IGN Preview of Tron: Evolution
It's been nearly 30 years since the release of the Tron in theaters. Now it's time for a new generation to experience the beloved series. Tron: Legacy, the upcoming film, is a true sequel to Tron that takes place a few decades after the original. The game, Tron: Evolution, is the bridge between the first film and the second, telling the story of what happened to the digital realm over the past 20-odd years.
Tron: Evolution isn't what you might be expecting. It's more Mirror's Edge than brawler. Yes, I said Mirror's Edge. Tron: Evolution makes use of parkour moves – you know, the crazy run-up-walls gravity-defying stuff. It's easy to do and makes for a stylish looking game. As you run around the world of Tron, you can run along walls and vault off surfaces. It's fairly simple in execution (not nearly as involved as Mirror's Edge), but it beats walking from one room to the next on your way to beating the crap out of people.
Don't get me wrong, you're still progressing towards moments when you lay the smack down on enemies, but at least it's a little more enjoyable than normal. The combat is fast and fluid and makes use of the famed Tron disc. This disc is a neon Frisbee that takes down enemies from range. Combine that with some quick and brutal melee strikes, the ability to vault into the air and strike from on high, and you've got some solid elements to make for a good combat system.
The combat is pretty easy, with the usual cast of non-descript enemies coming at you in waves. The AI seems basic, at least in the demo, but the combat moves so quickly that I never really had time to worry about the lack of complexity.
One thing that should add some depth is the upgrade system. You can get new tweaks to your disc, allowing you to switch to things like a Heavy Disc or a Bomb Disc. The Bomb Disc is really the way to go, as it causes a colorful explosion and some massive damage when the disc hits. This isn't something you can use non-stop, but instead is a special move that takes a bit of time to recharge. Though I didn't get to see any more of the available upgrades, there will be more varieties, including some stuff that will boost the power of your Light Cycle.
And yes, it wouldn't be a Tron game without the Light Cycle. Visually, the Cycle section I saw looked great. The Light Cycle leaves behind a colored wall, which can mean death to your opponents. The demo only showed the very beginnings of a Light Cycle battle, as two opponents on yellow Cycles tried to nudge me out. Tapping the wall didn't instantly kill me, but just bounced me off. And unlike the old arcade Tron game, the Cycles don't turn at 90 degree angles, so walls curve naturally as a Cycle follows the road.
It wasn't long before I'd passed my opponents and taken off on a very long ride along the highway. As enemy attacks destroyed sections of the road, I had to navigate potholes and make some jumps. I wish I could say this lengthy section was exhilarating, but in reality it was slow and uninteresting.
Light Cycles are a key part of Tron. The parkour elements are nice, the combat is good, but it's not a successful Tron game if the Cycle portions aren't spot-on. Tron: Evolution is set for release at the end of the year, meaning developer Propaganda has plenty of time to turn this from boring to thrilling. It needs to feel competitive and dangerous. And the Cycles need a definitely kick in speed.
Tron: Evolution is being given more attention than your typical movie-licensed game. If the Light Cycle segments turn out right, then this could be one of the surprise games of this winter.
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