Tag Archives: twisted metal

Ranking the Games of the PlayStation Classic

psx classic gamesWhen the PlayStation Classic was announced a few months ago it was only revealed what 5 of the included 20 games were going to be. It was odd, but considering most places pre-sold out I suppose it didn’t matter. When Nintendo had success with the NES Classic Edition, it meant we were in for more of these devices. Myself and many others tried to predict what would be included on a potential SNES Classic and most people probably came pretty close to nailing the final line-up. Nintendo is heavy with first-party titles and its brand is forever connected with the likes of Mario and Link. With Sony, that first-party recognition isn’t there. During the height of the original PlayStation, Crash Bandicoot was positioned as the company’s mascot, but he wasn’t even owned by Sony. His games were just published by Sony, but the character would eventually come to be owned by Activision. Still, it seemed inconceivable that Sony would pass over Crash, and yet they did! He will not be appearing on the PlayStation Classic as Sony has finally unveiled the remaining 15. I knew predicting the line-up would be more difficult than doing so with the SNES Classic, but apparently I didn’t realize just how hard it would be as I went a putrid 1 for 15 with my predictions.

I suppose if I wanted to give myself bonus points I could dampen that showing by saying I at least hit on two additional franchises. And two of my requested titles (Intelligent Qube and Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo) actually made it, even though I thought it would be a long shot to see them included. There’s no hiding from it though, I whiffed big time and I’ll own that. The actual line-up has likely surprised many and it has some nice surprises and some not-so-nice surprises. It’s a weird line-up, and since the PSX era did have some weird games I suppose that’s appropriate. There are three puzzle games among the 20, no 2D fighters, and only one title each from Konami, and Square-Enix. That means no Mega Man, Lara Croft, or Alucard. Were publishers not willing to “play ball” with Sony and its machine? Or was Sony just not willing to pay more for bigger titles? The Japanese version does have some different titles, including Parasite Eve and SaGa Frontier, but the Japanese market is a lot smaller than the North American one so maybe Sony is trying to maximize profits outside of Japan and is less concerned about the home country.


There are a lot of contenders for biggest snub, but Alucard might be the biggest.

This is not an optimal line-up of games, but does that make it bad? Lets suss it out and rank these titles starting with the least appetizing:

20. Battle Arena Toshinden – A decent looking launch title, it was quickly overwhelmed by Namco’s Tekken franchise. Most people forget about this franchise, and with good reason. It’s not a good game, and it’s odd to use this one instead of the better sequel, but even that game isn’t great.

destruction derby

Excited to revisit this one?

19. Destruction Derby – This game was a one-trick pony when it was released in the launch window of the PlayStation. It was cool to see cars explode and get smashed-up and it was sort-of perversely fun inflicting damage on other vehicles, but it was all empty calories. No one should be playing this game in 2018.

18. Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six – This was one of the most heavily marketed games of its era. I probably saw more commercials for Rainbow Six than I did Final Fantasy VII. It’s okay, but the PSX port was pretty abysmal. Anyone playing Rainbow Six in 1998 probably shouldn’t have been playing it on PSX. Electronic Gaming Monthly even awarded it a dubious 3.8/10.

17. Jumping Flash! – We knew this one was included, and I even argued it had a place given it was a launch title and was just so very “of the era.” That doesn’t mean it’s particularly good and by today’s standards it’s quite ugly. Unlike the games listed before it though, it has a certain curiosity factor going for it that will make it worth a look when the PS Classic drops, but it might not be a game you actually stick with.

16. Cool Boarders 2 – If you like snowboarding and “extreme” sports games, then you’ll probably have this one ranked higher. It’s all right, but most people will probably wonder why it’s here and not Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater (it’s the licensing, folks).

twisted metal 1

I probably logged over 100 hours with this game, but I’ve never wanted to replay it after Twisted Metal 2 came out.

15. Twisted Metal – I loved this franchise on PlayStation, well the first two games at least. The first one though has not aged well at all, and even in the moment, I knew I was playing a junky game, but it had a certain fun factor. The sequel though is way better and actually still playable. I considered it the most obvious lock for the mini console even ahead of Metal Gear Solid so the fact that this game is included but the sequel is not blows my mind.

