It's impossible to think about the car combat genre without mentioning Twisted Metal. Simply put, the series is responsible for the popularization of the genre, and when it launched in 1995, it began something truly special. Seriously, it's strange to think that you can make a vehicular demolition derby ridiculously interesting if you throw in guns, missiles, and murderous clowns, but that's exactly what Twisted Metal did.
Here we are over 15 years after the debut of the series, and we now have Twisted Metal for the PlayStation 3. The game has managed to garner a ton of praise for its stellar action-oriented gameplay, and despite a few quirks, its multiplayer has been lauded by the masses for creating a compelling avenue for players to blow one another up in several different chaotic modes. No, Story mode isn't as strong as it's been in the past, but the overall mechanics are improved, interesting new features have been sprinkled throughout, and the multiplayer is an insane blast.
Twisted Metal is back, and it's safe to say that it's better than ever. But the franchise's grand return begs the question: Where does Twisted Metal go from here?
The moment I picked up my copy of Twisted Metal, I immediately popped it into my PlayStation 3 and started playing. I got through Story mode after a couple of days, and in between those sessions, I spent large chunks of time blasting other players with machine gun fire, showering them with fire missiles, and making it rain napalm in the game's online component. It's been a really great time, and I'm still having loads of fun playing Twisted Metal.
A thought has been resonating with me the entire time, though. Since picking up Twisted Metal at launch and already investing a crazy amount of time playing it, I've realized that this may very well be the greatest entry in the franchise as far as mechanics go. That said, the gameplay doesn't feel revolutionary–it feels refined. That's most certainly a good thing. Developer Eat Sleep Play managed to take the classic car combat genre, which I never thought could get much better, and added several nice touches and tweaks to create the smoothest, most polished destruction derby around.
But I wonder if Twisted Metal can get any better. I know developers constantly come up with ways to evolve their franchises and certain genres. Car combat, however, is a tricky little devil. Twisted Metal features an array of vehicles, excellent weapons, and some truly outstanding levels. Simply put, Twisted Metal is a great game. Personally, I'm really intrigued to see what David Jaffe comes up with if and when he decides to release a follow-up, because Twisted Metal on the PlayStation 3 seems like it's going to be a super tough act to follow.
I honestly don't know if the car combat genre can be refined any more, which may pose a problem as far as originality is concerned come the next Twisted Metal game. Still, I think there are different steps the development team can take to ensure that gamers get a title they can truly be interested in playing. Without spoiling anything, it should be noted that Story mode, while a bit problematic at times, presented a plot that can easily continue in a new game. This was obviously intentional, but I really think the next Twisted Metal game should continue where this title left off as far as Story mode is concerned.
Personally, I would love to see the stories of Sweet Tooth, Preacher, and Calypso continue in the next game. But aside from a continuing narrative, it's hard to tell where the series can go next in terms of gameplay and presentation. David Jaffe stated that there were no plans for DLC following the launch of Twisted Metal. I'm 100 percent fine with that, because the main package is more than enough to keep me busy for a long time. That said, maybe DLC may be a proper step for the dev team. Perhaps the stories of Twisted Metal's drivers can progress via DLC packs, though some fans may react negatively to that.
If we don't see DLC for Twisted Metal, I'd be more than willing to wait as many years as it takes for the next game in the series to launch, whether it's on the PlayStation 3, on the Vita, or on the next Sony home console. Whenever that day comes, though, the game should definitely keep the dark tone of Twisted Metal. If the developer is going to continue the characters' stories, I see no other style that could possibly fit.
Now, if I had to be 100 percent honest and tell you exactly what I want the next Twisted Metal to be like, I would have to say that I really, really want to play a cel-shaded game. I totally love the dark, gritty, and mature theme of the most recent entry in the series, but I can't help but want something cartoon-like. After watching the intro for Twisted Metal: Head-On, I would love an entire entry in the franchise to look like that opening movie. Maybe the developer can make it a downloadable title. It doesn't need to be a retail game. It's something I really hope happens someday, though, and I think a cel-shaded Twisted Metal would be a unique way to feature a dark and eerie narrative.
Twisted Metal is a great PlayStation 3 game that's sure to keep players entertained for a long time. Quite frankly, I don't need a new Twisted Metal game anytime soon because the latest endeavor is so enjoyable and so ambitious that it pretty much has the car combat genre covered for the next few years. When the day comes that David Jaffe wants to create a new entry in the franchise, though, I hope he'll blow our minds like he has consistently done for over 15 years.