PAX 2010: Tron: Evoultion

1379151-tron_evolution_03_superThe first thing I remember when I think of Tron is the light cycles.

I remember in the movie the kids playing in the arcade and challenging each other to the death while racing on the light cycles. Although this film came out before I was born, it is in my extensive movie collection. Classic.

When I saw the Tron booth at PAX, I’m sure my eyes grew wide and I was giddy like a 10 year old.

Damn, it man. Control yourself. After all, you’re the media!

We got a great firsthand look at the game and even got to play it for ourselves. The story continues the original movie from the 80s and puts us 20 years down the road. Another threat comes into “The Grid:” A virus. Remember what Agent Smith was able to do in The Matrix? Imagine that, but instead of the virus taking over instantly, it’s a slow process that ultimately kills programs or infects them to turn into a viral army to take over the Grid.

The characters portrayed in the game are all in the new movie Tron: Legacy, coming out December 17. The game features the voice of Olivia Wilde, who plays Quorra in the movie and in the game. Your character, Anon (which stands for “anonymous”), is infected with a virus. It is your mission to get rid of the virus from your program and wipe the Grid clean from other infected programs as the virus spreads.

Gameplay is from a third-person perspective and is a mix of action/RPG and racing game. Your “identity disc” is how you attack the infected programs and “derez” them. This disc holds all the information about you in the Grid. Think of it as your life’s history but recorded in real-time on a disc you carry with you.

With your disc, you can use a basic throwing attack or you can attach a specific mode of damage with it when it hits another program. These modes include area attacks like explosive damage. You also have access to the “baton,” which lets you create the light cycles and melee weapons like swords and staffs in the Grid. There are also blocking combinations, “light grenades,” and group attacks available.

The game we got to demo at PAX was us playing as Anon as we tried to find a way to delete the virus from our program. We encountered infected programs along the way and the “identity disc” took care of them rather well. Healing yourself can occur from either taking cover from the infected programs or by wall running (similar to what you can do in Mirrors Edge.)

After defeating some enemies, a new style of play was presented: Figuring out how to get from one tower to another in the Grid. This was done by looking for arrow-like icons on the walls around you. Build up sprint speed, jump, and connect with the wall and run along it, then jump when you see the next set of arrows. Once you run out of arrows, you will see an object that looks like a dark orange sun, we could throw our identity disc. This allows the disc to latch on and pull you up onto another ledge. It was challenging and simple at the same time, once you learned how to use the run-and-jump system.

There were also puzzles that involved lasers, gaps, and wall climbing.

The fun didn’t stop there, though. We were also able to experience the “light cycle” racing!

The demo focused on track-style racing with the track constantly under barrage from the tanks and other infected light-cycle racers. They would try to use their light walls to cut you off and derez you or make you take a route that runs you off the track and fall to your death. Fear not, you can attack back. Use your identity disc while you are driving and throw it at them to derez them and motor on towards the finish. If you were able to get your hands on a copy of Split Second, you’ll instantly notice some similarities here. Who doesn’t love some chaos while you’re racing?

To top off your Tron: Evolution experience, Propaganda Games created a Tron Controller that lights up blue along the edge and the buttons, just like if it was taken straight out of the Grid.

Grab your baton and make sure you dust off your identity disc, because where we’re going, there won’t be any friendly windows to look through.

Tron: Evolution
Propaganda Games/Disney Interactive Studios
Available December 7
Playstation 3, PSP, Xbox 360, Nintendo Wii, Nintendo DS, and PC

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