The PS2 was the home for all kinds of games. I remember walking down the video game aisle and seeing lots of games branded as PS2 Greatest Hits back in that era. There were a lot of games that I hadn't heard of and I wanted to give them a try. I recall that the Twisted Metal Black cover looked like something interesting, but I had never given it a chance. When I did, I found a legendary game.
The setting was dark. The characters were insane. The controls were easy to learn and a pleasure to master. You got into a stage with your car hoping you would survive the madness. I now know that there were a lot of Twisted Metals for the PS1, but back then I was a Squaresoft fanboy so I never really noticed them.
I got excited when a new entry of the series was announced for the PS3, but being tied to a budget I didn't buy the game when it came out. I read its reviews with mixed feelings that left a bitter taste in my tongue and then I forgot about it. I could blame DotA 2 for that. Now that it is in the free game line up for PS+ suscribers I decided to give it a chance.
The first thing I noticed is that you don't decide which character you play with in the story mode. You start with Sweet Tooth and you have to play as him until you get his ending. I began to understand why people was so pissed-off back when it was released. Gone were the 12 playable characters we had in Twisted Metal Black and now you're left with only 3: Sweet Tooth, Mr. Grimm and Dollface. And you have to play the story mode in that specific order.
Now you choose what car you want to use to get into the carnage. You can have Sweet Tooth driving any vehicle available and choose up to three to have them switched during most levels. My first thought was, why did they chage it so much? but when I got to play that first level it took me back 10 years to that couch I used to share with my brother. It really felt like Twisted Metal. Driving is basically the same, so are most of the weapons. The stages look much prettier than what we had in the PS2. The music is excellent and the action gets your heart pumping. It is a joy to play, until you get to the racing stages.
They got Mario Kart in my Twisted Metal. The racing stages have you competing against your rivals in a deathmatch in which the only survivor is the race winner. The game transforms from a free-for-all destruction derby to a Mario Kart race where you shoot at your enemies and hope you somehow reach the first place. This changes the pacing of the game quite a lot. You'll be choosing a fast car and learning the routes before you can hope to get to the next level. It took me quite a few tries to win the last race. These stages tend to be frustrating, but when you finally win you get that feeling of accomplishment you get from defeating Dark Souls bosses.
To me the lowest points of the game are the boss fights. I don't want to spoil much, but the boss stages can last close to 30 minutes to beat. They are very creative, but they are also too long. One of them has you piloting a helicopter and it felt like it would never end. Even when you found the boss' Zelda-style weakness, it still took forever to destroy it.
When I was finally done with the story I went online to get some multiplayer action. It took about 5 minutes of waiting to get a game going, but once the lobby was set I played with the same guys with no more waiting for a few more rounds. Needless to say I did very poorly and the scoring system is not very clear when you start your matches. I think it's a great time for veterans to get back to the game and kill a lot of newbies like me.
If you haven't given it a try, I'd recommend you do. There are not many games like this one and I don't think we'll have a sequel anytime soon.