PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale (2012)


Sony’s Super Smash Brawl All-Stars Royale with Cheese.

PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale (2012)When I learned of the existence of today’s game, I scoffed.  I had no interest in playing this game.  Well, that’s not necessarily true.  I actually have had interest in playing this game many times before, and I’ve enjoyed playing.  Problematically, I enjoyed playing these games when they were called Super Smash Brothers.  But this time PlayStation was doing it.  I still only decided to play this game because I have a somewhat underused Vita and my roommate gave me a code that would get me this game for free.  Consider yourself endorsed, PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale, developed by SuperBot Entertainment and SCE Santa Monica Studio, published by Sony Computer Entertainment, and including the voices of Eric Ladin, Sean Pertwee, Tim Phillipps, Khary Payton, Tara Strong, Unshô Ishizuka, Josh Keaton, Max Casella, Sanae Kobayashi, Terrence ‘T.C.’ Carson, Jennifer Hale, Nolan North, Dred Foxx, Quinton Flynn, James Arnold Taylor, David Kaye, Stephen Fry, Stephane Cornicard, Kevin Miller, Marc Silk, J.S. Gilbert, and, of course, Mario.  No one is going to read through all those names to see that one joke.

…story…Hmmm…  Well, a while ago, a company made a game called Super Smash Brothers because they had been around long enough and had enough iconic, exclusive characters that a game could justify it.  Years later, another accomplished company took their few iconic exclusives, added some exclusives no one gives a shit about, and acted like another character or two were exclusive, and pretty much jacked Smash Brothers blatantly.  And you use those characters to reach the end and beat a disembodied head to make your character glow blue in his epilogue.

You will find that the biggest problem I had with this game is that it is Smash Brothers.  It is so blatantly and unforgivingly Smash Brothers.  I feel like I will use the word Nintendo in this review more than I will the word Sony.  I felt like the credit sequence was so painfully long because they also had to thank everyone involved in Super Smash Brothers.  It lasts like a half hour!  I could bust through the story in less time than I could the credits.  And to refer to what it had as a “story” is true exaggeration.  Every character, no matter how different, hears that something is happening where characters from different worlds are collecting.  They go, they fight, they have a brief, one-stage-long rivalry with a character, and then they fight a disembodied head.  Winning gives them some sort of power that makes them glow blue, in the still-frame ending movie, and then a half hour of credits.  And the final boss was so disappointing to me.  The disembodied head has nothing to do with any Sony product I’ve ever experienced.  It DOES have something in common with a certain Nintendo product that ends with a pair of disembodied hands and polygonal, colorless versions of the other characters in the game.  I will eventually remember the name of that game.  But I believe Sony missed a huge opportunity to make the final boss Kevin Butler.  That would have been fucking perfect!  …SMASH BROTHERS!  That was it.

