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Eurogamer has TRON: Evolution blowout


Aug 12, 2009
Hands on


As is the current trend for movie tie-ins, TRON: Evolution steers well clear of the film itself and seeks to carve out its own niche while fleshing out a broader mythology for its host fiction.

It's a prequel, in other words, and quite a distant one at that, set in 1989 "in the Gregorian calendar". It will be released before the film at the end of this year, and its events will be referenced in the film script as an Easter egg of sorts for TRON fanboys.

It's set entirely in the Grid, the story illustrating "a series of seismic events in the universe" that take it from Kevin Flynn's utopian vision to the dystopia of Legacy. It attempts to reverse-engineer the Legacy look - or evolve that of the original TRON - to show where the fantasy virtual world of humanoid programs had got to in 1989.

As retro-futurism goes that's an awkward balancing act, and you'd have to say it's ended up closer to Legacy, but it doesn't really matter: stark, minimal and elegant, with clear colour-coding of every enemy and friend, it's pure TRON.
That simplicity and restraint carries through to the on-foot gameplay. As the "next generation of System Monitor" created by TRON to fight living malware, platforming and combat - inspired, we're told, by parkour and capoeira - is extremely fluid, thanks to a stripped-down, logical control layout with interesting permutations and combinations.

Holding down the right trigger puts the System Monitor into a sprint, enabling him to vault and wall-run anywhere in the environment (even though the interaction points are very clearly labelled in this deliberately tutorialised demo).

The A button (on Xbox 360) jumps. Thanks to these and the necessarily simple and flat-faced geometry of the Grid, it's easy to string together graceful and flowing platforming runs.

Then you have two attack buttons, which launch a melee strike or an auto-targeted ranged throw of your boomerang-like light disc. These are modified by being used in a neutral stance, while sprinting, or while guarding by holding down the left trigger. Finally, you can assign a third special attack - in the demo, an explosive disc - to Y.
Unusually for a game of this type, there are no combos to learn, and simply button-mashing your way through the small, agile groups of enemies doesn't really help either.

Combat in TRON: Evolution is a game of light tactics, managing the space around you and your stances. That ties in neatly with the fact that health and energy (both in pretty short supply) are charged up by performing parkour moves in certain lit areas.
Defeated enemies yield XP. Yes, TRON: Evolution, along with every other game released in 2010, has a levelling system. There are 20 levels' worth of it in the single-player, extended to 50 by taking part in the competitive multiplayer, which supports both on-foot and vehicular combat.

However, your character is persistent across both, and any levelling done in multiplayer can be brought back into the story mode. As well as improving your attacks, new levels will yield new toys like the explosive light disc.
With muted sound and effects in this build of the Unreal 3-engined game, it doesn't carry the sense of speed it should, the light-bike's handling lacks any kind of feel, and the rather digital trial-and-error of dodging the hazards along the course keeps killing the momentum, rather than keeping you teetering on the brink.
udged as a movie tie-in, TRON has some promise, not least because it has the luxury of its own time-frame and getting to look to videogame rivals for inspiration rather than shoe-horning a film plot into videogame form. As an action-adventure, there's a solid and thoughtful basis to build from here, too.

As a TRON fan's dream though - as a chance to step into that virtual world burned into our retinas all of 28 years ago - it's still got a way to go.



GAF's Bob Woodward
Jun 8, 2004
Some talk about 3D implementation on PS3:


Walt Disney Co.'s game will be released in digital, or "stereoscopic," 3-D for the PlayStation 3. It's one of the first games released with the new technology that has become so popular in Hollywood after the success of James Cameron's movie "Avatar."
In the case of Tron, Disney-owned development studio Propaganda Games has a team that has ranged between 15 and 20 people working for about five months to add 3-D elements to the game.

Given the minuscule number of televisions bought by consumers so far that are capable of displaying 3-D images, it's an investment that won't immediately pay off.

"There's obviously an initial cost in developing any new technology and 3-D is no different," said Darren Hedges, head of Propaganda. "Disney has been very cognizant of embracing new 3-D technology with movies like 'Alice,' with ESPN and with video games. We want to be a leader and we want to make sure we do it right the first time."
I'm actually fairly surprised at the 3D interest from third parties so far this E3. I pretty much expected no support.