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Twisted Metal Review

  • First Released Feb 14, 2012
  • Reviewed Feb 15, 2012
  • PS3

Twisted Metal's lightning-fast vehicular combat and large-scale destruction are gleeful, pulse-pounding fun.

Once upon a time, a man named Calypso regularly held a tournament. It was a grisly contest of vehicular carnage in which entire cities were razed as the competitors destroyed everyone and everything around them in their mad quest for victory. But for many years now, the screams have gone silent. It has been over a decade since Calypso's tournament made its last full-fledged appearance on consoles. At long last, Twisted Metal is back, and this latest entry recaptures the large-scale destructive fun of the series' best games. As long as you're open to this particular brand of old-fashioned, fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants insanity, you're sure to enjoy the beautiful chaos of Twisted Metal.

Just as the guns are central to the quality of any shooter, the vehicles are central to the quality of any vehicular combat game, and Twisted Metal's assortment of deadly machines on wheels is fantastic. Speed and maneuverability are available in sports cars like Kamikaze and the wildly fast Crimson Fury. If you're more concerned with durability, you might opt for the police SUV Outlaw, or the big rig known as Darkside. Classic Twisted Metal vehicles like Mr. Grimm's motorcycle (called Reaper here) and the ice cream truck Sweet Tooth are joined by a few new ones. The most notable new entry is Talon, a helicopter whose fragility is offset by its airborne freedom and its devastating ability to lift enemies into the air and then drop them to the ground.

Whether you choose the nimblest vehicle or the most lumbering, sharp controls make maneuvering around the battlefield intuitive and enjoyable. You can spin any vehicle into a tight turn, even in place, which isn't the least bit realistic, but sure is fun. It's also necessary for responding on the fly to the myriad dangers your opponents constantly hurl in your direction. Speeding around the vast maps is also exciting because there's so much to discover and so much of it is destructible.The peaceful hamlet of Sunsprings, California, will never be the same after you roll over its houses, crash through its supermarket, submerge your vehicle in a mansion's swimming pool, and battle on the roof of the local movie theater. In Metro Square, inspired by Times Square and its surroundings, you can cruise through subway tunnels, slide around on an ice-skating rink, and leave the displays at the natural history museum in heaps of rubble. It all looks great, and the soundtrack, which includes famous tracks by Rob Zombie and cheesy tunes by Sammy Hagar, is ideal accompaniment for the destruction, though you can replace it with your own soundtrack if you prefer.

The scale and the various interlocking pathways of the maps generate tactical possibilities and tension; it's thrilling to see an opponent speeding down an overpass above you in Diesel City and then gun it up an on-ramp in pursuit. And some maps introduce new dangers. Black Rock Stadium is designed to be deadly, with huge spiky balls, arcs of electricity, pools of lava, and other hazards all attempting to impinge on your survival. And on the rooftops of the LA Skyline map, you must balance aggression with caution, or risk careening off the edge to a damaging impact with the streets below.

Tailgaters are the worst.
Tailgaters are the worst.

Your objective in Twisted Metal varies depending on the game type, but more often than not, it involves turning the other vehicles into flaming husks. Each vehicle has a special weapon that regenerates over time, as well as a standard sidearm (such as unlimited mounted machine guns) and other abilities, like a blast that temporarily freezes enemies in place. Additionally, a great variety of weapons are strewn about the battlefield, so you're given a reason to scramble about the arenas, hunting for tools of destruction.

Some weapons, like homing missiles, you can fire and forget. Other weapons, like power missiles, can do significantly more damage, but require a straight, clear shot, and finding that isn't easy in the heat of battle. With a shotgun, you just need to get in close and pull the trigger, but napalm requires a well-timed button press to bring it raining down on an enemy. You can carry several types of weapons at once, and making the most of your arsenal means switching on the fly to the most effective weapon for the situation you find yourself in at that instant.

On the surface, Twisted Metal may look like absolute chaos, with vehicles ramming into each other and explosions happening all over the place. But in fact there's a great deal to consider at any given moment, and once you get used to taking it all in, the stimulating mix of making effective use of your weapons, racing to snag health pickups, and ramming into your opponents at speed becomes an exhilarating, cacophonous dance of metal and fire. All of this may sound very familiar, and it's true that Twisted Metal doesn't fiddle with the fundamentals that have made the series so exciting in the past. But that is no bad thing; on the contrary, this kind of vehicular combat has been absent from the console landscape for so long that its return is more than welcome.

A round of Twisted Metal probably wasn't the kind of amusement the designers of Thrills N' Spills Park had in mind.
A round of Twisted Metal probably wasn't the kind of amusement the designers of Thrills N' Spills Park had in mind.