I was vaguely surprised to see that Sony had actually pulled off a fairly strong set of characters for their Smash Brothers rip off, but they cannot justify it nearly as well as Nintendo could.  Kratos, Nathan Drake, Cole MacGrath, Sweet Tooth, someone from Killzone, Big Daddy and Dante (neither of which are Sony exclusive, by the way.  And didn’t Bioshock originally come out as an Xbox exclusive?), Jak and Daxter, Ratchet and Clank, PaRappa and Nariko (why does anyone remember these two?), Raiden (the least favorite of all Metal Gear characters, since Nintendo already had the most popular), Sackboy, Sly Cooper, Sir Daniel Whogivesafuck and Toro Whatthehell from Huh? for Red October.  I lost focus near the end.  I started wondering if Xbox could pull this off.  My research pulled up Marcus Fenix, Master Chief, Blinx, Alan Wake, Joanna Dark, the Viva Piñata characters, the dude from Condemned (which admittedly might be a little dark for a Smash Brothers rip off), and no, they can’t pull off this kind of game.  Of course, they might be able to pull it off if they add in characters that are not exclusive to Sony (such as Big Daddy and Dante) or if they actually had the audacity to make Cole into 2 different characters, justified by being a good and an evil version of the same character.  Hell, I guess Microsoft could pull of this kind of game.  There are like 10 different Carmines in Gears of War, and they could always have Master Chief and crestfallen Master Chief.  And, strangely, the characters I enjoyed playing as most were the ones I didn’t know or didn’t give a shit about.  I liked Sir Daniel from the game I can’t even name because I gave all of my shits away to the orphans in Africa.  I liked the strange cat thing, Toro, from whatever the fuck crazy Japanese thing it spilled out of, partially because he felt like this game’s version of Kirby.  I even liked playing as Nariko.  Certainly more than I liked playing as her in the game she came from.  I kind of defaulted to Kratos most times, because I wanted a character that played well that wouldn’t embarrass me.  I liked the Big Daddy too, but watching a Big Daddy get suplexed by Sackboy is not something I endorse.    I do endorse beating the crap out of PaRappa, especially when he keeps shouting about how you’ve gotta believe.  Believe this, PaRappa: I hate you.

The gameplay in this game was as good as it was a few years back on the Nintendo, but they again failed to live up to Smash Brothers.  The biggest problem was that beating up enemies served no good purpose.  In Smash Brothers, you beat people up because weakening them makes them easier to knock out of the level.  There is no ring out in PSASBR.  In other fighting games, you beat up your enemies to take their life bar down to zero.  There are no live bars in this game.  You beat people up to build up super moves, and super moves are pretty much instant kills.  So, basically, your ability to win is only as good as your character’s super move.  Kind of takes a little bit of the fun and strategy out of it.  There were other issues, like how annoying it was to double tap on the screen to pick up an item instead of just pressing a button to do it, but I think I hate most games that force touch screen use on you.  The big problem I thought of in regards to playing this game is I don’t see any reason to do it.  With Smash Brothers, you did it on the big screen on a console that could support four players simultaneously.  On my Vita, I play alone unless I want to go online (which I never really do).  Of course, this game is also available for the PS3, so I might have liked it more that way.

Graphically this game was fantastic.  Sony will always have that over Nintendo because the decision makers in Nintendo really have gamers figured out.  But this graphical improvement comes at a cost.  The load times between levels are awful, and really take you out of the pacing of the game.  You play a level, taking three minutes tops to beat it, and then you can put the Vita down and go get a sandwich waiting for the next match to start.  The levels are also nicely designed.  They start off as one person’s level and, over time, get invaded by a character from another game.  Like playing in Ratchet and Clank’s Metropolis and having the Hydra from God of War pop out of the ground, or having a Metal Gear slice its way into the Patapon level.  The game was musically delightful, but there was a problem with my game and the sound at first, but I don’t really fault the game for it because it was patched while I was still playing it.  And after that, I got to listen to the music from Uncharted from time to time, and I am always ready for that.

Of all the categories that this game comes second to Nintendo in, there is one category that Nintendo could never touch Sony in: trophies.  Sure, one could argue that Nintendo did not do a Trophy or Achievement system, but that feels irrelevant.  The trophies in this game were super easy, and not even very time consuming.  It’s not much more complicated than beating the game with all the characters and using their Level 3 Super Move in their own level.  Then just grab Toro, go online, and get an easy triple and double kill with his Level 3 move that seems to kill everyone on screen no matter what.  Easy Platinum.

PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale is a decent enough game that was ripped off wholesale from Nintendo’s Super Smash Brothers, and without very much by way of improvement.  Their characters aren’t nearly as iconic and the gameplay feels pointless and unsatisfying in comparison.  But, this game is not without its charms.  If you don’t own a Nintendo system, if you’re looking for an easy Platinum trophy, or if graphics are more important than gameplay, I could see there being reasons to play this.  Ultimately, I wouldn’t have paid money for this thing, and I wouldn’t be able to recommend it to you.  PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale gets “Super Brawl Brothers” out of “Melee.”

