That long rumored Twisted Metal revival from Eat Sleep Play is real and Sony had the multiplayer portion of the game playable at its E3 booth, a vehicular combat game that might offend your sensibilities, but not for its gameplay.
While playing Twisted Metal—that's the final and straightforward title of the new PS3 game—I ran over dozens of innocent bystanders with my ambulance, aka the Meat Wagon, and launched hospital patients strapped to gurneys, bombs strapped to their chests, at my foes.
It's been a while since my last Twisted Metal experience, way back to Twisted Metal Black for the PlayStation 2, so coming to grips with the game's driving and killing controls took a few moments to get used to. But the new game, in which players control factions lead by Twisted Metal mainstays like the insane clown Sweet Tooth and the porcelain faced Dollface, instantly feels familiar.
Twisted Metal for the PlayStation 3 has many of the mechanics from previous entries, with special weapons like lock-on missiles and shotgun blasts scattered around each map. My favorite is the hellfire-like missile that paints a splash damage target on the battlefield just after launch and lets the player choose the moment of impact.
In the Meat Wagon, which I spent much of my time with, the aforementioned exploding gurneys it could launch were capable of being fired in a straight line or, after firing, could be manually steered by pressing the triangle button.
Plus, there are flaming chainsaws. So... there's that.
Twisted Metal for the PS3 adds aerial units to the series, starting with the attack helicopter known as the Talon. Players can either control it from third person, flying around the map to attack. Or they can sit in the gunner's seat, manning a mini-gun. Players on the ground won't be left defenseless against their aerial foes—lock on missile work great in taking them down.
The PlayStation 3 entry also adds healing vehicles. These massive trucks roam around roadways and offer a chance to repair your vehicle, should you have the skill and patience to drive up the ramps they're towing.
The controls in Twisted Metal are very arcadey, with the accelerator mapped to the DualShock's square button—tap it twice for a boost—and a brake on the X button, capable of making some very sharp turns. Special abilities like force fields are mapped to the PS3 controller's cross pad.
Twisted Metal at E3 was all multiplayer, a live session between players on the floor. As we took down foes, experience points popped up onscreen, showing how the game's persistent online progression will work. According to Eat Sleep Play reps, we should expect a leveling system and the standard perks, a la Modern Warfare, in Twisted Metal.
Eat Sleep Play reps said they weren't ready to address the game's single-player mode, so keep an eye out for that. Don't, however, expect to play the game in 3D, like many other PlayStation 3 games. Eat Sleep Play says it's not happening right now.
Twisted Metal feels like both a modernization for the series and a return to form, delivering the chaos, brutality and great multiplayer gameplay the series is known for.
The PlayStation 3 Twisted Metal is planned for a 2011 release.