But what about the participants? What would drive people to risk everything and test their mettle in this deadly tournament? If you've played previous Twisted Metal games, you know that Calypso promises the victor the fulfillment of a wish. You also know that Calypso typically makes good on his promise, but rarely in the way the winner envisioned. It has always been morbidly entertaining to see just what Calypso has in store for the victors, and in this latest Twisted Metal, it still is. But whereas earlier games featured a different story for each vehicle's driver, here, the single-player story has you playing as just three contestants: Sweet Tooth, Mr. Grimm, and Dollface.

In another departure, the unbreakable link between driver and vehicle is gone. No longer does Sweet Tooth drive only the ice cream truck, or Dollface drive only Darkside; you can drive any available vehicle as whichever driver the story is currently focused on. This means you're never stuck driving a vehicle you don't like, but for Twisted Metal veterans, using Outlaw while advancing through Sweet Tooth's story might feel a bit like playing as Guile while progressing toward Ryu's ending in Street Fighter II.

That odd disconnect between vehicle and driver aside, the live-action cutscenes are grisly, grindhouse-style fun, and Calypso's in top form when it comes to fulfilling wishes in wonderfully twisted ways. The three endings make a fine reward for your hard-earned victories over the Story mode's impressive bosses, though the feeling of triumph these battles leave you with is a reward in itself. Each of them puts you in the shoes of David against a relative Goliath (or two), whether you're battling a pair of massive monster trucks, a huge flying robot, or the staggeringly large vehicle that you face in the final confrontation. These battles have multiple stages, and though the game doesn't skimp on the difficulty, it's kind enough to let you pick up at whatever stage you reached when you died, so it never feels punishing. One particular stage of the second boss battle may still have you tearing your hair out in frustration, but for the most part, these face-offs are tough but fair, and they leave you feeling like a champion when you emerge victorious.

The Story mode also includes some challenging variations on the standard deathmatch scenario. In a few stages, there are trucks called Juggernauts cruising the field and spawning new enemies every few minutes, which puts the pressure on to hunt down and take out the Juggernauts as quickly as possible. A much more drastic departure from typical Twisted Metal action comes in the Story mode's few checkpoint races. Speed takes priority over firepower here, and the game's fastest cars are fun to put through their paces, making wildly tight turns and accelerating like a bat out of hell as you rocket toward the finish line. One of these races involves making some tricky jumps among the rooftops of Diesel City, where one mistake means you fall to the ground with no hope of catching up and may as well start over. It's frustrating, to be sure, but it's also thrilling to finally nail those jumps and snatch victory from one of your opponents in the final milliseconds.

You can put a personal touch on your favorite vehicles in the paint shop.
You can put a personal touch on your favorite vehicles in the paint shop.

The Story mode can be tackled by two players via split-screen, just like in the good old days of the franchise. Sharing the struggle and coordinating tactics with a teammate is great fun, but disappointingly, there's no option to play the campaign cooperatively online. Outside of the Story mode, four players can play split-screen Death Match and other competitive modes. But it's in the large-scale online multiplayer battles that Twisted Metal really shines. In a 16-player Death Match, the action is far more raucous and unpredictable than when playing against AI. This is at least partially because AI opponents never really try to kill each other; they're all out to get you. In the free-for-all of human competition, players are smart enough to make full use of the map, clustering together in hostile frays when it's advantageous and retreating when health is low.

In addition to Death Match and Team Death Match, there's Last Man Standing and a team variant, and Hunted and Team Hunted, in which everyone's out to kill a designated player, and killing that player makes you the next target. Finally, there's Nuke, a team-based mode in which teams take turns playing offense and defense. On offense, your goal is to capture an enemy chieftain and speed him or her to a missile launcher, where the chieftain is sacrificed and you guide a missile into the other team's statue. On defense, your goal (of course) is to prevent this from happening. It's a thrill to speed across town with a chieftain in tow, enemy vehicles hot on your heels, and guiding a missile into the heart of an enemy statue is an explosive and satisfying way to help your team. In all of these modes, the human element gives battles a dynamic energy that's thrilling from moment to moment.

Stay on target! Stay on target!
Stay on target! Stay on target!

Unfortunately, at this point, getting into those online battles isn't nearly as smooth and hassle-free as it should be. Connection errors are common when attempting to join games, and other quirks crop up frequently. For instance, you might select Team Games (which specifically refers to Team Death Match, Last Man Standing, and Hunted) under the Quick Online Action option, and find yourself dropped into a game of Nuke, which has its own separate category. Hopefully these kinks will be ironed out quickly, because the underlying online experience is immensely enjoyable.

