Twisted Metal's first glimpse on the PS2 was nothing short of greatness!
(-) Occasional control mis-halves, multiplayer is somewhat limited
All the Twisted Metal contestants this year are coming out from an insane asylum. You see a cinema of their disturbing stories and how they turned into what they became. Then you get immersed into the Twisted Metal world with a new Gothic overhaul!
The game play is just as simple and invigorating as anyone who played a Twisted Metal on the original Playstation remembers. You have a car and roam an environment destroying other cars to win the battle. First of all, you have your tournament mode which you pick a driver and battle in a series of death matches to advance. Through here you can unlock their story, which judging from these driver's experience in an insane asylum the story is very morbid and wicked, it's no wonder this game was rate M by the ESRB. Tournament mode is handled a little differently here, because each passing level you can actually choose between two arenas which one you would rather fight, and there isn't a boss after each fight like in Twisted Metal 3 and 4. You also have some other modes, like for single player you can go to Challenge, where you select cars and an arena and take part in a match. Something new about this game is the repeat function at the end of the death match, which almost always starts the match again in no time and it helped keep the game a constant thrilling experience. There is also an Endurance mode, where you fight a never ending succession of cars until your health runs out. The game also supports multiplayer of course, with cooperative tournament, single death match, and last man standing which is basically just several death matches with different characters. It is a loss that you can't just play a death match with two players and AI controlled opponents, and I also don't know why there are more maps to choose from than single player. But all and all, I've enjoyed the game by myself so much that it doesn't count for much.
You'll see most of the same drivers that you have seen in other games, but a lot of them have changed a bit. Sweet Tooth is the iconic driver of course, and his highly recognizable ice cream truck returns with a special of a million missiles brightly impacting on the enemy. Minion is also unlock-able later in the game, and although you'll recognize the mammoth tank easily when you see it his special attack has been changed significantly, to either a high power flamethrower or series of fire balls depending on his distance from the enemy. The maps are sometimes small, medium, large, and even massive, and full of interactive environmental elements that make a difference in the fight. My personal favorite is the junk yard, because it's just the right size for a chaotic demolition derby and it isn't hard to navigate through it. There are some maps, like I mentioned earlier, that are very massive and large in area, like the Suberbs which in multiplayer can be divided into two different levels. Then there are also small arenas, like the Snowy Roads, which you'll have to keep moving to survive a small space full of enemy cars. And some of the most disturbing music I have ever heard at that level, makes me want to crap my pants! But enough about that, it's easy to see that Incognito and Sony Computer Entertainment America were trying to deliver real life areas where we can drive in cars and put sweet carnage on familiar areas in our life, and they did a great job indeed.
The graphics are stunning in Twisted Metal Black. The environments are lit down into a sinister dark, with the weapon's explosions lighting up the screen to make them look even more spectacular. Though the game's default light setting can be too dark to be clearly visible on some televisions, it's good that the game also has a feature where you can adjust the brightness of the in game graphics. Each of the maps are richly detailed with texture among the walls and other surfaces, and as are the cars. The entire game also seems to feel faster than any of the previous games, the missiles and high speed driving all happens at a fast forward pace, and this is no worries because the game runs at 60 frames per second so the game's engine is more than capable to handling all the action. In a nutshell, this is without a doubt one of the best looking games the Playstation 2 has to offer.
The controls are a bit quick and sensitive but you can get used to them almost spot on. Because the entire game runs at a higher speed, you'll definitely need to increase your reflexes if you are more accustomed to previous Twisted Metal offerings. But the controls have changed very little since day one. Use your shoulder buttons R and L to switch through and use weapons, and your joy stick or control pad to move. You can also toggle between three different button layouts in the game's options menu. I've had some problems with the game not responding to my controller at times, making driving incredibly flimsy and awkward until I paused the game, then the connection with the controller was lost all together. But plugging the controller back in fixes the problem, and this only happens on several occasions and it just isn't enough to stop this terrific game from being a blast to play.
Twisted Metal Black is an awesome game, a very high upgrade from its predecessors and also one of the best PS2 games there is out there. A completely new look that fits snugly with the destruction Twisted Metal is known for, classic proven formula for exciting game play, terrific graphics, a wide variety of levels and drivers to choose from, there is very little in the way of making this one of the best options out there for any Playstation 2 owner. Just occasional control hang ups and limited multiplayer modes aren't enough to keep this game from getting a perfect ten, and it's no surprise that so many others feel the same way. The Playstation 2 has a very massive variety of games in its catalog, it's just a shame that many of them are merely decent and games as good as this don't come often nearly enough.