A majestic idiot of a game.
* Some of the arenas are huge
* Frantic action
* Explosions! Fire! Boom!
* Control assignment choices are peculiar
* Not really a free-for-all
* Inconsistent vehicle physics
* A few of the weapons are completely useless
This is likely to be one of my less lengthy reviews due to there not being much to say about 'Twisted Metal: Black'.
It's not for a particularly bad reason, more that there really isn't much to the game. It's a vehicular combat game, you drive around and you shoot the others until you're the only one left.
Turn on, have a go and you've seen basically the whole game.
But this covers both sides of the coin. Not only are TM:B's limitations a flaw, they're also a blessing as you don't get mired under the padding of story or circumstance.
It's far from perfect though, the more you play, the more flaws come to light. It has something called "Story Mode", but it's far from it. There are a smattering of cut-scenes but they don't tell any story and they have no impact on what you're doing. There are no missions or special goal, it's just each arena one after the other: The objective being kill everyone else.
It gives the impression of a free-for-all but it's not, it's you against everyone else. The other cars only occasionally attack each other, you often encounter them in groups which makes you think you're stumbling into someone else's fight, but actually they're just circling waiting for the player to arrive.
Typically being vehicular deathmatch you have to keep moving, you don't last very long if you stay still. Eventually you find yourself screaming around at top speed, buzzing past your foes and hoping you don't get hit.
The two 'boss' fights promote this 'buzz and fire' approach, which does become tiresome. And the bosses are the same no matter which character you've chosen.
Then there are issues with the vehicles you control.
For a game that prides itself on lack of realism some of the vehicles take a frustratingly long time to get moving and once they are the physics and reactions are inconsistent. Sometimes you'll lose all grip for no reason whatsoever, this can result in you slamming sideways into the scenery and getting jammed for a few seconds. The bigger vehicles don't have the mass that you'd expect of them, so headbutting something with a truck is no different to the same manoeuvre with a car. All of the vehicles suffer from the sensation that they appear to be hovering above the ground, and you can stop almost instantly.
It's not even easy to get into. If you're just starting or coming back to it after having not played for a while, you'll get your butt kicked. It takes practice to learn the best techniques for staying alive.
There is a lot to grow weary of, and yet you keep playing. Once you've wrapped your head around the strange control-scheme (there are choices, but an individual button configurer is sadly missing), you find yourself loving the whole experience.
The flaws become quirks and you learn to live with them (though the low-speed manoeuvrability is a constant annoyance when trying to mount a repair station).
"Twisted Metal: Black" doesn't do much, but what it does it does so well that you always have a blast playing.