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Tron: Evolution

Platform(s): Movie, Nintendo DS, PC, PSP, PlayStation 3, Wii, Xbox 360
Genre: Action
Publisher: Disney Interactive Studios
Developer: Propaganda Games
Release Date: Dec. 7, 2010 (US), Nov. 26, 2010 (EU)


PS3/X360/PC Preview - 'Tron: Evolution'

by Erik "NekoIncardine" Ottosen on July 25, 2010 @ 3:00 a.m. PDT

Set during the era between the two TRON films, Tron: Evolution conveys the story of significant events within the TRON mythology. The game features an epic adventure across a massive digital world filled with high-mobility disc-based combat and advanced light cycles.

"Tron: Legacy" is coming to theatres soon, and Disney is working on taking full advantage with two distinct video games. Surprisingly, neither game is a rehash of the film; in fact, the main console game, Tron: Evolution, will be telling a separate plot, get its own marketing push, and is being treated distinctly from the film.

The game takes place between the first and second films; details beyond that were a little less clear, especially with the Propaganda Games representatives being strongly focused on the gameplay. Fortunately, the gameplay holds up, taking a known genre (in line with the God of War series) and making twists all its own.

The protagonist finds himself faced with two separate threats: the orange programs of the MCP are out to stop you, and there are also yellow virus programs in the fray. Even when faced with the hero, the two programs actively attack each other, making battles into crazy three-way fights whenever both showed up on-screen at once. Fortunately, the character is armed with a highly variable tool: his disc, which comes in several variants and can be held in three distinct stances, each with a different purpose.

Most combat will be centered on the Combo style, which smoothly mixes the two basic attack buttons — melee and throw — to go through enemies, one after the other, in a vein similar to the recent Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands. The Sprint style doesn't offer nearly as strong of an attack array but allows you to go across fields, wall-running and climbing like nobody's business. Surprisingly, the physics are more realistic than one would expect from Tron. You quickly learn to tell what you can and can't pull off. Finally, the Block style allows you to block and charge up devastating special attacks that can wreck the environment. The switch between all three was reasonably fluid and easy to get into, but in the demo, the rep tended to use only one style at a time.

While they noted that RPG-like character development systems were in place, the details weren't shown off on-floor at E3.

By far the biggest thing about Tron: Evolution is the graphics, which neatly capture Tron's distinctive visual style. Although they've gained detail over time, the environments are simplistic but surprisingly full, with digital plants bringing color to the black walls and wall lightings (which Anon can break to regain life) keeping the style from feeling too dark. Characters have smooth, detailed animations, providing a flow that reminded me positively of Batman: Arkham Asylum, but much, much faster.

While the demo also had sections about the series' signature Light Cycles, I didn't have time to see the segment before jetting off to my next appointment. From others, I've heard that the results were similarly manic and smooth, capturing the Tron style neatly by not being a straight racing level as much as a survival challenge.

Disney's recent streak of high-grade games, which even extends to above-par film-based games, shouldn't end with Tron: Evolution. People who want a strong mix of Prince of Persia and God of War should look forward to the game's release alongside the film, "Tron Legacy."

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