Tron : Evolution review

I’ve played Tron Evolution a long while back, but it was also my first try of a 3D TV gaming experience. While I liked the game, I liked the motion sickness a lot less, which is why it took me so long to try the game again. And here we are!

First time player experience

Movement tutorial

I experienced many tiny frustrations at the start of the game:

  • Not being able to try all buttons right from the start to figure out the controls by myself
  • I couldn’t make out the voices, the audio balance didn’t work for me, so I had to turn on subtitles to follow the dialogues
  • I felt a bit confused about what to do at first, but it lasted only seconds

Smooth controls and movement

Generally, the first experience is satisfying. The movements are very fluid and smooth, I’m not super precise, but that will come with experience. The fast pace of the game is very empowering. Combat is equally fluid. The basics are easy to pick up, but promising depth and a challenge to master all the techniques and possible combos.

Promising story

The story is intriguing too, and the bits of narrative raise quite some questions. While the story is engaging and I’m usually a big fan of story driven adventures, RPGs and deep characters, I’m much more excited by the movement and combat gameplay here. Just running around and fighting ennemies is pretty fun in itself.

Repetitive already

Instant death when falling off a skyscraper wall feels a bit repetitive already. This is emphasised because checkpoints become also more scarce as I progress.

I prefer levels where I just fall on a lower floor if I fail a jump. I still feel I don’t control my movements perfectly. I’d like it to be less punishing this early in the game.

Unhelpful tutorials

The tutorials don’t work well with my learning style, and I’d like to watch other players to see if it accommodates theirs better.

Breaking momentum

Tutorials pause the game when they appear, which breaks my momentum even when practising simple movements. I feel relatively comfortable with this type of controls, so I get frustrated when the tutorial slows me down.

When I do reach a more complicated moved, it’s a different story.

Preventing experimentation

For example, when the game teaches you to hold RT to chain mobility moves. First, I was unsettled by the tutorial breaking my momentum as before. I also ended moving up instead of forwards. I tried to run from afar towards the wall, hoping it helps me align better with it, but the repeated tutorial interruption prevented me from trying different strategies and experiment with the controls to understand what I’m doing wrong.

Unhelpful explanations

When the tutorial re-appears after I fail and retry, it reminds me of the goal and controls. Unfortunately, my issue is with execution, and not being able to experiment as I want with it. It feels a bit like being teased.

Titanfall 2 has improved greatly on this type of tutorial, allowing the player to mess experiment with the controls at their own pace. I’m still confused why so few titles invest in making great tutorials despite the large amount of examples, best practices and feedback available across games.

Help to improve or discourage from trying?

After 2 hours, I hit a level that I struggled a bit more with. I don’t see dying and retrying as a bad thing as long as I learn from it. I wanted to take a break and try again later with a fresh perspective.

When I selected quit, the game asked me if it’s a little too challenging for me, and suggested I lower the difficulty.

Flash back to my teenage years. The boys made fun of my lack of twin stick capability when I first tried Return to Castle Wolfenstein on console. Minutes later, a boy struggles just like me and the others help him instead of making fun. I decided console shooters weren’t for me. Consoles in general for that matter. I stuck to PC gaming for the next 10 years.

While I’m sure the developers meant to be helpful, I felt insulted.

If the game can ask me if it’s too hard, it means it can somehow identify that I’m struggling. If the game knows I’m struggling, I wish it’d help me get better instead of encourage me to give up. Would lowering the difficulty make it easier to master the controls? Would it replace skyscrapers with interior maps to make falling less punishing? Would it add more checkpoints in between to retry faster? My guess is it would just make the combat more boring without fixing any of my movement issues.

I might play on sometime, but right now I have more inviting games to finish first.

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