PAX 2010: Tron: Evolution Hands-On Impressions


TRON: Evolution takes place between the original 1980 film, and the upcoming 2010 film TRON: Legacy. It acts as a bridge between the two films.

In Evolution, we start to see the downfall of TRON. There is a virus in the system, programs are at war with each other, etc. The whole place is basically falling apart (literally).

I got some hands-on time with TRON: Legacy at PAX this year, and tried out a few gameplay modes. Here’s how it went.

Platforming

TRON: Legacy features a healthy dose of platforming. You’ll be running around the massive, blue city jumping all over the place.

Here, Propaganda Games takes a play out of the Ubisoft book with a “wall running” mechanic that’s very reminiscent of Prince of Persia.

Hold RT to sprint, vault off a special slab at the edge of ledges, and jump towards the nearest wall. When you make contact, you’ll be wall-running. Push A to jump to the adjacent wall, run for a bit, A again to jump to next wall, and so on.

Occasionally, you’ll need to hold B to use your disc to latch onto a hook over the expanse below, and swing to the next available platform. Timing is extremely key in these situations, and death was pretty unforgiving.

While the platforming concept is here, it could definitely use a bit more polish. The controls are a little too touchy, which makes these sections a bit awkward.

Combat

The combat animations in TRON: Legacy have the acrobatic flair of parkour and capoeira moves. The basic controls are: A = jump, Y = power throw, X = long range throw, B = melee attack.

Holding LT puts you into “combat mode,” so you can execute stylish evades, block, do backflips, etc.

By combining these controls, you can do some pretty cool looking animations. You’ll be flipping all over the place and smashing faces with your disc. Again, though, the combat could use a bit of polish here. The controls aren’t quite as responsive as I would have liked. The template is there — it just needs to be tightened up a bit.

When you take damage, you lose “energy.” To replenish your energy, look for special blinking energy strips on walls. Do a wall-run across one of these strips, and you’ll be recharged. Pretty cool.

Multiplayer

We didn’t get to actually try out any multiplayer stuff in our brief hands-on. We did get to hear how it works though.

Like most games, you can enter multiplayer modes from the game‘s main menu. However, you can also access multiplayer from within the single-player campaign.

Approach a “kiosk,” and you’ll be given the option to warp up into the “grid,” where you’ll be thrust into multiplayer mode with other players. There, you can seamlessly take a break from the single-player game and engage in some competitive multiplayer.

Light Cycle Sequences

This was far and away my favorite part of TRON: Evolution. We were able to play through a fairly extended sequence in which you’re racing through the city on a light cycle, while the city is literally falling apart around you, and bad guys are fast on your tail.

RT accelerates, and LT breaks. That’s pretty much all you need. It’s simple, fast and exhilarating. You’ll need to go over insane jumps as the road falls apart, and of course avoid enemy light cycle streams as they try and crisscross in front of you.

If you’re feeling aggressive, you can push X to throw your disc at enemies.

Final World

TRON: Evolution has a lot of potential. The combat is flashy and fun, and the light cycle sequence was a blast.

If Propaganda Games can just tighten up the controls and platforming stuff overall, it’ll rock.

TRON: Evolution hits December 7, 2010 for practically every console.

Excited for TRON: Evolution? Check out our step-by-step Game Guide!

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