14. Oddworld:  Abe’s Odyssey – I said the PS Classic has three puzzle games, but you could make the case Oddworld is more of a puzzle game than a true platformer. This game was hyped a bunch as being a game that gave the player numerous ways to solve a problem, but it didn’t really play out that way. It was interesting, but hardly great. It’s graphical approach should hold up well enough though.

13. Wild Arms – One of the previously announced titles, I gave my speech on it already. It’s serviceable, and its simple JRPG mechanics mean it will always remain playable. It’s just a bit crazy to think that this machine has only three RPGs when the PSX was an RPG behemoth, and Wild Arms is one of the three.

12. Grand Theft Auto – GTA was a surprise hit for the PC when it was released, and it was somewhat surprising to see it get a PSX port. It was also the first title I was denied an ability to purchase at a GameStop. Like modern GTA titles, it was arguably at its best when it was just played like a sand box causing mayhem. Unlike modern GTA titles, the actual missions and story isn’t that rewarding and the game was really difficult. It was at least a little easier to handle on the PSX than with a keyboard. It should still be fun to screw around with, but might not have much legs with the PS Classic.


The inclusion of Intelligent Qube is a bit of a surprise. Is it a system-seller? Probably not, but it’s worth a look if you end up getting a PS Classic.

11. Intelligent Qube – This was a surprise inclusion, but a worthwhile one. It’s an interesting puzzle game that’s at least not another brick-falling puzzler. I don’t know how well it’s held up because it’s been many years, but it should be playable and may be a dark horse contender for many folks’ most played title on the Classic.

10. Resident Evil (Director’s Cut) – There’s no denying this title was huge for the PSX, and the Director’s Cut version was superior to the original. It is possibly the worst in the franchise on the PSX though and its controls are not something I look forward to returning to. It took many hours to get a handle on them in 1996 and I’m not sure I still have such skills. Maybe it’s like riding a bike?

9. Syphon Filter – This was basically Sony’s attempt at a first party MGS or Rainbow Six. It was fine for what it was, though I’d prefer a dual shock to play it. It’s going to look ugly, and even Gabe Logan’s running animation looked horrendous in ’99. It might surprise though, and the only reason why I didn’t include it in my prediction was because I didn’t think Sony would release it without dual shock support.

8. Ridge Racer Type 4 – A totally competent racer, but let’s face it, this isn’t the racing game you want. Gran Turismo was the first-party behemoth, but I’m guessing licensing issues made it impossible to include. WipeOut was an alternative racer, but one I’d consider more fun than Ridge Racer. I would have taken Crash Team Racing over this one, honestly, and I’m not sure if I’d even play this more than once on the PS Classic. The racing genre is one that basically improves a lot with better technology, so going back isn’t always fun unless it’s more of an off-beat title. I suspect this still plays well enough though, which is why I’m ranking it this high.


I’m happy to see the original Persona included in this collection, but it’s also not a hard to find game so I wish something like Valkyrie Profile was included instead.

7. Revelations:  Persona – The first game in what is now known simply as the Persona series is the biggest surprise inclusion on the PS Classic. This was not a popular game when it was released, and Persona still has more of a cult franchise vibe than a mainstream one. The first game is not as good as more recent entries with the series really blossoming with Persona 3. It is still playable though, and it’s more strategy-oriented battle system differentiates it from Wild Arms and FFVII. This one is a nice surprise and unlike the original Final Fantasy on the NES Classic, fans who are only familiar with the newer entries might actually enjoy playing the first in the series as opposed to just checking it out for the sake of curiosity.

6. Mr. Driller – The nice thing about puzzle games is that they age well. Mr. Driller is another surprise inclusion. It was well-received in its day, but not really a system mover or anything. It’s fun and charming though and if you like puzzle games with a slight Tetris vibe then you’ll get some mileage out of this one.

5. RaymanRayman was all over the place in the mid-90s. He was so omnipresent that I kind of wrote him off for this system as I never associated him with PlayStation. His game is pretty good though, and its 2D approach should hold up just fine. I never loved Rayman, but I never hated his games either.

