Grammy time

I might actually watch the show on Sunday, as Austin Wintory’s work on the Journey soundtrack is up for the award in “best score soundtrack for visual media” I’m really excited to see if it wins. The other nominees are: The Artist (Ludovic Bource) and Hugo (Howard Shore), The Dark Knight Rises (Hans Zimmer) and The Adventures of Tintin (John Williams). Video game music is long overdue for some serious recognition.

A twisted review

So, I’ve had Twisted Metal for about a month now. I’m over my initial bout of joy over finally getting my hands on the game. What do I think? It still feels like Christmas, even when I get my ass handed to me by NPCs or other players. Complaints about this game are few and far between and I really only have one that doesn’t have to do with players being impatient and dropping out of games that aren’t as full as they could be. I’ll get to that later.

As someone who has played most of the Twisted Metal games (except for the handheld versions), I knew what to expect from the story. It was every bit as twisted and amusing as I thought it would be. The treat was how beautifully it was presented.

The action in the single player storyline featured a nice variety of challenges, including races and battles where you were restricted to a small area on a map that would change every so often. Everything you do there helped immensely for preparing to face people online. There was even a tutorial of sorts for the Nuke online battle mode.

I’ve played a few games that feature capture the flag gameplay, but the Nuke game is probably one of the most fun versions I’ve played. In this case, the flag is a poor shmuck standing at a gun turret and you have to capture (run over and tie to the back of your car by the leg) that person and drag their sorry but to one of two nuke launchers that is either roaming the map or standing still. Once in a specified area, you have to wait for a timer to tick down before you sacrifice your “flag” to the launcher. Hopefully, your teammates have kept you clear to finish this. Then it’s up to you to guide a missile to a statue target, which is usually stationary, but will be flown around on one or two maps. The catch here is people can shoot the missile down. Of course, if your team is in the lead, you could always direct the nuke at opposing players.

In online play, you level up to access more vehicles to play online. My one gripe with this is the existence of a helicopter that is locked for 15 levels. It can make nuke games particularly annoying, as those with the time invested can more easily reach launcher areas or swoop in and pick someone up with a magnet, severely hurting their chance of making it to a launcher. It’s no big deal though. I’ll be there soon enough and mess up someone else’s day. 😉

The soundtrack features a lot of metal, as it always has and should. I like that they threw in a little rap and electronic. I think if they were going to mix it up like that, they could have thrown in a little classical. There’s no greater juxtaposition than graceful melodies and graceless driving mayhem. No matter what your taste, they were nice enough to let you put together your own soundtrack. Someday, I might take advantage of that and get a bunch of music from past games going.

Finally, there are the little things that make the game fun. In this case, the little things I’m talking about are the pedestrians and drivers. They all make some noise, whether you run one over, destroy a car or toss it a great distance. You have all kinds of voices and there’s no sign of the Wilhelm scream anywhere. Even the little person you capture in nuke mode is yelling and swearing at you to let them go. It’s one of those things that wasn’t quite as polished in previous TM games, but it was still somewhat satisfying. The attention to details like these help make the game more enjoyable.

Despite the one gripe, I give the game 10 flattened yuppies on their cell phones out of 10. :p I hope they’re working on a sequel.