Yessir, fathers will play TRON 2.0, because they are old and their futures hold nothing
They’re Back is a page of nostalgia, and Tron 2.0 is a nostalgia Battenberg, encased in rose-tinted marzipan, shot through with a misty checkerboard of saccharin memory sponge. It was even touted as the genuine sequel to the movie. A mere game, taking the narrative baton from that most ultimate of media, the movie? Such mad optimism wouldn’t be repeated until Dan Ackroyd waxed full Molyneux about the rubbish 2009 Ghostbusters game. The Tron name is just the beginning of the nostalgia. There’s a long, chatty tutorial, which takes you through all the movements perfectly obvious to anyone who’s played a game before. Patience-stretching tutorials are a warm pastblaster, from that era when no one knew not to bloody well do them. And remember when games wouldn’t just work? Well, Tron 2.0 offered me a modern take on that experience too, with Windows 10’s User Account Control locking me into an endless confirmation loop. It brought a tear to an old man’s eye.
I had to scan the Steam Community page and patch it, using a small .exe file that I’d downloaded from a site I had no particular reason to trust. For a game that features anthropomorphic viruses corrupting a computer system, this felt like a sophisticated preparatory metagame. (Or a desaturated, out-of-focus evening in 1993, fannying about with autoexec.bat trying fix an IRQ conflict in Soundblaster. This nostalgia biscuit is getting soggy.)
Once you’re in the game, the classique F5/ F9 quicksave system nicely complements a world in which dropping off a platform, or slinging your disc into the face of a friendly program, can trigger an instant game over, forcing you to quickload last time you bothered to tap F5. This took me right back to the days when I’d joyfully take my keyboard in both hands and try to chew the vowels out of it. There are also light cycles, but you don’t even need to win that to progress, which is a tacit admission of the unplayable clunkiness of the over-the-shoulder camera.
Maybe that patch file was applied not to my computer, but to me
There’s even a terrible stealth section, where the enemies spot you from across the room. This evokes so many other bad stealth sections in so many other games, that my nostalgia circuits are becoming overburdened. I am malfunctioning. Maybe that patch file was applied not to my computer, but to me. I’m the Colonel, at the end of Metal Gear Solid 2. Something’s certainly wrong, because despite everything, I’m enjoying this.
Could it all be nostalgia? Or is it because Tron 2.0 still feels like a flawed but visually unique shooter, pleasingly alien by today’s standards? Is it because Monolith’s strength as a storyteller allows the bad platforming and stealthing to hang like flaps of tolerable meat from an impressive neon skeleton? Is it the weapons, as inventive as anything Monolith made in its colourful pre- FEAR phase? Yes. Let’s explain it like this: nostalgia is a sinister and dishonest form of living death. Tron 2.0 may be flawed, but it’s better than that.
Rocking that retro Geordi La Forge aesthetic.
Who needs textures, with edges like this.
Be a good user, chmod your privilege.