Certain franchises go overboard, producing sequels so frequently that you don't have time to miss them before the next installment is upon you, like a houseguest whose company you enjoy but who overstays his welcome. With Twisted Metal, the effect is the opposite. This brand of vehicular combat is every bit as thrilling today as it ever was, and you may be left wondering why it stayed away for so long. But what really matters is that it's back now, and it is great; Calypso hasn't forgotten how to throw one hell of a competition.

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The Good
Vast, complex, largely destructible environments
Diverse assortment of weapons calls for on-the-fly tactical smarts
Responsive controls let you react to constantly evolving dangers
Campaign has great cutscenes and memorable boss battles
Online competition is fast and thrilling
The Bad
Odd narrative disconnect between vehicles and drivers
Online connectivity issues and other quirks
About GameSpot's Reviews
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Avatar image for downcore

I'm in love with TM since 98, this game is awesome can't wait for PS4 release

Avatar image for djclintonk

This game is just horrific! There's no easy setting. The controls are too complex, there's too much carnage, it's like being thrown in a blender, you can't see what's going on or who is hitting you. It's just a mess. I'd rather to Angel Dust and play in a freeway.

Avatar image for Custaf1ux

I took a little while to learn the crazy controls, at high speed, but I love it. With so many round types, challenges, and vehicle choices, the stringing together of cut scenes for three characters in story mode seems to be a very unnecessary thing to bitch about.

Avatar image for thechad2k8

as someone who doesnt play online much, I have to say how disappointed I was with this game. I bought and enjoyed every other twisted metal game, replaying them over and over to get each characters ending. This one, you get 1 story with 3 characters..and thats it. No replay value at all. (again from someone who doesnt play online) The "any driver uses any car" thing is stupid as well. Very disappointed. If theres a sequel, I hope that the story mode isnt forced and you can replay it to see an ending for each driver. One positive- it looked great! After being disgusted with the story and trying to play twisted metal black again, the graphics of the new one made black hard to play.

Avatar image for Mister_Tucakov


Yes i agree with you totaly. I'am old school Twisted Metal player, and i have bought this game to play with my brother in co-op, like we did back in older TMs (2,3,4), both of us just loved to play again and again, on harder difticulty, and so on.. Then this one commed out, we tought it will be like good old days, and then... 30 Euros for 2X co-op story, little single endurance, little slpitscreen deathmach and that's it, around 7 days... (to expensive, my opinion) Twisted Metal was turnament, and should have stayed like that, new one is good, but it lacks turnament mod to play with all vehicles again, and again...

Avatar image for BowserShakur

The game is so much fun especially in co-op. I just wish the vehicles had balanced stats, as I find myself using the same 2-3 due to their superiority. Also, the story mode should have had more characters.

Avatar image for robj219

love this game even if the controls are too messed up for a year like this

Avatar image for Makc2

<< LINK REMOVED >> Controls are too messed up? If the controls were any different, the game would have the wrong feel. The controls emphasize the balance you need to fight effectively, and without that, it wouldn't feel like Twisted Metal.

Avatar image for Hitasp

The game is so strict, especially on the fight with "Sweet tooth boss" in the final chapter of Story mode, the game force player to use from Talon. It's not so good.

Avatar image for Demonjoe93

Anyone got any news on when Axel is gonna be given to everyone?

Avatar image for hkymike

I just got this game and I am addicted!

Avatar image for OB-47

Everyone please get this game. I can confirm the online freakin awesome. Nuke mode is my highlight of this year

Avatar image for str8_baller

shame no demo :(

Avatar image for manhunted

yep..... preorder comin up...............

Avatar image for Dogeatr00

Twisted Metal is the reason why I got a PSX. Twisted Metal 2 is why I kept my PSX.

Avatar image for chyng85

It looks very nice~

Avatar image for bostadskontrakt

I'm getting it too

Avatar image for asapp7

This game is so much fun. Love Sauce

Avatar image for Hernilious

I remember being able to beat Twisted Metal:Black's campaign in under 2 hours. BAHAHA.

Avatar image for icetone

im getting it

Avatar image for diddyblogger

Twisted Metal was once the greatest game I've played and still is!

Avatar image for ShadowofSonic

I need to try this game out.

Avatar image for SirNormanislost

Roll on march 7th!!

Avatar image for Jimbowesker

I've gotten mixed reactions to the game but as always I will stick to and trust Gamespots word and try it out!! And plus I've never been able to let a Twisted Metal game pass me up.

Avatar image for carolynmichelle

@Attila2984 If you mean can two players play the story mode cooperatively online, the answer is no. If you mean, can two players on one console go online together for competitive multiplayer, the answer is yes. If that doesn't answer your question, let me know and I'll try to answer it. :)

Avatar image for Toonzbery

8 means great

Avatar image for Attila2984

does anybody know if this is 2 player online?

