Back to The Grid
Battle rogue, self-aware computer programs in a breathtaking digital world in Tron: Evolution, the prequel to the spectacular Disney movie, Tron: Legacy.
Thirty years after he created The Grid, the computer software that spiralled out of control in the iconic 1982 film Tron, computer programming genius Kevin Flynn has seen his work take on a life of its own, so much so that he is now imprisoned inside his own creation. In Tron: Evolution, he must delve deep into his data archives to find out how to stop his digital city corrupting even more, freeing himself in the process.
He inserts you – a special security program called Anon – into the city to root out the cause of Flynn's incarceration, and you discover a virtual society being ripped apart by mutual distrust, and even murder, between two sets of programs: the traditional Basics, and the more advanced ISOs.
What follows is a spellbinding trip through an alternative cityscape, during which you'll find yourself locked in deadly combat with malevolent constructs and using every last megabyte of your digital dynamism to free Flynn, neatly setting up the events of Tron: Legacy.
Redrawing the lines
Tron: Evolution cleverly manages to evoke its cinematic companions through brilliant use of the Tron universe's signature flashes of colour and shape, and the result is a game just as starkly memorable – and it's all playable in incredible stereoscopic 3D to heighten the effect.
A cool and elegant neon blue theme runs throughout the game, making Tron: Evolution a truly individual videogame cityscape. From one angle, the path ahead might be nothing but a criss-crossing pattern of vertical and horizontal lines, seemingly impossible to journey along. But subtly alter your camera angle and these lines merge and realign to form the way onward – and in time you'll realise The Grid's environment is as much of a challenge as its deadly inhabitants, to be overcome using both virtual brain and digital brawn.
Thankfully Anon has been designed with impressive free running skills, allowing you to acrobatically overcome The Grid's many walls, drops and obstacles. This is a fast and free-flowing experience that catapults you from a lateral thinking puzzle to a violent showdown in seconds, its minimalist world giving the events that occur within it even greater impact.
The Tron universe started out in 1982 as a film set within the confines of a videogame. Tron: Evolution brings the series full circle by broadening horizons in a way the original movie could only dream of, thanks to the power of PlayStation 3.
Life's a glitch
Impending civil war between the established Basics and the expressive ISOs means your task is not an easy one. As you investigate The Grid to discover why Kevin Flynn has been imprisoned, the matter of freeing him is hugely complicated by programs trying to stop you disrupting the status quo.
Armed with your lethal light disc, you'll be able to cut a swathe through the enemies sent to bring you down. Instinct and skill will see you through, thanks to a combat system featuring huge scope for impressive combo chains. Shatter foes into pixel dust using moves learned as you go, such as devastating shock waves unleashed by plunging your light disc into the network, or countermoves which slash through enemy defences.
As you battle through The Grid, you'll earn experience points in the form of megabytes, which can be cashed in at special consoles to increase energy reserves, enhance your combat skills or even upgrade your trusty light cycle. The deeper you push into The Grid, the more you refine your skills – it isn't just the twisting storyline that evolves, you will too.
Discs of doom
In many ways, taking the Tron: Evolution experience online with PlayStation Network is the best way to experience the gladiatorial nature of the Tron world.
Choose between tense light disc face-offs or sprawling light cycle death races, and be prepared for a spider's web of searing neon to brand your TV screen as you go head-to-head with a foe even deadlier than The Grid's digital assassins – your own mates.
Multiplayer maps reflect the nature of the conflict you take part in. For light cycle races, in which these supersonic machines turn through 90 degrees in the blink of an eye, the maps are large enough to accommodate epic twisting and turning races, allowing plenty of opportunity to vaporise an opponent caught up in your slipstream.
Light disc maps on the other hand are intricate affairs full of tunnels, ledges and small open spaces, to allow the full range of combat to take place. Virtual plazas allow for long-range takedowns where the light disc is used as a deadly boomerang, whereas tight alleyways encourage stealthier attacks.
In all situations, nerves of steel and fighter jet reflexes are required. Tron: Evolution moves at a lightning pace – and so must you. Trip the light fantastic on PlayStation Network now.