Many people remember Tron from its original movie back in 1982, so the upcoming movie release of Tron : Legacy has already gotten many fans into a tizzy. But what should fans think of Tron : Evolution? I'll admit I never watched the 1982 film nor did I initially care about the upcoming movie release, but after playing the game I have a strong urge to watch both flicks and see what all the rage is all about.
T:E is the third-person continuation of the original Tron movie, explaining what happened to the utopia world from 1982, and continues to explain why the upcoming movie is now so dark and sinister. It is the equivalent to Star Wars' Clone Wars animated series, allowing people to see in detail and understand something that happened between the movies, except in T:E's case you take part in the action itself. Thanks to their both having been situated in Vancouver, Propaganda Games was able to work more closely with the filmmakers than most game designers/filmmakers normally can, resulting with a stronger and potentially tighter tie-in between movie and game than we are used to.
In T:E, you've been sent into the grid by Kevin Flynn, where you're responsible as a system monitor to figure out what kind of virus has been plaguing the system and how to stop it. Your character Anon, short for 'anonymous' so you may personify the character as your own, starts in a plaza at the beginning of the game where a dotted line of sorts leads you to a building where your training begins. Within a minute you're following a stream of dotted lines that lead you to parcour along walls, launch yourself off platforms, and all the while the instructions on how to do so pop up on the bottom of the screen without it taking away from the experience itself. The movements are fairly smooth, making you feel like a veteran in no time, and the bonus of in-game action slow-mo shots to enhance the epicness of certain moves adds to the fun.
You and your allies are all neon blue, so it's easy to spot the neon yellow viral enemies who periodically appear to try and destroy you. Attacks are numerous and fun to implement, and if you're ever in a pinch and can't remember how to do a certain move the pause screen has a move reference page where they're all described along with how to do them. When you 'die' a screen pops up glazing over the idea by calling it a 'reboot' instead, leaving the player feeling anything but defeated. You can install upgrades as you go at upgrade stations, which can boost particular stats or even improve your weapon, and in turn really customize your character as your own. For the upgrade-collectors out there be warned, you can't get every upgrade in the game; this has been purposely done to promote the player to choose exactly what they want their character to specialize in. You can also buy new bikes, augments for the different weapons, amongst many other things to choose from.
I tried a level on the lightcycle and once I understood the controls I was off into a fast-paced race full of explosions and shifting scenery similar to Split/Second, keeping me on the tips of my pedals as I tried to avoid these dangers while also throwing my trusty lightdisc at enemies on the way. The faster I went the blurrier the scenery became, adding the 'fast' feeling to the race. The road has barriers along its sides so instead of driving over the edge and into oblivion you simply bounce back into the action, but if you hit an explosion or launch your cycle into the air and into a newly cracked crevice then you're rebooted. Apparently there will be a tank available in the game as well, but it was unavailable to play at the time.
T:E can be played online with up to ten players and four modes to choose from: Disintegration which is basically a Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch, Power Monger where you take over sections and then control them, and Bit Runner which is a new take on Capture the Flag where you hold onto it for dear life as long as you can while everyone else tries to kill you instead of bringing it back to 'home base'. A great concept the developers added is what they describe as 'persistent character progression.' It's the ability to level up and upgrade in the story-mode, bring your upgraded Anon online for further development of your character, and then bringing all that progress back with you to the story-mode. Not only can you have a fully customized Anon representing you in both the story-mode as well as the online world, but none of your efforts will feel wasted thanks to the game keeping all your stats with you wherever you may go.
Tron : Evolution will be released on the Xbox 360, Wii, NDS, PC, and PSP, and will have stereoscopic 3D available exclusively on the PS3. If you wish to take advantage of the 3D aspect it will require the specialized TV as well as glasses, but it has a chance of looking great thanks to the bright colours and lighting, and the clean, angular environments will help with the ability to perceive depth in the 3D experience. In addition T:E will support the PlayStation Move in the vehicle segments, especially when it comes to the lightcycle. The ability to feel like you're holding the control panel of the cycle will add to the fun while simultaneously giving you more control as you drive.
Overall, Tron : Evolution leaves no doubt that it's worthy of proclaiming itself as an action/adventure. Will it hold up for Tron fans? That's for you to decide when it comes out December 7th 2010, giving gamers some time to play through the game and be in-the-know story-wise before the movie comes out in time for the holidays.