Wednesday, June 8, 2016

VGR Tron Evolution: Battle Grids

That's right, I'm not yet finished with Tron!

The Grid. A digital frontier. I kept dreaming of a world I thought I'd never see. And then, one day...

VGR: Tron: Evolution BATTLE GRIDS
From n-Space/Disney Interactive Studios
Played on Wii
Also available on Nintendo DS

Type Mini-game compilation/multiplayer
Year 2010

For the release of TRON: Legacy, Disney decided to revive the Tron license in a big way with various new tie-in materials.

After the success of
TRON 2.0 back in 2003, the new Tron game Tron: Evolution was a Prince of Persia-like inspired parkour platformer action game. A genre that was getting pretty popular recently (see also Assassin's Creed, Splinter Cell Conviction, The Saboteur, etc...)

Aiming to fill-in the gap of time between both Tron movies, following Jeff Bridge's character Kevin Flynn in the years following the liberation of The Grid in the original movie. This game taking place after the comic book
Tron: Betrayal and serves as its direct continuation.

And just like with the Ghostbusters The Video Game, a completely different stylized version of the game was developed exclusively for the Wii. Instead of going for "next gen" realistic graphics it sported cartoony graphics. The only major difference here is that instead of being two different versions of the same game, this Tron: Evolution BATTLE GRIDS follows its own story and gameplay (and visuals!).

Battle Grids is a prequel of sorts. And a minigame compilation rather than a proper single player campaign story-driven experience. The game was developed by n-Space for Disney Interactive Studios.

There also was a similar unrelated release for Nintendo DS game.

The story here actually predates the other version.

The plot revolves around this new program that just joined the competitions in The Grid (the player!).

After just meeting Quorra during a light cycles race, winning the race this program gets to go to Tron City where Quorra introduces the program to several other main characters from the films such Zuse and Tron

This program gets to do a few battles for the championship. We find out it's one of these new ISOs that have been emerging in The Grid. If the program was to ever win the championship it would be the first ISO champion! Someone to look up to for other ISOs living hidden and in seclusion.

...and that's it! There's no real plot aside from a few cutscenes using the in-game graphics. Around that you simply play a series of matches and training sessions to get qualified and participate to win the next match and move on. Moving from a race to a fight to another race.

There is a little story about how this colony of programs has been attacked, some other program threatening everyone or whatever. 

It is find out at the end that Kevin Flynn had been helping from the outside world all along (and the plot takes place before his disappearance back in 1988!).

The story mode campaign will take you through a series of Grid Games as to become "the champion of the The Grid". 

At the start of the game you get to create your own program protagonist. 

Gameplay takes the form of a series of battles you must win at all cost. And you can also explore a tiny little HUB which give you a nice little taste of the world inside The Grid, but nothing much. You can talk to other programs for more pieces of the story, but it's nothing much really. You can also collect bits scattered around these HUBs for score and more money to customize your character.

Each competition has its own gameplay. Grid Games feature Light Cycle Arena, Light Cycle Races, Disc Arena, Light Runner Arena, Light Runner Races, HyperBall and Tanks!
The main one is of course the Light Cycle arena and races. In the arena the objective is to destroy all of the the other opponents while the race are pretty simple and fun.

Playing with the Tanks or Recognizers is pretty similar, only more static and focused on destruction.

On foot it's all about the Disc Arena, a disc fight duel and or melee, and the frantic HyperBall. Think sports minigames and taking zones or panels with the disc or a ball.
The story mode is basically a long series of challenges one after the other.
And there's also cheat codes to unlock stuff.
Finally the game also allows to jump right into the Grid Games, and it's up to 4 players in a local multiplayer mode. And there's also a Championship Mode which are basically a series of games you select for several rounds.

Let it be said, Battle Grids doesn't look as nice as the other Xbox 360/PS3 version but it has a fun art style to make up for it which kinda suits the look of the Tron universe (in fact it would inspire the aesthetic of the Tron: Uprising animated series).

I kinda like how they brought back Hyperball which had never been seen in any other Tron media outside the original movie.

And most of the cast from the film returned to lend their voice to the characters such as Jansen Eckles, Bruce Boxleitner and Olivia Wilde

The music is where the game really shines. Musically it's pretty similar to Legacy, and actually it even features Daft Punk's "Derezzed" theme during the Bug minigame.

The story mode gets very laborious, it's just a succession of increasingly more difficult challenges and forced tutorial sessions.

Overall, Tron Evolution: Battle Grids is a nice little side game, but it doesn't offer much.

The game received mostly mixed reviews at the times, but I think they were too kind for once. There's not many minigames, it all gets pretty repetitive pretty fast. While the main Tron Evolution game for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 was just decent if forgettable, this Battle Grids was a very different affair. It feels like a pretty bad party game collection shovelware. And controls are kind of awkward.

The Nintendo DS Tron Evolution: Battle Grids game was supposedly based on this Wii version as well but it ended up its own separate product. Uh huh.. That means I will have to review that one as well? Dammit...
I give it:
1.5 / 3 Quacks!

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