Publisher: Buena Vista Games
Release Date: November 9, 2004
Tron 2.0: Killer App is one of the best forays into the world of a movie. In 2.0, the player is a child of the father from the original Tron movie, and he is pulled into the computer world via laser to stop a viral infection. I know, since it happens all the time in our machine room. Each time we have a database problem, we fire up the ol’ laser and go to town on the evil that is in our systems.
For people around my age, Tron was the movie that introduced most of the gaming world to computer animation. Tron 2.0 has kept to the clean lines and design of the original concept, and the HDTV capability just makes it that much more amazing to look at.
This is actually a series based off of a movie, and it sure looks like it, and I mean that in the best possible way. The Tron games are one of those special series that does not suffer from bad quality simply because of its star-crossed origins.
Some of the computer puns are bad, so bad that even computer science majors will slam their heads in the wall. For example, the guide through this game is Byte, and takes offense to being called a "Bit," but these tacky puns are luckily few and far in between. Mostly, the game pushes the storyline along with in-game information and cut scenes, which were done in the game engine and brings together a kind of continuity.
Tron 2.0 is a graphical wonder piece; the player will find himself or herself lost in a wonderful world of elegant design and simple lines. The wonderful goodness that is my HDTV glows with the computer world, and the best thing is that the glow can be turned off in the options screen, making life wonderful after a night of adult beverages and karaoke.
Controls to this game are as streamlined as the game itself. There are two distinctive parts to the game: driving and fps. The fps part is the standard Xbox layout, as pioneered by Halo. Driving is a different beast, but what else is to be expected? The triggers control the right and left turns, leaving the rest of the controller for camera and speed controls. The cycles take a little practice to master, but they are a blast.
Various upgrades, like weapons or armor, are controlled by software that is discovered throughout the game, and each system has a limited amount of memory within which the upgrades can be loaded. A program can be one of three types of quality: alpha, beta, and gold. As the player goes from alpha to beta or beta to gold, the program becomes more powerful and smaller. The size decrease allows more programs to be loaded into the limited slots.
Aurally, the game is just as amazing. This game has a driving soundtrack and relatively realistic sound effects done in wonderful Dolby Digital. With roaring explosions and light pitter patter of stealthy feet, this game makes for a decent audio experience.
Level design is greatly streamlined in this game, and there has been an obvious effort to make anything vaguely annoying either non-existent or optional. For example, the jumping puzzles were optional and very easy, and the AI was very intelligent. On the higher difficulty levels, the AI will downright hunt the player down at their house, kick in the door, and kill them. It is ugly.
The game is fairly linear, giving the main campaign little replay value, except for the option of increasing the difficulty level during the second go-round. The jump between difficulty levels can actually be quite significant.
The multiplayer consists of the standard Xbox Live type, with death match and objective games. There is a decent amount of maps, and each one is not of the cookie cutter variety. The layouts can make for some fast, ugly combat between opponents online. The most interesting concept to the Tron 2.0 implementation of XBL is the concept of classes. There are four major types: a defender, a combat heavy, a sniper, and an infiltrator. The infiltration class is the most interesting type, with the ability to actually change the color of the character to match the other team. The only issue with the multiplayer was the lack of any games online. More people are interested in playing Halo 2 right now, so it limits the amount of people in other games.
Tron 2.0 is a solid game built by loving hands. Obviously, the developers, when deciding to port this title to the Xbox from the PC, took their time and studied what could be done to improve the gaming experience. This is the sign of quality game crafting and design, so I have to tip my hat to Climax Entertainment for a job well done.
I would recommend this to anyone looking for a solid multiplayer title with some decent action to it. Although it is a strong title in its own right, Tron 2.0 might be hurt by the major title releases this quarter. I would go for some of the bigger titles first, but I would not be ashamed to own this one.