Avatar image for GrayFoxJJ

I love TM, always have. But those g0d@mn racing matches suck in single player. They have NOOOOOO place in a game like this. I bought twisted metal to blow sh1t up, not tediously race around looking for checkpoints that do not even apear clearly on maps. Poor show ESP, poor show indeed.

Avatar image for Demonjoe93

This review doesn't sound like an 8, it reads like Carolyn wanted to give it a 9 or at least an 8.5. Well I'm happy this game is back either way. I'm sure the connection issues will be fixed very soon like they are in most games.

Avatar image for ofakar

Heh I guess 8 is the new 9

Avatar image for TERMINATOR-SSD

does anyone know If i import the US version, will the Online Pass work on the UK account, are online servers open to all, thanks ???

Avatar image for ScaredySquirrel

I don't know, seems pretty generous to me. I've only played the demo but that just left me feeling so unimpressed that I've decided to wait. Perhaps I'll pick up a used copy later and just pay for the online pass.

Avatar image for the22for4

That does not mean u give it 8 :P

Avatar image for Blackened_Halo

I loved playing Twisted Metal World Tour 2 on PS1 !! :)) According to me, 2nd part is the best one in the whole series.

Avatar image for cameio

WOOW good score i will buy it soon after i get the Vita :D

Avatar image for Iloveconnie

Despite the fact that he did a good review... Kevin Vanord is the best reviewer on the site. He's my "Review Hero" as it were.

Avatar image for LedGamer

I was kind of iffy on this game, and was thinking I would probably rent it. But after reading this I'm defiantly going out and buying this. Now I just hope it lives up up to it, because it sounds f******* awesome.

Avatar image for daveg1

best online i think once they get the hitches sorted.

Avatar image for wiserat4

@carolynmichelle Before I even knew who wrote this review, I was thoroughly impressed with what I was reading because it was truly informative and not biased or fanboyish. Then when I got to the end of the article and saw that it was critiqued by none other than Carolyn Petit, I couldn't help but smile. You are the best critic on this site in my opinion. Great Job.

Avatar image for Zephol

Nice comeback

Avatar image for soulless4now

I definitely want this one. I've never got a chance to play Twisted Metal back in the day.

Avatar image for lozvil

I'll wait for price drop...

Avatar image for Gelugon_baat

@Voice_of_Wisdom [quote="You"]wow! gamespot has got really harsh with the scores nowadays.[/quote]

GameSpot has always been this harsh - .

Avatar image for wolfbm

I love how most people anymore see an 8.0 and figure it's trash. To me the only time i'll second guess a game is when it hits like a 6.0.

Avatar image for PeaceMakerUSA

Now that they came out with Twisted Metal, some publisher should spring for a Road Rash title. I've been waiting for Road Rash to come out with a new generation game since Jailbreak on PSOne. I wish they would. I would be excited to see what that would look like.

Avatar image for earlmccormick88

Does the Twisted Metal Black has online?

Avatar image for popeyfolger

seems to me like a 40 dollar game loved the old ones.... Well 1, 2 and black anyway but something tells me 60 dollars is just to much

Avatar image for timthegem

Pleeease let Road Rash be the next comeback series. Dealer one time!

Avatar image for carolynmichelle

@valdips3 I think the single-player took me around 10 hours to complete, though it boils down to how many times you need to try certain boss fights and other challenges--a really good player could probably speed through it much faster. There's also incentive to replay levels and earn medals or to play on higher difficulty levels, both of which unlock new vehicles and/or weapons for you to use.

Avatar image for deactivated-5bd5f75a46b67

The core mission, on normal, takes 12-16 hours (depending on how picky you are at tackling the trophies). Since it comes with a free copy of Black on the online pass is specific to each copy (get it used, you gotta buy a pass), there is motivation to get an early copy. As far as the cars belonging to each character goes, it'd be nice to just have a core set of vehicles, plus an exclusive for each character. For instance - Vermin, Talon, and plenty of others could always be available. Make it so only Sweet Tooth can drive his truck, but can use other vehicles when he wants...just not Darkside's semi or Grimm's motorcycle...although he does look great with that chainsaw!

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Twisted Metal (2012) More Info

  • First Released Feb 14, 2012
    • PlayStation 3
    Twisted Metal is back on the PlayStation 3, and you will step into the combat boots of a twisted disciple in a high- octane and highly destructible world.
    Average Rating639 Rating(s)
    Please Sign In to rate Twisted Metal (2012)
    Developed by:
    Eat Sleep Play
    Published by:
    SCEE, SCEA, SCE Australia, SCEI
    Content is generally suitable for ages 17 and up. May contain intense violence, blood and gore, sexual content and/or strong language.
    Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Strong Language