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The Games of 2012


It’s hard for me to decide how long this review is going to be before I get started on it. I feel like I didn’t play as many of the new games that came out this year just because of financial restraints. On the other hand, I also started using my Gamefly subscription more to fill in the gaps that I wasn’t willing to pay full price for. I’m also a little bit worried that I won’t have enough games to complete a bottom three, just because my precious time and money could not be wasted on untested, shitty games this year. Hopefully I’ll have plenty to talk about, but there’s only one way to find out…

JANUARY

FINAL FANTASY XIII-2

I fully intended to play this game; so much so that I actually purchased it and everything. The reason I never got started was because I still haven’t beaten FF13 yet. I started playing it when it originally came out, and then started from scratch again when this game came out, determined to finish a review of it and move onto the next game in the series. I have lost interest both times before actually finishing. One day, FF13-2… One day…

FEBRUARY

THE DARKNESS 2

I actually purchased this too … and still haven’t started playing it. I’VE BEEN BUSY!!

KINGDOMS OF AMALUR: RECKONING

AHA! A game I actually beat! And it was … thoroughly mediocre. There’re a whole lot of side missions, and a whole lot of dialogue to sit through, and all of that is written by some guy that nerdier people than myself know. I, however, don’t know him and don’t care to listen through novels worth of dialogue that is not that interesting in the first place. It’s a decent enough game, but certainly not worth a full purchase … unless you find it for $10 bucks like I did.

UNCHARTED: GOLDEN ABYSS

I was very excited about this game (as I am with all the Uncharted games), but I was not nearly as excited about the Playstation Vita at first. Eventually, I bought a Vita in the Assassin’s Creed Limited Edition bundle, and this game was the only game I was really concerned about getting. How was it? …I’ll let you know. I haven’t finished Assassin’s Creed yet. I’ve been told by my roommate that it’s really good though.

MARCH

MASS EFFECT 3

I am apparently a liar. I looked briefly at the 2011 reviews and saw that I said I would definitely be playing this game. Eh… not so much. Not because of the game, but because I seemingly completely forgot it existed.

APRIL

DISGAEA 3: ABSENCE OF DETENTION

I haven’t gotten this game yet, but I desperately want it. I have an unnatural obsession with this game series.

PROTOTYPE 2

A decent enough game. It’s a little repetitive, and I never was really able to muster more than an hour at a time, but it was solid fun. It also looked pretty good, and it was pretty easy achievements. It’s worth checking out if you can find a cheap enough copy.

MAY

SNIPER ELITE V2

I was pleasantly surprised by this game. I assume my friend Phil let me borrow the game because he expected such a thing, and he was right for once in his life. The story is simplistic and the graphics aren’t always what we’ve come to expect in this generation of gaming, but the satisfaction I gained from watching one of my shots go through someone’s skull in slow motion never dulled, even when it happened over and over again.

JUNE

LEGO BATMAN 2: DC SUPER HEROES

It’s another Lego game! …Take that for what it is. It’s good, and definitely right up a kid’s alley, but it’s not dissimilar from every other Lego game I’ve played in the past. Just this time, it’s Batman and other DC superheroes. Basic gameplay and basic story – and I was a little bummed that they made the characters talk when they’ve been so successful making the other games tell a story in an amusing way without it thus far – but there is some stupid, silly fun to be had in this game. And easy achievements! I’m sure it will be super cheap soon enough. You can give it a go when that happens.

THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN

My strange desire to play this game nagged at me for a long time. I had the strange desire because I’ve really liked some of the Spider-Man games in the past. It nagged at me because I wouldn’t buy it because it’s been a very long time since they’ve made one of the good ones. What did they do this time? They made another mediocre one, but one that had the free-roaming gameplay style that I wanted. Overall, I enjoyed playing the game enough because of the gameplay, but the story was really plain, and was also basically the not groundbreaking movie with more cross breeds. It’s okay, and probably worth a rental, but not much more.

