy funhouse-style music. On top of that though the actual soundtrack itself is phenomenal with a mix of licensed tracks that works surprisingly well (from the classic Twisted Metal staple of Rob Zombie to some new additions like Straight Outta Compton which as crazy as it sounds, really works) and for icing on the cake there's even an awesome newly composed theme song created for the game by members of Primus (hear it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TZi-GeQleeA) and if you stay tuned during the credits there's even MORE icing put on with a rap song made just for the game about the game
+ last but not least Style. This game has a ton of it with a whopping side of attitude. It's off the wall, it's edgy, it's crazy -- but what were you expecting, this is Twisted Metal. I mean you could probably spend a long time not even shooting another car and still have a blast in this game, whether it be destroying buildings, hitting jumps, drifting through the seats in a movie theatre as you watch them fly or perhaps running over every damn pedestrian in the level just because you like the blood splatter effect all over your screen (you sick bastard). This game is messed up and yes, just like the name implies, twisted -- and that's a big part of what makes it so unique and fun
- there are four vehicles that are way too similar to each other, they're just slightly varied versions of one another unfortunately instead of like the rest of the selection which is generally really unique from car to car
- the lock-on mechanic could've been tightened up a little more, it sometimes locks on to different enemies than the one you want because of the auto aim feature, not sure how they could've fixed it but it does get troublesome at times
- some of the writing and delivery of the dialog in the campaign feels a bit awkward
- a minor complaint but for some long time TM fans like myself it does feel a bit weird being able to play through Mr. Grimm's campaign in Sweet Tooth's Ice Cream Truck, etc.
- does take a little while to fully understand and get into especially for newcomers to the series (and even for existing fans of the series) but once you finally 'get it' you'll be flying high and won't want to put the controller down
- my only real complaint about the multiplayer is the maps, while they're all pretty well designed it's a bit unfortunate that most of them are just smaller sections of a large map and with that the map rotation can be a little confusing and weird in terms of knowing what exact map layout your going into (though I'm sure with time it'll become a little more clear). While large maps are cool, I would've preferred more unique/recognizable/iconic maps, even if they were smaller like in previous Twisted Metal games.
it's a really refreshing, frustrating game. And I mean that in a great way, it's finally a game that gives a challenge to the gamer like most games used to and because of that it's an incredibly satisfying game, perhaps the most satisfying experience I've had this entire generation. Finally beating a level that you just had your ass handed to you 15 times is just such a fantastic feeling because rarely if ever did you beat it because you were lucky, but because you learned, you improved and you executed.
The three campaigns are varied and fun and I really like how they livened the formula up with cage matches, races and the fantastic unique boss battles along side the usual battle royal mode. While it is a bit flawed the story overall is quite fun and very satisfying for any Twisted Metal fan. None of them are really that deep or sophisticated but they're all unique and hey, it's the 'wish granted' part we're all looking forward to anyway (well, aside from anything related to Sweet Tooth's story, I just ate all that up and was SO glad there was a barrage of congratulatory epilogue cutscenes after beating the game, a fantastic surprise).
Twisted Metal (PS3) is a great game. It's not a perfect game and it is a flawed game, but it's a game that will challenge you but never forget to reward you greatly for your efforts and because of that it just ends up being a whole lot of extremely chaotic, twisted fun. Welcome back Twisted Metal, it's been a long time coming and I sure as hell hope we see a sequel sometime soon on PS3 (god knows after those end credit teases I'm craving more)!
FINAL SCORE: 8/10