Tron 2.0

Yes­sir, fathers will play TRON 2.0, be­cause they are old and their fu­tures hold noth­ing

PC GAMER (UK) - - Contents -

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.

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