SEPTEMBER

Quite a break here, right? It’s almost enough to make you think I had a life during this period. (Psst. I didn’t)

OCTOBER

JUST DANCE 4 and DANCE CENTRAL 3

If I had ever reviewed one of these games before, I would suggest that you take that review and change the music on it. Then add one to the number in the title.

ASSASSIN’S CREED III: LIBERATION

I’ve always loved Assassin’s Creed. But every handheld game (of course, I’m referring to the one other handheld one that I played) has been an utter disappointment. I have not completed this game, but it has blown my expectations for the handheld Assassin’s Creed games out of the water, while simultaneously not really being as good as any of the console games. It handles a lot like the Assassin’s Creed with the addition of the Vita’s second analog stick, but there’s not a whole lot going on in the story, and most of the missions involve changing Aveline’s costume and going to kill something. At least from what I’ve played so far, it’s not the greatest game, but it is a good game, and it’s the best Vita game I’ve played so far. It’s also the only one I’ve played so far.

NOVEMBER

CALL OF DUTY: BLACK OPS II

I’ve made it no secret that I’ve decided to boycott the Call of Duty games. They typically have next to nothing interesting going on in their single player campaign because they know that no one is really that interested in playing it. They tend to do a lot of good with their multiplayer, but that has bit me in the ass too. I bought the last two CoD games, and never really played Black Ops online. And I didn’t even open my copy of Modern Warfare 3. That caused me to decide to completely boycott this game. …That being said, I received the game as a Christmas present, and so I played it. The story is fairly solid, though not at all groundbreaking. They did make a few changes to the gameplay, and they all work well in favor of the game. It’s fun, though I’d say it’s a little easy for its own good. It’s also fun that they take it a bit into the future while also taking us back into the past, so we get to use some tried and true weapons and also use some futuristic weapons, some of which seem far fetched and others that seem realistic. I have not ventured into multiplayer yet, but I would say that what I’ve played of the game so far has made me not disappointed to own the game.

LEGO THE LORD OF THE RINGS: THE VIDEO GAME

I haven’t played this game, but I assume you can take my review for Lego Batman 2 and exchange the word “Batman” with the word “Aragorn”.

HITMAN: ABSOLUTION

I look forward to playing this game … when I can find it for about $30.

THE WORST GAMES OF 2012

FIFTH WORST

Medal of Honor: Warfighter (2012)MEDAL OF HONOR: WARFIGHTER

When I rented this game, I wasn’t expecting much. With a name as bland as “Warfighter”, what should I expect? A mediocre game! DELIVERED! The story of the game was too long, it offered no appreciable innovations to the first person shooter genre, and the graphics were occasionally subpar. I’m sure they invested a good amount of their time into the multiplayer, but I invested none of mine into it. I just rented it to see if it was any good, then I beat it in a couple of days and sent it back, relatively unsatisfied. It’s not awful, but it’s probably only worth picking up if you can find it for about $10.

FOURTH WORST

Dishonored (2012)DISHONORED

This game disappointed me, but it also helped prove me right. People need to stop using hyperbole when talking about things with me. If you’re going to set this game up to me as mind-blowing – so much so that I’ll actually invest my monies into it – then it had damned well better be. It had better not be okay, and then just devolve into repetitively cutting throats. And the goddamned game better not try so hard to make me feel shitty for doing cutting those throats. You put it into the game! Maybe YOU’RE the bad person! Not me for realizing that the least frustrating way through a stealth game is to take the bad people out of the equation. Bad people can’t be bad anymore when their blood is no longer in their body.

