Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Tron: Evolution - Battle Grids (Wii)

When initially playing Tron: Evolution, I was aware of its sister title Tron: Evolution – Battle Grids, however I did not own a Wii at the time and I admittedly wrote it off as just a minigame collection. When writing my re-review of Tron: Evolution, however, I discovered that the story of Battle Grids, as simple as it is, is actually important to the narrative of the game, and so decided to seek it out and actually play it for full context. Despite running into some technical difficulties during my playthrough, I got some enjoyment out of it, more so after I figured out what my earlier issue was.

After winning a Light Cycle battle against Quorra, a Program goes to Tron City and meets her in person. In preparation for the Grid Games, Quorra introduces the Program to Zuse, who takes them to train under Tron. The Program is then told that, due to their skill in the various games, they could give ISOs someone to look up to by becoming the first ISO to win the Grid Games.

Though the story is simple, as stated above, it actually becomes important to the events of Tron: Evolution by the end of it. From my research, collecting all the Abraxis Shards in Tron: Evolution is what helps bridge the gap between the two games’ stories, though I will admit I have yet to find all of said Shards myself.

Due to hardware limitations, the graphics are definitely not as detailed as the PS3/360 counterpart, however Battle Grids works around this by going for a more stylized, cartoonish aesthetic that works with the minigame-focused nature of the game. Characters such as Quorra, Tron and Zuse that were based on actors starring in Tron: Legacy are additionally stylized such that it retains their respective likenesses to a certain extent. The game also features a somewhat brighter color palette while staying true to the general Tron aesthetic, the end result edging closer to the (criminally underrated) TV series Tron: Uprising.

The gameplay differs between each of the different games, with most offering the ability to use the Nunchuck accessory, though some, such as Light Cycle events and similar, opt to only use the Wiimote and the option of the Motion Plus add-on. It is in these events that I came across a rather intriguing bug that seems to depend entirely on what style of Wiimote you are using.

Light Cycle Arenas replicate the look and feel of the
Light Cycle segments of the films rather well.

For most of the game, I had been using a Wiimote that had Motion Plus built-in, as it worked the best for me when playing the Epic Mickey series. However, once it came to the Wiimote-only games that make you use it like a steering wheel (inviting one to potentially use the Wii Wheel accessory if they so desire), it suddenly became utterly impossible to steer, though I was still somehow able to get by for most of the game despite that. This came to a head at about past the halfway point of the story, where I absolutely had to come first in a race in order to advance; after much frustration, I decided to try the standard Wiimote I had with a Motion Plus attachment, only for that to suddenly work perfectly with and without the add-on, allowing the event to become infinitely more doable. While I did start to enjoy the game more after figuring out this problem, I realized that multiplayer would be impossible for me unless I bought a second standard Wiimote, since it seems that only controllers that have Motion Plus built in will not work with the game.

The camera is placed in an isometric view for most of the game, mostly in hub worlds, with the exception of some minigames. Since there’s no way to adjust the camera, not even to look up in some angles, this can make things a bit awkward in hub worlds, particularly when some amount of parkour skill is required to obtain Bits, the game’s currency used to unlock vehicle and Identity Disc options for games as well as customization options for the Program. The amount of options is somewhat sizeable for what it is, though unlocking everything requires obtaining a good number of Bits either from exploring hub worlds or doing good at the various games.

As with Tron: Evolution, the Battle Grids version builds off of the music present in Tron: Legacy, albeit taking it in its own direction. Though it features a couple Daft Punk tracks from the movie it’s tying into, including “Derezzed”, the music original to this game has a generally lighter tone to it that works with the gameplay and aesthetic while still fitting in with the world of Tron. Returning voice actors such as Jensen Ackles (Gibson) and Fred Tatasciore (Kevin Flynn) deliver good performances, as do returning actors from the films such as Olivia Wilde (Quorra) and Bruce Boxleitner (Tron). According to (the credits do not specify who voiced what character), original characters Calchas, Kalev, Bosh and Blaze are voiced respectively by T.C. Carson, Robin Atkin Downes, Fred Tatasciore and Nolan North, all of which do so to good effect. The same can be said for James Frain, who reprises his role of Zuse from Tron: Evolution (according to the Tron Wiki).

Tron: Evolution – Battle Grids is an interesting entry in the Tron series, being an intriguing minigame collection based on the franchise while also being a more low-key prequel to the other home console versions of Evolution. The visuals and music are both pleasing as well, taking what was established by other entries building on Tron: Legacy and taking them in a unique direction. While my own experience was somewhat marred by a badly-responding Wiimote, fans of the Tron series can check this game out for the story relevance while those looking for a more casual experience can find a good assortment of Tron-inspired minigames here, especially fans of the Light Cycle segments of the films.

No comments:

Post a Comment