Twisted Metal: An Example Of Paying Homage To Fans
No, it isn't perfect. But Twisted Metal is a perfect example. It's an example of how to pay tribute to a loyal fanbase, and how to please those fans without making a lot of unnecessary and irksome changes.
While many say the graphics could've or should've been better, and it's true that I still can't find a control setup I'm 100% happy with, the fact remains: this is Twisted Metal, through and through. Even though they altered one major element - characters aren't tied to specific vehicles now - the game still manages to retain every last shred of atmosphere, style, and dark, gritty theme that made previous entries so brutally...singular.
Normally, this wouldn't be a surprising occurrence. It wasn't surprising at all in the last generation. But this generation, so many developers (most all of them Japanese, but that's another subject) have decided to change winning formulas to garner new followers. There's an inherent critical flaw in this philosophy, however: you're not supposed to change what makes a product great; you're only supposed to improve upon it. Too many designers haven't understood this concept, or maybe they just didn't know where the line was between "fundamental alteration" and "upgrade."
Twisted Metal isn't supposed to be anything but Twisted Metal. Of course, the fans are allowed to - and in fact, should - expect upgrades and enhancements with each successive iteration, but they're fans for a reason. If they wanted completely different gameplay, they wouldn't be fans of this particular game, now would they? Making a product better keeps the old fans while simultaneously appealing to potential future fans. Changing the product entirely alienates all the followers you worked so hard to earn, and apparently on the off chance that you'll be able to claim a completely different group of followers. That, I guess, is the idea.
It just makes zero sense. But leave it up to David Jaffe and Co. to understand that a series should remain within itself. It should get better, and improvements can always be made, but it should never try to be something it isn't. Not only is that counterproductive, it's annoying. There. Just wanted to say this. And if you're a TM fan, buy Twisted Metal. It's what you've always loved.
2/16/2012 9:06:36 PM Ben Dutka