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Sony’s oldest exclusive franchise is back, with a reboot, but how does a game based around vehicle combat, an almost non-existent genre today, hold up?

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Twisted Metal factbox

Developer: East Sleep Play

Publisher: Sony

Format: PS3

Verdict: 8 out of 10 - A must buy for fans of the series and good enough for anyone else to give it a try.

Well, the good news is Twisted Metal has made a triumphant return and certainly does deliver the fast, frantic mayhem fans would expect.

Twisted Metal is a car combat game with destructible environments, a large variety of weapons and vehicles with special weapons. The game covers these areas well and essentially if that description has piqued your interest you will most likely enjoy the game.

At first glance Twisted Metal appears to be a game of simply driving around and shooting everything, but it soon dawns upon you that this game is difficult and will certainly take a long time to master.

Veterans of the series will most likely slip straight into the action without a second thought.

Newcomers will want to take an immediate detour to the tutorial to learn the controls. Even the tutorial may seem somewhat frustrating until you change the controls to the racer layout, which is more reminiscent of current gen games.

The use of the Six Axis motion in the control scheme and multiple button presses required for certain actions, make controls cumbersome at times. There is an in-game hints and tips section that advises you on how to utilise vehicles to their maximum potential, which is a helpful addition and helps ease you into the game.

The original Twisted Metal came out in 1995 and we haven’t seen a release on home consoles since 2005. So, many people may have forgotten about Sweet Tooth and his fellow Twisted Metal competitors. However, most characters have been dropped from the series. Fortunately they have left the keys to their cars, and any character can drive any car now.

This reboot develops the characters further using a mix of live action movies and narration during the game’s story mode.

The premise of the game is contestants are granted a wish for winning a competition. The character stories are macabre and reminiscent of old horror movies.

In the EU version of the game one of the scenes has been cut short by a few seconds, removing the blood spray from a character being stabbed in the eye. These scenes are long and thankfully can be skipped to get you back into the action as soon as possible, but a lot of effort has gone into them and the story so are worth watching at least once.

Story mode has a steep difficulty curve even on the lowest difficulty setting, which some will find frustrating.

It can be made easier by teaming up with a friend for split-screen co-op, which works well and is a great addition.

Players can unlock rewards as they progress through story mode, for use in later levels.

In story mode, there is a variety of deathmatches, races, and boss fights, but the main focus of the game is the multiplayer mode.

Multiplayer supports split-screen online, and as you can sign into your PSN account, both players can record their stat progression.

Playing against competitors online makes the game even more challenging and entertaining. There are a host of free-for-all and team modes, ranging from simple deathmatches to more objective-based gameplay involving protecting and attacking targets.

A few criticisms for the online mode are that you need to unlock vehicles and weapons separately. This means that when playing online, newcomers will have a disadvantage as experienced players will not only be better at the game, but will also have better weapons and vehicles. This can be fairly daunting; but fortunately it is possible to level up playing the team modes so there is at least a solution to this problem.

Another problem occurs when trying to join an in-progress online game, which often leads to a connection error, so it is best to find a room where the game has yet to start.

There are also options to play this game via LAN or up to four-players split-screen, which are rare features today, but are great additions to a game of this type and means that even without online you can still have multiplayer fun.

Overall, any long-term fans of the series will enjoy this game and can even purchase special editions of the game that includes an exclusive port of the PS2 classic Twisted Metal: Black.

For everyone else, if you have been looking for a car combat game, this is the only noteworthy game in the genre.

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