4. Metal Gear Solid – I’m not crazy about this list of games, if you haven’t noticed, but I do think it’s pretty top-heavy. The last four are mostly interchangeable, and I wouldn’t be surprised if Metal Gear Solid tops many lists such as this one. My reasoning for placing it 4th is because I think we’re missing out on some of the bells and whistles with this version by not having the dual shock support and a memory card full of Konami games. I also think the game hasn’t aged too well and recent entries in the series really helped to smooth out the gameplay experience. It’s still a fantastic game, it’s just not as fantastic as it could be on the PS Classic.

puzzle fiighter

This is a great choice for inclusion. I have nothing bad to say about Puzzle Fighter.

3. Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo – This is probably my favorite puzzle game. It’s incredibly addicting and the rare puzzler that might be more fun in two-player mode than single-player. It’s got a lot of charm and personality and its sprites should hold up very well. I’m a bit surprised at its inclusion, especially given the omissions of traditional Capcom fighters, but also delighted.

2. Final Fantasy VII – We’ve all probably played it. And even though there’s been backlash towards this title over the years because it’s the most recognizable from the long-running series, that doesn’t mean it’s still not in the conversation for best Final Fantasy game. It’s readily available on other platforms so its inclusion isn’t sexy, but it’s also necessary. If you’ve got about 40 hours, you should give this one some time.

tekken 3 jin

The visuals may not wow you like they did in 98, but Tekken 3 is still a blast to play.

1. Tekken 3 – And the best game of the PS Classic is Tekken 3. A late era title, it actually holds up quite well in the visuals department and the game is simply one of the best 3D fighters ever made. It has a huge roster of characters, some fun additional modes and characters, and there should be something for everyone in terms of fighting styles. If you don’t like 3D fighters then maybe this won’t win you over, but I spent many hours with this one and I’d actually be excited to run through it again and try to unlock all of the additional characters and modes. Well, maybe not Tekken Force Mode.


So that’s it; the PlayStation Classic and its 20 games. Are you going to get one? Did you already pre-order one and are reconsidering that decision? I’m over-all not impressed with these 20 games, the majority of which I don’t need to revisit. Even some of the games that I think are fine I still don’t want to really play in 2018. Why play Twisted Metal when you can easily play Twisted Metal Black? Why play Rayman over the easily acquired (and cheap) Rayman Legends? I wasn’t that excited over this console to begin with, as the nostalgia factor just isn’t quite there for me with the PSX era. If the list had turned out to be something closer to what I predicted I might have been tempted. With this list, though? I’m looking at spending 100 bucks to play Persona, Intelligent Qube, and Mr. Driller as the other games I really enjoy I still own for PlayStation and can play them right now if I want. I have a first-gen PS3 hooked up to my TV right now so nothing is stopping me from popping in Tekken 3 if I wish to play it. I’m not everyone though, so for those who loved the PSX and maybe sold all of their old games I can at least see some appeal, but I still feel like this roster is one big missed opportunity.

Greatest Games: Twisted Metal Black

Twisted Metal Black (2001)

The vehicular combat genre of games has been around for almost as long as video games have.  They either take the form of a more traditional tank battle or a more outlandish game of chicken with machine guns and rocket launchers.  As such, tracing its origins proves quite difficult.  For me, the vehicular combat genre as I know it originated with a surprising title; Super Mario Kart.

Super Mario Kart was primarily a go-kart racing game with characters from Nintendo’s Super Mario series of games.  It was a wacky take on the genre, but it also was more than just a racing game.  Around the time it came out, competitive gaming was becoming more and more popular.  Either at the arcades with fighting games or on the computer with death match modes in first-person shooters.  Nintendo, recognizing this, implemented a battle mode in Super Mario Kart that dropped the racers into an arena with the goal of being the last man standing.  Players used the various power-ups to target their opponents with turtle shells and banana peels in an effort to incapacitate their opponents.  Three strikes and you were out.  This mode proved highly addictive and whenever I got together with friends to play Super Mario Kart we pretty much always played battle mode and hardly ever touched the main game.

Other publishers must have taken note, because it wasn’t long until games started showing up that relied almost entirely on this battle mode concept introduced by Super Mario Kart.  It especially exploded during the Playstation era.  By the time that era came to a close the market was saturated with games of varying quality including licensed games like WWE Crush Hour, which was the breaking point for the genre.  It has been de-emphasized by publishers and developers alike and it remains to be seen if it can ever become a major genre again.