THIRD WORST

TWISTED METAL

A pretty disappointing game that I probably shouldn’t have bothered expecting anything out of in the first place. This game was my own mistake because I put it on a Twisted Metal (2012)list for my birthday and it was gifted to me by my sister. I should have probably known better. My sister doesn’t game, so she wouldn’t know better. The game did remind me of a simpler time when all a game really needed was some goofy cars and explosions, but the problems of the game became more and more annoying over time. There were some frustratingly difficult parts in the game, and the game has no interest in telling you how to play it. And, to top that all off, you can probably knock it out in a few hours and then have no reason to play it. It has multiplayer, but it wasn’t my cup of tea. It had Twisted Metal Black to download along with the game, but that only really served to remind me that lots of games don’t age well. I can see some potential for this game to be entertaining when split-screened with your friends, but that does not justify its price.

RUNNER UP

Kinect Star Wars (2012)KINECT STAR WARS

I never got around to finishing this game, but I did play a good deal of it. I only bought the game because there was no other way to purchase the special edition R2D2 Xbox 360 without getting this game to come along with it. I even tried to trade in the game after I purchased the console, but the game wasn’t in Best Buy’s systems yet. So I decided to play it instead. The regular gameplay was fine enough, but a little repetitive. I did feel like I actually had full access to all of my midichlorians though. So what was the problem? This game shit all over my childhood! You seriously gonna have Han Solo dance in the carbonite chamber before he gets frozen? To a poorly parodied version of “I’m Riding Solo?” Fuck that shit! Those were not good times for old Han.

THE LOSER

SSX (2012)SSX

Oh that’s right, I DID want to kick a game in the nuts this year. That game was SSX. I only played this game because I remembered playing it when I was younger and really liking the simple fun of the series. I played this game and found that fun did not hold up anymore. There was no story and I got extremely bored of the gameplay in about a half hour since it was the same thing over and over, and that one thing was not even very fun. The game looks okay, but really has nothing else going for it.

THE BEST GAMES OF 2012

HONORABLE MENTION

The only game that almost made my top five for this year was Sniper Elite V2. It was a pretty fun game and surpassed any expectations I could’ve had for a game that I had never heard of that came out completely under my radar.

FIFTH BEST

Max Payne 3 (2012)MAX PAYNE 3

I had been a fan of the Max Payne series since its beginning, and I still enjoyed Max Payne 3, but it was a bit of a trudge in more than one part. Mainly, Max himself. Such a whiny bitch for someone that is killing hordes of his enemies like he was the Armageddon the Mayans were talking about. The story was good, but the dialogue suffered from Max Payne’s inescapable moroseness. So morose was he that it actually took away from my enjoyment of the extremely quality gameplay. I knew I would love that much, with all the jumping through windows and firing in slow motion. I just could’ve enjoyed it much more if Max would just shut the fuck up.

FOURTH BEST

Halo 4 (2012)HALO 4

I give this game extra credit for blowing my expectations for it out of the water. This was the first time the fate of Master Chief had been left in non-Bungie hands, and 343 tore it up. I’ve only played the campaign thus far, but I thought the story was really good, and even had a surprising bit of emotion to it near the end. Before that, it’s not much more than going from computer terminal to computer terminal, and I could resent that because it’s a version of my life with more guns and aliens. But the game looks GORGEOUS. Best looking Halo game so far by leaps and bounds. I bet the multiplayer is even good. Maybe I’ll give it a go.

THIRD BEST

Assassin's Creed 3 (2012)ASSASSIN’S CREED III

I’ve always loved Assassin’s Creed. Every console game thus far has been right up my alley. This one was as well … with a few notations. I loved the story and felt that it came a lot closer to home (as it physically came closer to home) by actually happening during a time period I would actually have any knowledge of. And I’ve always liked the way the Assassin’s Creed games play. Running over rooftops and stabbing necks with wrist blades is always good times. It’s like Dishonored if Dishonored didn’t punish you for playing the game the way it was designed. What did kind of punish me was how many glitches I encountered in the game. I ran into invisible walls, jumped onto walls instead of running in the direction I was trying to tell Connor to go, and on one occasion something in the game fired me up into the air, sending me crashing to my death. Still, the game was awesome when these things were not hindering my enjoyment.

