GMC Hummer EV Tesla Cybertruck vs. GMC Hummer EV 2021 Genesis GV80 2021 Ford Bronco 2020 electric vehicles Best car lease deals Best car insurance
Wayne Cunningham/CNET

Getting smashed in Twisted Metal

Sony releases Twisted Metal for the PlayStation 3 on February 14. CNET gets a preview of the gameplay.

Twisted Metal launch event
Sony lit up the walls of Mezzanine, in San Francisco, with its Twisted Metal logo. Wayne Cunningham/CNET

Darkside, a big truck, kept on my tail, repeatedly smashing into my Mustang until I found the handbrake button on the PS3 controller.

Pulling 180s, I used my car's better maneuverability to bring machine gun and rockets to bear on the big truck. This was my first taste of the new Twisted Metal game, which Sony is bringing out for the PlayStation 3.

Sony hosted a launch event in San Francisco for the new game, in a venue that included automotive set pieces and two characters from the game posting for photos. And to the delight of attendees, banks of PlayStation 3s loaded with the game were networked, allowing real-time competition.

Twisted Metal launch event
Attendees of the launch event got their heads into the game, trying out the different vehicles and weaponry. Wayne Cunningham/CNET

I found an empty station and tried my hand at the new game. The Ford Mustang was selected, which seemed like a good car to enter the mayhem in. After a little time getting pounded by other players while trying to find the accelerator (hint: it's the square button), I was racing through the suburban landscape looking for easy targets and trying to avoid getting run over by the bigger vehicles.

One massive set of wheels, lacking much in the way of a car body, rolled over me repeatedly, until I found a convenient hillside to escape up. In the skies overhead was a helicopter, the Talon, dropping mines and shooting rockets, generally bringing death from above. And there was Twisted Metal's signature vehicle, the Sweet Tooth ice cream truck, which at some point showed off its Transformers-like capability of turning into a big robot.

Twisted Metal launch event
The eerie-looking Dollface posed for photos with attendees. Wayne Cunningham/CNET

After time spent shooting at random targets, I found myself in a duel with a car that looked something like a Ferrari Dino 246GT. We raced around each other, attempting to take shots, until getting separated among the buildings. Some of that property proved destructible, as I slammed the Mustang through some of the smaller buildings.

I never quite figured out the controls, beyond the basic driving commands, relying on button mashing to fire rockets or make my virtual passenger sit up out of the side window, blasting away with a chaingun. And my two runs in the game ended with flaming letters across the screen proclaiming my loss.

Similar to Burnout Paradise, Twisted Metal is not a realistic driver. Unlike in racing games such as Forza and Gran Turismo, the cars are either approximations of existing models or whole-cloth creations. The weapons add, of course, to the fantastical nature of the game. Although I have wished for rockets many times in Gran Turismo when trying to catch up to an Enzo.

Twisted Metal for the PlayStation 3 comes out on February 14. Check out GameSpot's Twisted Metal page, which includes gameplay footage.