Gameplay, Story and Value:
Twisted Metal has always been an interesting franchise, one I spent a lot of time with as a kid when visiting friends’ houses. In the game, you compete in vehicular warfare as one of several deranged, deformed, or otherwise interesting individuals looking to have their wishes granted by the evil Calypso.
Each vehicle handles differently, boasting different strengths and weaknesses and has access to a special weapon unique to them. You’ll battle in various arenas, all of which present their own set of challenges related to the terrain, weapon placement, and other factors.
Controls are different than what you’d be used to from other driving games, but they work just fine here, and vehicles all handle as expected. My one complaint would be that it can be very hard to actually land attacks moving at such high speeds, and when you do there’s not much in the way of actual impact. As a result, matches tend to drag on longer than I’d like and the game starts to feel boring as a result.
While the gameplay itself comes off as rather shallow, the lore behind the characters and Calypso’s Twisted Metal tournament are all intriguing, which makes it unfortunate that this game doesn’t do more to explore them outside of a short scene for beating the game, and a prologue hidden in the options menu.
Presentation, Music and Sound:
Twisted Metal 2 is… not a very good looking game if we’re being honest. Ugly sprites and textures are abundant and even the cars themselves don’t look particularly well done. The good news is that at such high speeds, it’s easy to overlook. This game exemplifies a certain graphical quality shared by the vast majority of early PS1 games, and I’m okay with that. The visuals here are perfectly serviceable for what they are here, despite not being at all impressive.
The sound effects were all pretty much what you’d expect from a game like this, and there’s nothing really to complain about. What I was a little surprised by, however, was how fun the music was. Every stage had it’s own them and all of them, especially Paris, made the mechanical carnage all the more entertaining!
Twisted Metal was that game that my friends would always want to play whenever it was available, and I remember it being pretty fun as a kid, but without any real lasting appeal. Playing it again as an adult, I can’t say I’m really impressed, even with a second controller. I get why it was so much fun back when it was a new concept, but nowadays I can’t really find a lot to love about it. That said, it’s still a good concept, and one that could benefit a lot a from a few years of polish. I’ll be interested to see how future entries of the series, specifically the PS2’s Twisted Metal Black, all play out.