Super Mario Kart may have been the originator, but the title most cite as the launching point for the modern genre of car combat is Twisted Metal.  Twisted Metal was one of Sony’s earliest first-party titles for the Playstation, arriving in stores roughly two months after the system’s launch in North America.  Original launch units of the Playstation included a video demo of the game as part of the pack-in demo disc along with games like Tekken and Warhawk.  Critically, it wasn’t well received for the most part but gamers seemed to enjoy it well enough.  For me, it was the first game I ever bought for my brand new Playstation game console and an early favorite.

The original Twisted Metal, in its original case too. Sony would eventually ditch these cases in favor of standard jewel ones.

Had I seen the initial reviews I may have never purchased it.  My introduction to the Playstation seemed to happen fast and came out of no where.  My grandmother on my mother’s side lived for Christmas when I was younger.  She would get all of those gigantic wish catalogs put out by the major department stores and have me and my sister pick through them to make our Christmas list.  She always wanted to be the one to get us that gift we wanted most.  That year I remember picking through one such catalog with her and pointing out things I wanted.  They must have been all little things like action figures and movies and I remember her almost getting frustrated.  She asked me if there was something big I wanted and I turned the page and saw “Sony Playstation $299.99” on the bottom right-hand corner.  I pointed to that, almost as a joke because to an 11 year old a $300 system seems way too big.  My mom had a similar reaction but then my grandmother started to reason it.  She more or less agreed to get it for me with the caveat that it would be the only thing I’d get.  I knew next to nothing about the Playstation, only that it was new and seemed exotic compared to my Genesis and Super Nintendo and was more than happy to concede other gifts in exchange for a hot new console.  Little did I know, my grandmother had been notified that my nana (dad’s mother) had told my mom she was giving me a television for Christmas which was like declaring war with grandma.  I got caught in the cross-hairs of a grandmother battle and reaped the benefits.

Because I really knew nothing about the Playstation, I had no idea what games to get.  For Christmas that year my parents gave me Doom, a familiar title to me since I had played it on my friend’s PC a few times.  There was no Mario or Sonic though to fall back on, all I had was that demo disc.  Twisted Metal looked pretty cool, so I bought it with some Christmas money.  Not long after I got Street Fighter Alpha, but all I would really play for the next six months (until my birthday) was Twisted Metal.  I would end up beating it with every character, I’d play my friends in death match, and just enjoyed the Hell out of it.  Twisted Metal 2 would arrive the following year and improve upon the original in almost every way.  Then something terrible would happen.

Singletrac, the developer of Twisted Metal, would leave Sony over a contract dispute.  Twisted Metal was owned by Sony though, so they just handed it off to internal studio 989 who was best known for crafting Sony’s licensed sports games.  989 would release the next two Twisted Metal games and both were disasters.  Singletrac put out the acceptable Rogue Trip and other studios were putting out car combat games that now surpassed the Twisted Metal brand.

This was unacceptable.  When Singletrac folded and some of the key members went on to form Incognito, Sony gobbled them up and immediately handed them the Twisted Metal franchise in an effort to bring it back.  And bring it back they did, for that team basically erased everything 989 had done with one game; Twisted Metal Black.

Levels became more expansive in Twisted Metal Black.

Released on the Playstation 2 in the summer of 2001, Twisted Metal Black returned the series to the more gritty atmosphere present in the original game.  The cartoonish antics of the sequel were gone and few righteous characters remained.  All of the drivers of the various cars were now mental patients.  Some were noble, like the driver of the police SUV Outlaw, but even the noble ones were twisted somehow.  The levels throughout the game depicted a bleak and desolate world on the brink of ruin.  Calypso was still the ring-leader and organizer of the Twisted Metal competition, but it was unclear if he still possessed super natural powers in most of the story modes (he did) and he came across as just some sick freak looking to get off on the misfortunes of others.  All of the characters had their own tragic back-story.  Each would narrate it him or herself with an opening video, a mid-point video revealing what led them to a mental institution, and an ending.  Calypso was never given a voice.

