Tron Evolution Pre-E3 Hands-On Interview

We dive into the world of Disney's new Tron game and smack some programs around.

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Tron Evolution is the upcoming game from Disney Interactive that serves as both a tie- in with the upcoming sequel and a bridge between the 1982 film and the new 2010 sequel. The game's story aims to fill in the gaps between the two movies. Propaganda Games is taking on the heady task and was on hand today to let us try out two levels on the PlayStation 3, one that showcased the exploration and combat and another that teased the light cycle racing levels. Although it was early, the game was looking sharp.

The first level we tried was titled Brave New World. It casts you as the game's main character, Anon, which also happens to be a program created by Flynn. This program is a prototype for a new system monitor program designed to combat a virus that's infecting the world. As the level opens up, you're trying to chase down a program named Quorra through the city. The level starts out slow and introduces you to the game's flashy and Prince-of-Persia-meets-Mirror's-Edge-style parkour movement. Anon can sprint, wallrun, and jump like a pro, which is essential since Quarro doesn't want to chat. Your chase becomes considerably more complicated as you venture deeper into the city and begin encountering enemies generated by the virus, which you see growing signs of. The small yellow blotches you see early on in the level get bigger and eventually start spewing out enemies that have to be dealt with. Anon isn't a pushover, thanks to some old-school skills. Like any good program in Tron, he's a Frisbee ninja.

From what we've played so far, the fighting system is very cool, fluid, and combo-friendly and is fun to play. You'll have two main attacks, a standard short-range melee punch and a long-range attack with your Frisbee. Defeating enemies yields experience points that earn you more damaging combo attacks. In addition, you'll be able to upgrade your disc attacks by hitting the D pad and even gain access to different types that do more damage. Central to this is the game's combo system, which favors and rewards chaining attacks together for some God of War-style combo counts that can stretch into the triple digits. The upgrades on your abilities (you can level up either online or offline) will be a necessary thing because you'll start encountering much tougher foes, including some that keep summoning in enemies until they're dispatched. The level ended with Anon bursting through a window and landing on the city street, and the vista offered a tease of the rich world before fading to black.

The light cycle level, dubbed Ground Zero, drops Anon behind the wheel of a light cycle for some third-person racing. The level is a basic race to avoid the monolithic recognizers that are attacking the city. The goal is to simply survive and avoid enemy programs, recognizers, and, in the last hectic run, tanks. The controls are simple: you steer with the analog stick and speed up with the L2 trigger. You must avoid the various enemy attacks, kill off enemy light cyclists, and navigate a derezzing track. The action is hectic and very Tron-like, which is just what we were hoping for. The light cycle controls are still being tweaked and were twitchier than we would have liked. The level ended as we made it to the end of the massive highway and were greeted by a mysterious female program outfitted in all white who cryptically told us that Flynn lived.

You can level up your character as you progress through the game.

The game's visuals are well in line with what we've seen of the movie and have a cool, dark look. We need to call out the slick animation of our avatar, especially during the fight sequences, because a lot of attention has clearly been paid to nailing the parkour and capoeira influences. The other standout element of the game is the cool, sprawling look of the city.

Based on this first look, Tron Evolution is headed in the right direction. The game looks sharp and has very promising gameplay. The parkour influences are a nice surprise and work well. Fans of Tron, especially those hankering for a proper game experience to live out their fantasies of kicking around the cult favorite cyberworld, look to be in for a treat. Lastly, we do know that the game will feature multiplayer for up to 10 players, but Disney isn't revealing any specifics at the moment. Tron Evolution is slated to ship later this year. Look for more on the game in the coming weeks at the Electronic Entertainment Expo and Comic-Con.

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