Have You Played? is an endless stream of game recommendations. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.
Daft Punk’s Tron: Legacy soundtrack has taken up residency on my speakers once again, so my mind naturally turns to the other time a series with far more potential than actual achievement reached great heights. 2003’s Tron 2.0 was a mixed bag for sure, but for visual style – abstract shapes, big punchy colour, swathes of otherworldly black – it remains one to beat.
It features the automythological Tron moments it needs to, of course – Light Cycles and Disc battles, the latter making the inevitable guns seem so pointless. At its best, this was Tron as we remembered it being, rather than what watching Tron is really like.
What this visually bold first-person shooter also had – a rarity even in a post-Half-Life age – was friendly characters and safe areas. Small sections from which you could glean a slight sense of life in the server. Irksome jumping puzzles and infuriating boss fights can’t take the neon shine off Tron 2.0. It tried to do so much, and it folded in so many ideas, that some were bound to fall apart in execution.
Developer Monolith is the great lost shooter studio – it came up with this, SHOGO and NOLF then found a safe space in FEAR games. This year’s Shadow of Mordor suggests a new finding of feet, but it’s a big ask to hit the heights of creativity and ambition that Tron 2.0 offered.