The main title menu opened with a still image of exploding cars with the opening notes of The Rolling Stones’ “Paint it Black” playing.  It was creepy and the song suited the game’s mood quite well (the full song played over the ending credits making this one of the few games where I always watch the ending credits).  Graphically, the game was exceptional.  Up until that point, few games had really done a good job of showing off what the Playstation 2 could do.  The best we had at that point was a demo for Metal Gear Solid 2 that came bundled with the game Zone of the Enders.  Twisted Metal Black had smooth visuals with lots of detail.  The levels were huge and expansive.  Each car had lots of little touches sprinkled on them as well be it riveted plates or bullet holes.  Missile launchers would roll out when equipped and any first-time player was wowed when Sweet Tooth’s ice cream truck transformed into a mech-like killer clown.  Gameplay was fast and the controls tight.  A twin analog stick approach made quick turns easy to pull off and arcade physics meant cars weren’t flipping over constantly.  Each car handled differently giving the game a great deal of variety and just about all of the special weapons had their uses.

Sweet Tooth's re-vamped special attack remains as the stand-out visual image from Twisted Metal Black.

The cast included a nice amount of familiar faces and new entrants.  Some old cars, like Outlaw, were completely different from the car that had preceded it.  Some of the returning ones also had new special attacks like Darkside’s ram attack, a great improvement over the old laser weapon.  My favorite was Roadkill, who now sported a charge-up homing missile weapon.  All of the special weapons had two methods of deployment, a standard one and a more technical one.  The technical one was harder to pull off, but dealt more damage and figuring them out was part of the fun.  Every car also had an energy bar for special attacks like freeze balls and shields that could easily change the tide of battle when deployed properly.  A lot of the levels also had hidden areas or visual gags that were fun to exploit.  There were hidden characters too that had to be found throughout the game, some were harder than others.

While the game is head and shoulders above all others in its genre, it did have a couple minor short-comings.  One thing none of the Twisted Metal games ever got right was enemy AI.  Each level is supposed to be a free-for-all but it always felt like the AI was programmed to go after the player and not each other.  While this does enhance the game’s difficulty, it always felt a little cheap.  The game’s final boss also wasn’t the best.  While he was difficult, he didn’t seem to really test the player’s skills.  I have always felt that a good boss battle is like a final exam meant to test how much the player has learned over the course of the game.  This game’s final boss is a helicopter and the approach to beating him is completely different from the approach taken to go after virtually every other enemy.  Vehicles that do not have some kind of missile attack as a special weapon are at an extreme disadvantage too as they have to rely mostly on weak homing missile pick-ups.  And since vehicles can’t really adjust their aim it makes targeting the final boss a pain.  Every encounter just ends up being a case of driving around waiting for either the special weapon to regenerate or for some homing missiles to appear.

Twisted Metal's mascot Sweet Tooth now finds his head permanently aflame.

Aside from that though, I really have few complaints with Twisted Metal Black.  The gameplay is so tight and so fun that I’ve never truly gotten sick of it.  The storylines for each car are also interesting in their own right which lead me to beating it with every single driver.  Death match was just as fun as ever too, though it would have been nice if all of the single player levels were available.  An online edition of Twisted Metal Black was released later on for free for early adopters of Sony’s online network.  I never played it but it always made sense to bring Twisted Metal to the internet.  This Tuesday, the latest game in the series arrives.  Simply titled Twisted Metal, it actually puts more emphasis on the online component.  It was initially conceived as an online only game but Sony was impressed with it so much they decided to make it a full game and had developer Eat, Sleep, Play (made up of ex Incognito/Singletrac members) craft a story mode.  It sounds like the story mode will mostly be an after-thought and only focus on three participants which has me feeling rather disappointed.  I hope to be pleasantly surprised though.  Twisted Metal also appears to be taking the Mario Kart approach of letting the player pick the car’s driver and then choose the vehicle.  This must be how the game can supply all of the old favorites while only having three storylines.

