If any of you have been following the site for some time and have read my rubbish you probably know that I’m a huge TRON fan. In fact most of the Shogun staff are huge fans of TRON but I’m probably the most hardcore out of the bunch. If a full replica TRON suit was available, of the original or the sleek & sexy new one, I guarantee I would have that thing in my apartment day 1 of release proudly displayed on a mannequin which would stand next to the TRON poster I have in my apartment. Yeah, it may seem like my fandom is more of an obsession but I just love myself some TRON.
So I was rather excited to get my hands on TRON: Evolution, the video game tie-in of the upcoming TRON sequel TRON: Legacy. We all know most games based on movies aren’t exactly the best of the bunch but I of course held out hope that TRON: Evolution would buck the trend. After playing the E3 demo I can’t exactly say I’m still behind my initial hopes but they’ve yet to be completely derezzed at this moment.
Available to us lucky E3 attendees was a two stage demo which featured standard platforming/combat and a lightcycle level. I’m going to have you wait for my lightcycle impressions as I’ll discuss the standard 3rd person combat first. After a brief story introduction I found myself in the new world of TRON. Filled with elements that are familiar yet still new it was something special to see fellow Programs walk around and be able to explore TRON City a bit. But on the gameplay side of things and how everything is executed I was slightly underwhelmed.
Like most action games these days TRON: Evolution will feature some platforming sections which takes inspiration from Prince of Persia. It’s almost to the point that some of the platforming looks, key word being looks, like PoP with my character doing wall running back and forth. But the platforming didn’t exactly feel all too fluid and each jump I made didn’t have a satisfactory feel to it as my character grasped the ledge of each jump I made. I also won’t gripe on it too much but the platforming section in the demo was also marred by some peculiar A.I. who would at times act oddly when I was close and it was to the point where I found it to be distracting as it took me out of the experience.
Switching to the combat side of things I was relatively happy with how the iconic TRON Identity Discs are handled. Like all Game Grid warriors you have an Identity Disc which you can throw at deadly Programs who wish to end your cycle. Throwing the Identity Disc is easy and waiting for it to come back to you is short so combat has a nice flow to it. There are also special Identity Discs in the game such as a bomb based one which sticks to Programs and once you press the triangle button they go boom. I was impressed with some of the combat animations which had the player doing some slick jumps and flips between derezzing Programs. But I’m still worried that by the 4th hour the combat may become a bit stale as it was easy to mow through 8 enemies. Sure, tougher Programs will stand in your way but I doubt they’ll be much of a problem for experienced Game Grid warriors. And yes, I’m talking about actual gamers of the real world kind and not the imaginary digital kind.
Being a TRON fan the ideal of stepping behind a lightcycle was something that may me feels like a kid on Christmas Day. But after going through a lightcyle stage in the game I’m a bit disappointed. Maybe it’s because of what was offered to us but the lightcylce stage was just unexciting and pretty basic. Set on a massive road in TRON City, the stage had our masked hero battling fellow lightcycle riders as he dodges debris caused by Recognizers blowing up buildings and the road itself. The main problem I had with the lightcylce stage is that it’s easy to take out enemies on lightcycles and there’s not much to do aside from avoiding stuff which can be easily avoided. Riding down a long stretch of TRON City was certainly nice from a visual standpoint and establishing a vibe but other than that it failed to set my TRON fandom ablaze with excitement, save for the last section featuring a command cruiser, probably Clu 2.0’s, as it decimates the city.
I’m not ready to push Esc on TRON: Evolution just yet as I’m hoping it’s just a matter of simple stages being shown off in the demo. We’ve been promised a variety of different Identity Discs and special abilities and of course none of those were shown off in the demo. But playing the game I couldn’t help but feel the all too familiar vibe that this is clearly a game meant to be a movie tie-in instead of a huge full-fledged game set in the TRON universe. TRON fans will probably dig what the game offers but at this stage it’s still a “wait and see” moment to see if TRON: Evolution will be something special or another “Enter the Matrix.”