By this point, probably everyone knows that Rogue Trip is the spiritual successor to the Twisted Metal line of PlayStation auto-combat games. It was created by the developers of the original Twisted Metal and Twisted Metal 2: World Tour and even uses an optimized version of their old code. Meanwhile, Sony's 989 Studios (who ended up with rights to the series' name) is working on the third TM game, which no one has seen running yet at the time of this writing.
The name of the game is still driving and shooting, but this time there's more at work than just blowing up all the other vehicles. The story has you as an automercenary, hijacking tourists into the high-profile vacation spots of the future and showing them the sights. There's only one tourist per level and everyone vies for him. Thus, conflict arises. If you can pick the tourist up and get him to the designated photo spots, you'll get cash to buy health, weapon power-ups, and extra lives. Taking a page from SingleTrac's last game, Critical Depth, there are weapons that cause other vehicles to eject their tourist. They're fairly scarce though, which leads to tons of wacky situations where you're trying to ram or blast an enemy away from a photo-op spot, while screaming, "No! No! No!"
The graphics are improved over Twisted Metal 2, and the levels now have varied hilly terrain (which takes almost as much as it gives, since this feature makes it hard to see around in the split-screen multiplayer modes), unlike TM2, which was pretty flat. The bosses are nowhere near as terrifying, and save for the final one, seem almost like any other standard opponent. There's some other crucial element missing as well, and perhaps it's that the look, feel, and character design of the TM series is so incredibly iconic, that anything that copies it comes off like an imperfect Bizarro-style duplicate.
But what the game Rogue Trip should truly be compared to is the current holder of the auto-combat crown, Activision's Vigilante 8. While Rogue Trip has far more levels and is much tougher, V8 nudges the title out in the categories of graphics (it's almost a toss-up here), level design, and gameplay. Vigilante 8 still feels pretty fresh, while RT is a reworked theme.
That said, there's still a lot of fun to be had here, and fans of any driving shooter will enjoy it, but those expecting as big of a leap as we saw from Twisted Metal to Twisted Metal 2 are going to feel Rogue Trip falls somewhat short.