Singletrac laid down a solid, though flawed foundation with Twisted Metal. We were introduced to some odd characters, a weird premise and a different way of playing a game involving vehicles. Singletrac released a sequel, Twisted Metal 2, which set out to further tighten up what they did right, and tweak what they did wrong. The result -arguably the best Twisted Metal game on the Sony PlayStation.
First, lets go over what was done properly in the first Twisted Metal game. The audio was an overall success, and TM2 does nothing but improve on it. While the music seems a bit more generic rock than anything, the tracks end up becoming a lot more memorable than anything else in the series. Each stage sounds great, from the music, to the explosions being pumped out all around you. TM2 took what was already well done, and made it quite memorable.
The characters are a mix of some of the same from the last game, the same vehicles with different drivers, some removed from the first game, and some brand new characters. Twister is a formula one type car, which little armor, but lots of speed, while Outlaw has a new female driver, in a slightly more souped up vehicle. Each vehicle plays differently, with different special powers. Whether you want to drive in, chip damage and run away with the faster guys, to absorb damage while getting up in their grill with the larger guys, Twisted Metal 2 offers you whatever play style best suits you.
While the controls have not change much in terms of functionality, the handling has for each vehicle. More than ever, you feel a distinct difference between your speedy Mr. Grimm and hulking Axel. Overall, the controls have been tweaked to a stunning degree, although the removal of a dedicated reverse button and relying on down to reverse annoys to a certain degree. Thanks to the better handling, it’s a lot less of a headache.
The biggest upgrade comes in the form of TM2’s cleaner, and more functional visuals. Vehicles are detailed properly enough without looking overly pixelated and a steady frame rate throughout most every situation. Your battles in TM2 take you around the world, and every location you arrive to looks tons better than the first title. While some backgrounds in the first game looked like someone sprayed water all over the screen, in TM2, there’s more definition and detail to everything you see, with no cost to performance. Not only that, but some stages, like Paris, you can initiate a huge explosions that can open up new pathways. It’s a pretty grand scale visual presentation while so early into the PlayStation’s life cycle.
Thanks to the all around combination of a great, clean look, outstanding audio and a tightened control of your vehicles, along with the impressive stages you can play in, Twisted Metal 2 offers a higher level of replay value than the fist title. It’s not all about checking out the whacked out endings, but just enjoying the fact that you’re blowing the piss out of your enemies, and your surroundings. The difficulty is fine tuned as well, to reflect what setting you select. Secret locations to find also help immensely with the enjoyment of this title.
With the only major complaint being the persistence of enemies gaining up on you again when the difficulty is higher than Normal, Twisted Metal 2 offers a near perfect balance of looks, controls and excitement, that even after all this time, is still top of the line quality fun. With such a vast list of remarkable PlayStation titles, it takes a lot to stand out as one of the best, and Twisted Metal 2 more than earns that title.