Twisted Metal: World Tour – PS5 Review 1

Twisted Metal: World Tour is the second game in Sony’s long-running vehicular combat series which stretches back from 1995’s original and was last seen in 2012 with the PS3 exclusive reboot also called Twisted Metal.

The games always enjoyed some degree of popularity, enough so that there’s actually a TV show coming, but everyone knows that Twisted Metal: World Tour was always the peak of the series and its now available on PS4 and PS5 (and free to PS Premium subscribers).

Set in the then-future of 2006, the game follows the first game’s plot directly.  The original was based around the ‘Twisted Metal’ contest, essentially a violent demolition derby which left Los Angeles in ruins.  Well now the tournament organiser, Calypso, has created a follow up which will be set in locations around the world and he wants all of the best drivers there to battle it out with the winner being able to ask him for whatever prize they want.

In terms of the single-player campaign, this means you get to select from the game’s varied cast of eleven drivers, each of which coming with a unique vehicle, and then you take on the game’s seven levels before facing off against the end boss.

Each driver has their own special weapon (from Warthog’s very useful homing rockets, Outlaw 2’s electric siren, Mr Slam’s close range grab and so on) but then have to collect other generic weapons in the stages from weapon spawning points.  These range from detonatable bombs, fire missiles, homing rockets and napalm and can all be used in conjunction with your basic machine gun to take out your opposition.

The car-based combat is intense and frantic with the game playing out as a massive free-for-all battle on each of the stages with the AI attacking whoever is near them, rather than targeting the player.  However, there’s plenty of damage to go around and if you try to go head to head with enemies too often, you’ll no doubt be destroyed.

So the key to survival comes from learning Twisted Metal: World Tour‘s excellent maps.  There are plenty of spawning points for weapons, both in plain sight and hidden, as well as secret areas to discover.  The most notable is in the Paris level.  A teleporter takes you into the Eiffel Tower where you’ll find a handful of a weapons but, if you set off a remote bomb up there, the tower collapses and forms a bridge which leads you to a rooftop area where even more resources await.

Now back in the mid-’90s this was unbelievable, brilliant level design and it’s still pretty cool now to be fair.  And each level has its own secrets, so if you take the time to explore, you’re sure to find a few extra weapons with which to defeat the other drivers.  The variety of these stages is also still a joy with each area having its own character and look.

But, this is a PS1 game and so there are more than a few compromises that you’ll need to be ready for.  The first is the control system.  Unlike every other driving game in existence, all movement is controlled off of the left-stick/d-pad.  That means left and right for steering but also up/down for acceleration and braking.  It wasn’t ideal then and still isn’t now but you do get used to it.  And anyway, you’re not controlling a person in this game, you’re controlling a vehicle and so you don’t expect to be able to turn on a dime and make intricate movements.  Instead it’s more a case of being trapped in a dead end while Sweet Tooth charges at you firing rockets into your bodywork.

The game is chaotic but in a great way that still makes it a ton of fun today.  Sure, the game’s end boss is still an absolute prick to deal with but aside from that it’s great.  And if you want a break from the game’s single-player campaign, the old school split-screen local PvP mode is still a blast too.  Although maybe it was a bit more fun in 1996 when we’d literally use paper and tape to divide up the screen so that the other player couldn’t see what you were doing.

The other issue with the game comes from the visuals.  Twisted Metal: World Tour didn’t look great in 1996.  The large pixelated polygons always lacked detail and were obviously a compromise in order to support such fast gameplay and it certainly doesn’t look very good now on a 65 inch 4K television.  There are a couple of scanline type filters offered to smooth things out but, yeah, the game’s not exactly a looker.  3D games date hard and driving games date even harder but it’s worse when the game didn’t even look good back then.  However, the gameplay is strong enough that we eventually stopped noticing.

What’s cool about Twisted Metal: World Tour is that it still has all the special moves and cheats intact.  There are moves to fire off ice attacks and napalm or to raise shields and drop off mines.  There’s even a God Mode cheat in there (although that disables trophies) and hidden characters to unlock.  It’s all such a delightful throwback to a time before microtransactions and pay to win nonsense.

So does the game still hold up almost thirty years later?  Well, yes.  It does.  It’s still insane, fun and, in its own little way, impressive.  And it was a blast seeing all of the old endings which each show the tournament host, Calypso, subverting the winners’ requests in cruel but funny ways.

Obviously, modern/younger gamers might look at Twisted Metal: World Tour and think ‘WTF is this, grandad?’ but OG PlayStation players know where it’s at and this game still stands as one of the most fun and twisted vehicle combat games ever.

Twisted Metal: World Tour
8 Overall
+ Excellent level design
+ Chaotic and fun combat
+ Lots of secrets, tricks and cheats built in
+ Quick-saving and rewind have been added
- The controls take some getting used to
- Rough visuals
- No online play
World Tour was always the best Twisted Metal game and while the visuals and controls are like relics from the past, the game's brilliant level design and chaotic combat are still top notch.

About Richie

Rich is the editor of PlayStation Country. He likes his games lemony and low-budget with a lot of charm. This isn't his photo. That'll be Rik Mayall.

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