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Critics: Rebooted ‘Twisted Metal’ an old-school ride

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Cars, chaos, and creepy clowns — put 'em together and you've got one of the most revered names in vehicular combat. But it's been a while since Sony's Twisted Metal franchise has been relevant, as the last core release (Twisted Metal: Head-On for the PSP) dates back to 2005.

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Twisted Metal (Sony)

So when Sony announced that a brand new game was coming to the PS3, built by none other than franchise creator David Jaffe and his team at Eat Sleep Play, thumbs started twitching. Despite a few delays, the rechristened 'Twisted Metal' races into stores this week. Is it a barn burner, or just another weirdo with a painted face?

That depends who you ask. Currently averaging a solid but underwhelming 77 at Metacritic, this insane racer is equal parts hit and run.

Game Informer, at least, thinks it's mostly a hit.

"In terms of classic Twisted Metal gameplay, this is the best the series has ever been," writes reviewer Dan Ryckert. "When the game drops a handful of vehicles into a gigantic, destructible playground littered with weapons, it's a blast." He also digs the game's multiplayer, awarding the whole shebang with an 8.5/10.

Still, he's a little miffed by the game's linear story mode, which only lets players race and destroy as three characters. That's a far cry from the many unique endings found in past Twisted Metal games.

For Destructoid, though, the real bummer is the game's "gimmicky" modes.

"Unfortunately for Twisted Metal, the game spends far too much of its time trying not to do the one thing it's truly great at. This is evident in the single-player campaign, which is annoying at best and excruciatingly nightmarish at worst," complains reviewer Jim Sterling. Still, he finds a silver lining in its storytelling and multiplayer, calling the end result "a solid entry in a series that's difficult to hate." The verdict: 7/10.

More ups and downs can be found in reviews by UGO ("the perfect party game" — 8/10),  G4 ("a hard sell" — 6/10) and Joystiq ("takes the safe, careful approach" — 7/10).

So where does that leave you? If you like playing online, it sounds like a gas, but pump the brakes if you're only in it for the single-player. Like most clowns, this one's only fun at a party.

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