Regardless of how the new Twisted Metal turns out, I can’t imagine it topping Twisted Metal Black.  Sure it will look better, it might even control better, but if the total package exceeds Black’s I’ll be shocked.  This Greatest Games feature I’m doing is not in any particular order, but if it was, Twisted Metal Black would be a strong number two.  I love this game and I’ll never get rid of my copy.  For those who missed out, the new Twisted Metal is being released with a download code to get the original Twisted Metal Black which is one of the best bonus features in gaming history.  You now have no excuse for missing this one.

Overwhelmed by Games

The last 6 months have been pretty spectacular for gamers.  It’s safe to say, if you have even a passing interest in video games you’ve been pretty busy.  I’m not sure I can recall such a period ever occurring before.  There’s been some excellent falls before where several quality titles were released, but I can’t recall one like this where that epic fall carried over into the new year so strongly.  I’m looking at the upcoming releases and looking at the games I have that I’ve yet to play and wondering how I’m going to get to everything.  I suppose it’s a good problem to have, but some things are going to go missing.  There’s already been one casualty for me, WWE 12, as I just didn’t have the time.  I very nearly bought it anyways as I wanted to do a follow-up on a post I did last year but the reviews I were reading just did not excite me.  I passed on it, better luck next year THQ.

I have begun organizing, in my head, the games I have yet to play.  This is what I’ve come up with:

Games I own But Have Yet to Play

I’ll probably finally finish my adventure in the land of Skyrim this weekend.  I’ve played through every

Soon, my friend, soon.

major quest, save the final one, and even acquired every trophy on the Playstation Network which is something I never do.  When I do finish with that I have a decision to make.  Two other games have been sitting on my coffee table since Christmas unplayed; Batman: Arkham City and The Legend of Zelda:  Skyward Sword.  My plan has been to dust off my much neglected Wii and settle into the land of Hyrule once again but I am wavering a bit.  Skyward Sword may be a very different adventure/RPG type of game than Skyrim but the same sense of grandeur still applies.  I also just finished The Minish Cap on my 3DS, and combine that with several other Zelda games that I played through in 2011, and I’m bordering on Zelda exhaustion.  I don’t want an over-exposure to Zelda to impact my impressions of Skyward Sword any, so a break may be in order.  Plus the alternative is Batman, and Batman kicks ass.  On the other hand, It’s likely to be a long adventure and maybe I should just get it started.  I also bought a new Wii remote and am eager to test out Wii Motion Plus.  I also have Infamous 2 from last summer that I’ve only played once.  Even though I really liked the first one, and the second is pretty much more of the same, I’ve had a really hard time finding the motivation to play it.  I’m not sure if I’ll ever go back to it.

Following my write-up on Final Fantasy Tactics, I found myself really eager to go check out the original Tactics Ogre.  I recently was able to find a used copy of the PSP edition and have that for play during my morning and evening commute.  I’m currently spending that time playing Mario Kart 7, but I just finished unlocking everything in that so I may be ready to make the switch from 3DS to PSP soon.  If not this week, then probably next.  I still have a bunch of those Gameboy Advance downloads as part of Nintendo’s Ambassador Program.  I really want to play through Fire Emblem at some point, but it looks like that will have to wait.

Games Set for Release Soon

This is where things get complicated.  February and March are loaded with new game releases.  It’s almost to the point where I’m rooting against some of these titles and hoping the review scores come in low so I can just skip them with little regard.  That seems unlikely though.

Tight corridors and zombie-like creatures, now THIS is Resident Evil!

First up on February 7th is Resident Evil Revelations on the 3DS.  Revelations represents a return to the more survival horror roots of the franchise as opposed to the run and gun mechanics of Resident Evil 5.  This is a welcome development for me and it’s been a long time since I’ve played through a true RE game.  The first reviews are starting pop up and they’re pretty positive, though not exemplary. Released alongside Revelations will be the Circle Pad Pro, an attachment for the 3DS that adds additional shoulder buttons and a second circle pad.  It’s being sold exclusively through Gamestop.  I hate Gamestop and as a result never shop there, but someone gave me a gift card to there for Christmas so I’ll just use that on the Circle Pad Pro.  That attachment should also enhance the gameplay experience of another February release, Metal Gear Solid 3D: Snake Eater.  This is a port of MGS 3, my favorite of the Solid series, for the 3DS.  It looks every bit as good as the original and is actually a port of the Subsistence version of that title which added a better camera angle amongst other additional content.  I never played that version which just makes me even more interested in this title.  My handheld gaming is looking quite busy!