RUNNER UP

Far Cry 3 (2012)FAR CRY 3

This was probably my most anticipated game of the holiday season, and it did not disappoint. All the Far Cry games are graphically fantastic, and this one held up its end of that. And you can also expect the landscapes in Far Cry to be huge, lush, colorful landscapes with tons of things to explore. The stories of the Far Cry games are typically unimpressive, but I actually liked the story of this game … mainly because there was one. And it was good too. I especially liked any parts of the story involving Vaas. My roommate did good by getting this game for me for Christmas.

THE WINNER

Borderlands 2 (2012)BORDERLANDS 2

When it came to the best game of this year, there were a few games it could be, but only one game it’s gots to be. I have already beaten this game as well as all the available DLC for it so far, and I’ve also played a good amount of time with all 5 character types available to me, but I still haven’t produced a review for the game because it’s so good that I have not yet decided that I’m over it. It is so good! The story is as fun as I’ve come to expect from my time with the first game, but they also actually put a few surprises and a few emotionally impactful moments. And on top of that, it’s an excellent first person shooter with RPG elements, and that is pretty much my two favorite game genres. This game is awesome. You need to buy it.

These are my opinions, but I would love to hear yours. Just like with the movies of 2012, I would love for you guys to leave me a comment telling me what your top and bottom 5 video games of 2012 were.

Let’s get these reviews more attention, people. Post reviews on your webpages, tell your friends, do some of them crazy Pinterest nonsense. Whatever you can do to help my reviews get more attention would be greatly appreciated. You can also add me on FaceBook and Twitter. Don’t forget to leave me some comments. Your opinions and constructive criticisms are always appreciated.

Twisted Metal (2012)


Welcome … to Twisted Metal!

The bulk of the presents that I get for any holiday are video games.  This is not a complaint, but an exclamation that my family at least partially “get me”.  This year was no different.  Though I did get a sweet watch from my sister, the other presents I got were all video games, and that’s alright by me.  Especially since it’s been so long since I actually reviewed a video game.  They often take so long that it ends up being difficult to do a more comprehensive review, and since I want to review one thing a day, I lean more towards the much easier to review movies.  But it turns out at least one of the games I got for my birthday was particularly easy to review, as I was able to finish the single player mode in little more than a day.  Let’s see how well my sister picked her second present in my review of Twisted Metal, directed by David Jaffe, produced by Scott Campbell, developed by Eat Sleep Play, and published by Sony Computer Entertainment.

The story focuses on three characters of the Twisted Metal franchise.  Sweet Tooth the Clown, Mr. Grimm the motorcycle rider, and former model Krista Sparks, now known as Dollface.  Each of these three characters is participating in the Twisted Metal tournament run by the powerful Calypso, the winner of the tournament getting one wish, regardless of value.  The murdering clown Sweet Tooth wants only to get another chance at “the one that got away”, his daughter Sophie, who escaped him when he started murdering his family after his split personality “Needles” took over the personality of the family man, Marcus Kane.  Mr. Grimm is the son of a motorcycle daredevil who died during one of his performances, leading to Grimm turning into a vicious killer and gang leader.  His wish will be to go back in time and warn his father, stopping the chain of events.  Krista Sparks is a famous supermodel who rises to fame with her beauty … and her violent tendencies towards anyone that might be more famous than her.  She gets into a car accident which damages her face, but after some surgeries gets it reduced to a tiny scar that her brain turns into a hideous, rotting wound.  She finds a doctor who is no longer allowed to practice and he gives her a white, doll mask that will return her beauty if she wears it for 6 days, but then it won’t come off.  She enters the tournament to regain her fame and beauty.  Of course, if you’ve played any of the Twisted Metal games, you can probably guess that these wishes will not turn out as they were expected to.  Also, there’s a crazy guy named “the Preacher” that is protesting Calypso, but that’s not very important.

