Saturday, March 12, 2011

From the ashes of bad games

I know I said that someone needs to slap the shit out of me if I have anything nice to say about Tron, but hear me out. Yes, it is little more than a Prince of Persia rip off as imagined by Daft Punk, featuring long, pointless platforming sections that made me wonder why the super advanced programs never got around to inventing jet packs. Combat boils down to abusing one or two powerful moves and then running like a fool to vault over objects and recharge your power; whoever thought that flinging yourself over a day glow lamp post was the best way to get to use you super attacks again needs to be locked back in their sensory deprivation and never let out again. And yes, every level looks very much the same. Well, the same aside from one being blue and another being green. There was one with rocks, but they were green, too. They even screwed up the light cycle levels, turning what could have been fun, fast paced diversions into a trial and error slog through the same three explosions.

(side note: The one thing that did look good was character lip syncing. Of all the things to get right, that is the strangest. Also of odd note: the voice acting. I was convinced that they got Jeff Bridges to do the voice of Flynn and the comically racist Clu and had a stand in for Olivia Wilde. It turns out that the opposite was true; Olivia Wilde was just that bad. I am so happy that she is off of House, I hope she never comes back. Anyway.)

BUT

Like most terrible games there was one good idea that had no place there among the feculent leavings of Disney board meetings. Character progression, leveling and items are all completely integrated between single player and multiplayer. Everything gained when playing by yourself could be moved online,and vice versa. People have to actually be playing the game online for this to work, which they weren't, but I really like the idea. What scares me away from the new progression based online shooters like Modern Warfare and Battlefield is the incredible penalty for being new. I play everything, but I play most things late, so by the time I get to a game the community has had months to figure it out and get all the fanciest shit with which to kill noobs like me. Not only do I not know what I am doing, but the gun I am being ignorant with does 1/10th the damage as the insane weapons the early adopters have earned. In Street Fighter terms, imagine that you had to win 100 times before you got to use Ken's uppercut. And everyone else had it already. And used it all the goddamn time.


It's the double edged sword of accessibility. If you make the game easy enough for anyone to play then the hard core fans are going to bitch, but if you cater to the elite then no one else will buy it. Integrating the single player with the multiplayer like Tron tried to do could remedy some of that.

Think about this, but don't play Tron: Evolution. And don't spam Ken's fierce uppercut, use the medium one instead.

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