Not to be undone, the home consoles are fixing for a crowded release schedule as well.  I made an entry on the Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning demo last week, and that gets released in February.  I wasn’t blown away by the demo, but the various gaming media outlets seem pretty high on it.  Regardless, it’s looking like I’ll pass it over for now and maybe pick it up at a later date when things have settled down (if they ever do).  Also being released in February is the latest entry in the Twisted Metal series, simply titled Twisted Metal.  This is the first true TM game since 2001’s Twisted Metal Black, one of the best games released for the Playstation 2.  I was an early adopter of the TM franchise, and save for the shoddy 989 releases, have long loved the series.  This one has me a bit concerned though as it sounds like the developers have focused more on the multi-player aspect at the expense of the single player one.  The various stories in TM Black were what made the game for me, and it’s really disappointing to know that only 3 characters are receiving such treatment.  They’ve also, for the first time, allowed the various drivers to be paired with different vehicles, kind of like the latest entries in the Mario Kart franchise.  This should add more customization to the experience, but it just sounds lazy to me.  I should be super excited for this game, but I’m not.  If it wasn’t called Twisted Metal, I wouldn’t be making a post on it.  We shall see.

March and Beyond

I'm not sure how I feel about this development.

There’s potentially two big console releases in February, combined with two 3DS releases and the games I already own but haven’t played.  March is proving to be no kinder.  The 3DS will continue to get new software including a first-party release; Kid Icarus Uprising.  Kid Icarus has long been neglected by Nintendo since his first and only console experience from way back on the original Nintendo Entertainment System.  He showed up on in the last Smash Bros. game but Uprising will be his first solo title in over 20 years.  Early returns show promise, as Uprising combines on-rail shooting with conventional platforming elements.  The controls are what has garnered the most attention as aiming is controlled with the stylus and has received mixed reviews.  It’s possible the game will support the Circle Pad Pro as an alternative intended for left-handed gamers, but that may be preferred by all.  To help combat the cumbersome controls, Nintendo is including some kind of stand for the 3DS that’s supposed to help alleviate cramping.  This kind of detracts from the portable nature of the system, but whatever.  I’ll be checking in on this one to see how it fares in reviews.

Looming large for console gamers is perhaps the early favorite for Game of the Year: Mass Effect 3.  This is a must play title for me.  Anything less than amazing will be a disappointment.  All of my gaming in the interim will be done with the idea of having a clean slate for when this game hits.  There’s no way I can get through Zelda and Batman before then, let alone any games released in February, so I have no idea how I’ll fit this one in.  I like to only have one game going at a time, and it’s possible the games I have are so good that I’ll be okay with putting ME3 on hold for awhile, but that seems unlikely at this point in time.

Less than a month after ME3 is released Xenoblade Chronicles arrives on Wii.  This figures to be my final Wii purchase but if early indications are to be believed, it should be a memorable final outing.  The struggles to get this one released in the US have been well-documented, and for that reason alone I almost feel obligated to purchase it.  Hopefully the game ends up being worth the wait.

Oh Hell yeah!

Those are just the big titles, the ones I expect to be must buys.  I didn’t even mention the others, the ones that may prove worthy of both my time and money.  I’m talking about games such as Soul Caliber V, Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City, MLB 12, Street Fighter x Tekken, Final Fantasy XIII-2, and more!  Those are all games I’m interested in, but may be forced to bypass.  MLB 12: The Show seems like the most likely to be purchased because I love MLB and haven’t bought a new game since 2009.  I just hope the new game finally makes the changes I’ve long wanted to see from the franchise.  And just to amke things even more crowded and uncertain, Sony is launching the PSP successor at the end of February as well.  Called the Vita, it very much resembles the PSP but with a ton more power.  This thing is practically a portable PS3 and the launch games actually look pretty damn good.  I’ll have a hard time resisting the urge to check it out, though I know I should.  What is absolutely guaranteed is that I’ll have no shortage of games to play.  If I ever find myself sitting on my couch with nothing to do I’ll be sure to scold myself.  Happy gaming everyone!

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