I feel very torn about my feelings on this game.  It’s good and fun in parts, extremely irritating in parts, and the story was disappointing to me.  I’ll start with the story.  One of my favorite parts of the other Twisted Metal games was forcing myself to get through the stories of each individual driver to find out what happened.  The most disappointing thing about this game was that you only get to play as three different characters in the story mode, and only get to see the outcome for those three characters and maybe one more if you count the Preacher … which I don’t.  Sure, once they’re unlocked you can play in any vehicle you want as one of those three characters, but you’ll find pretty quickly that there’s very little need to switch your car.  Mr. Grimm’s Reaper motorcycle, the man in the giant wheels called Axel, and numerous fast vehicles will be destroyed in about 30 seconds.  From the start, if you’re smart, you’ll probably lean towards Sweet Tooth’s ice cream truck.  It can take a beating and dish it out, and also turn into a giant robot clown that served no purpose I could ascertain.  It’s the only way to go for the greater majority of the game, at least until you unlock the Juggernaut that takes massive damage and can deal instant kills with a good charge.  But, even though you can choose all the vehicles, you still only get to play as the 3 set characters.  It’s just so sad and disappointing!  It was never about the cars for me; I wanted to see the individual stories of each character.  It just seems so lazy to only give us the three.  Granted, the three that they give us are fairly good and extremely dark.  All three of the characters are mass murderers, so you expect them to be dark, but Sweet Tooth’s story is way dark.  Also, you expect Calypso to technically grant the wishes of the three characters, but to do so in a way that works against the characters.  What he did to Sweet Tooth and Grimm was pretty great and was almost unexpected, but what he did to Dollface was just stupid.  ::SPOILER ALERT::  She tells him that she wants to be on the “World’s Biggest Runway” and to be the center of attention.  That’s a strange way to say that, don’t you think?  But still, I have no idea how he could possibly take that out of context.  OH!  Runways are also things that planes land on!  Fuck you, game.  ::END SPOILERS::  One thing to remember about the story mode is that there are two credit sequences that are definitely worth watching, so make sure you stick around.  One of them introduces a character that I’d be really happy to play as, while the other one just brings back a character that was killed in the story, but it does so in a pretty cool way.

The game is SOMETIMES an enjoyable romp and brings you back to a day where vehicular battle games were some of the most fun you could have, especially if playing with your friends.  The enjoyment of destroying your enemies and even running over the drivers that run out of the wreckage on fire in order to replenish your health still exists, but is marred a bit by some frustrating situations and some odd decisions that pertain to the controls.  My first recommendation: play the tutorial!  It gets you a trophy and lets you know how to play a game.  It’s probably not the greatest thing that I’ve gotten so in the habit of the first level of any game being the developers holding your hand and leading you through the controls, but it’s a sad reality.  I had already beaten the game before I learned that you could drive in reverse.  I knew that it was PROBABLY an option, but not how to do it.  You can also apparently jump.  Who knew?  Certainly not me.  Other than that, it’s a pretty standard vehicular shooter, and that seems to be what they were going for.  They wanted to recapture as much of the original Twisted Metal games as they could, right down to the controls.  Left trigger shoots side arms, right trigger shoots main weapons, square to drive, X to hand brake, circle to brake, and double tap circle to reverse … for some reason.  That’s basically all you need to play.  You’ll still probably die, and die often.  I played it on normal and almost burned my house down on more than one occasion.  The greater majority of the fights – when it’s just you against the regular vehicles – are not that difficult, especially if you choose your vehicle well (meaning only Sweet Tooth and Juggernaut).  They also throw in some races which boil down to choosing Kamikaze and trying to destroy Crimson Fury until the time comes when you unlock Crimson Fury, and then it’s just about choosing Crimson Fury.  The fastest car wins the race, and that’s it.  None of this “Tortoise beats the Hare” bullshit.  The gate rule in the races pissed me off though.  You didn’t have to go through all of the gates, but if you missed 12 you’d blow up.  This wouldn’t be that difficult to stick to in a normal racing game, but this is a racing game where your enemies are really excited to smash into the side of your vehicle and shoot you from behind with missiles.  Many times would I be speeding towards a gate, only to get hit and knocked to the side, missing the gate and getting one step closer to death.  But that’s only a bit tedious.  The real annoyance of this game is any situation that involves the word “Juggernaut” without you driving it.  They’re giant diesel trucks that can take quite a beating, drop mines if you’re following, fire missile barrages if you’re too close, and spawn more enemies out of their rear ends every minute or two if you don’t take them out.  And it gets worse when every other character on the map has nothing else on their mind than your destruction.  I got the feeling that the developers decided it was a good idea, but never bothered to play it themselves.  If they had, I think they would have killed themselves and someone else would have removed it out of respect.  After you face them for the first time, you’re just happy to get through it.  Then they do it again, but this time there are two.  Then they do it again, but this time there are two and they’re even more powerful.  Fuck you, game!  The boss battles are less annoying than this!

