As most of you probably know by now, Twisted Metal is back and it’s more gruesome and utterly bad-ass then ever before. I know this because I scored some hands-on time with the title at Sony’s E3 booth. Suffice to say, it was more of what the fans have grown accustomed to and they wouldn’t have it any other way.

I entered the roped-off area where 6 different PS3s were running. I went to the one on the far end and grabbed a headset that had been broken in half; I had to tilt my head to the right in order to keep it on because I needed to hear some audio from the much anticipated title. We were put through a quick briefing of the controls and then were thrown in to a team death-match mode.

There were a few different vehicles in the demo: a tow truck, an ambulance, a battle-ready motorcycle, a bad-ass looking helicopter, a pest-control van and a standard car that had been braced for the oncoming onslaught with metal plates. Each vehicle handled differently and I chose the standard  car to start the game off.

Twisted Metal Screenshot

The first thing I noticed when the game started was how odd it was holding the “square” button as the gas. I kept screwing up because I have become so accustomed to holding the right trigger or “X” buttons to drive anywhere in almost every racing game. After a minute or so I adjusted, but was not in good shape. The “R1” and “L1” buttons were used to scroll through the weapons you had at your disposal, the “L2” button would lay down a steady stream of machine gun fire, and the “R2” button was used to fire special weapons (i.e. rockets, heavy machine gun bursts, old people launched out of the back of the ambulance strapped with dynamite, etc.).

The steering was pretty decent; I found it extremely responsive and anytime I wanted to pull an illegal U-turn I just tapped the “X” button and my car flung right around so that I could finish off a struggling opponent. There was one problem I found while driving however, in the map I played there was a giant pile of rubble in the middle of the map that many players were getting some pretty awesome air off of. I thought I would join in on the fun and built up some speed as I reached the top of the pile, only to randomly get shot backwards and cartwheeling through the air. It was like I had hit the Incredible Hulk — an invisible Incredible Hulk. But that was the only technical glitch I found in the early demo, so I’m sure that will be addressed long before its release date.

Twisted Metal Screenshot 2

Twisted Metal’s graphics were nice and shiny and ran at a solid 30 frames per second, which easily caught all of the mayhem that was simultaneously happening on screen. The city level had a lot of depth to it that really made the game feel like this city was going through hell. Pedestrians and innocent drivers’ cars were all over the place and you actually gained points by running them over! Twisted Metal is a twisted game, but now it’s twisted and beautiful.

Twisted Metal has been given a 2011 release date, and I can’t wait to get my hands on the final build of Sweet Tooth in all his high-res glory.

Are you pumped for the new Twisted Metal? Anything else you would like to know from our hands-on impression of the title?