It’s worth noting, if you can find it, that my game included the download code for the full version of their previous game: Twisted Metal Black.  That’s a really cool thing to do … assuming the game is not too difficult and so dated that I won’t deem it worth my time.  Unfortunately, that was the case with Twisted Metal Black.  With the PS3 version of Twisted Metal, I could force myself through my annoyances because the game wasn’t awful to look at.  What Twisted Metal Black does have going for it is the fact that THEY WROTE STORIES FOR ALL THEIR CHARACTERS!  …Jerks.

I’ve never played a Twisted Metal game on multiplayer before, at least beyond split-screening with my friends.  This game afforded me the opportunity to play Twisted Metal online.  I didn’t want to.  I don’t like multiplayer, but at least this game seems to suit it.  So I gave it a shot.  But I quickly encountered the same problem I always encounter when I try to play games on PS3 online: the online sucks.  If your game isn’t Call of Duty or Uncharted 3, no one’s playing.  I played one game of Deathmatch and then spent the next two hours waiting in various rooms for someone to start the match.  At this point, I’ve given up.  I didn’t even want to play it; I just wanted to be able to talk about the different modes.  Oh well.  I didn’t see the point to playing Deathmatch, so I don’t feel like I’m missing very much.  It felt exactly like playing the single player story mode, but the enemies were slightly more difficult and you only start off with three cars.  Why would I want to play this when I can just play single player with all of the cars already?  I wouldn’t, so I won’t.

For those of you interested in trophies, this is not a game I’d recommend.  I am a certified achievement/trophy whore, but I will not attempt the greater majority of the trophies in this game.  I had a hard enough time just completing the game, let alone doing so on the hardest difficulty and getting gold on every mission, or doing so without dying or switching your car.  Some of you may be able to do it.  Congratulations!  You’ve won nothing.

Twisted Metal is a nice spot of fun and a nice trip down memory lane, but it was not without its disappointments.  The story that they had was good, but their choice to only give 3 or 4 characters a story was lazy and disappointing.  The gameplay was fun, but there were some serious controller problems, even if you sat through the tutorial to learn the things you’d probably never figure out on your own, and many parts of the game were frustratingly difficult.  You can get Twisted Metal Black with some of the games, but I don’t know why you would.  Also, don’t get this game if you’re looking for easy achievements.  But, if you want to split screen with your friends, or you just miss a time when all a game needed was something for your ice cream truck to shoot at, this game isn’t bad.  Twisted Metal gets “Sometimes the mind can bend so far that it snaps in two” out of “What a waste.  All those people I hadn’t killed yet.”

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