IT FROM AMAZON:
PS3 (reviewed), Xbox 360, PC, PSP
DEVELOPER: Propaganda Games
PUBLISHER: Disney Interactive Studios
Tron Evolution is a movie tie-in, so you likely have a good idea of the quality of the game right off the bat. Sure, there are the notable exceptions to the genre here and there but for the most part we know these exist merely to turn a quick buck from consumers fresh off a movie high.
At least Tron Evolution is a bit more ambitious than most, acting as a prequel to Tron Legacy and showing events that are only referenced in the film.
The story will only make sense to you if you’ve seen at least Tron, but the game starts off with showing you just how Kevin Flynn (the Jeff Bridges character) managed to get imprisoned inside his game world, The Grid. We learn about the ISOs, programs who have sprouted up on The Grid with free will and who are despised by the Basic programs that currently populate the world. The ISOs have had it hard, with the first leader of them being outright murdered. You play a Monitor security program named Anon (Anonymous, get it?) and are tasked with making sure nothing like that happens again.
The current leader of the ISOs appears at a ceremony to be made System Administrator alongside Clu (Flynn’s program counterpart) when a Virus program named Abraxas attacks and scatters everyone. Clu takes advantage of the chaos to wrest control from Flynn and declare war on the ISOs, and the battle between the two begins in earnest.
All you have to know is that the good guys wear blue or green and the
bad guys wear red or yellow and you’re going to want to throw discs at
them to kill them all.
CHUDTIP: MASH THOSE BUTTONS, MONKEY.
Imagine a 3D Prince of Persia with laggy controls and a camera that actively hates you and wants to see you fail, and you have an idea of what to expect. You spend most of the game free running along walls and bouncing off hurdles, making your way across an environment that’s littered with bottomless chasms. All the time, the camera is waiting and plotting to shift at the very last second before a jump and throw off your move, sending you plummeting into nothingness. It could be explained as part of the computer that’s trying to kill you, I suppose, but surely nothing could be that brutal?
Thankfully the loading is almost non-existent and you’re back in before you know you were derezzed (“killed” in Tron-speak)
CHUDTIP: These guys drop enemies. You can kill them before they do so but you can level up faster if you kill everyone on board.
Outside of moving around the stark-yet-pretty environment you’ll also get into lots of simple combat. Your weapon of choice is of course the famous Tron disc, which can be upgraded in various ways (area attacks, health leech, etc.) You can level up your attacks and character attributes by leveling up by killing enemies by throwing the disc at them, which is easy as can be. It’s the kind of game that gives you one useful combination that you’ll use over and over because it’s easy, in this case a simple one-two-three button mash move. They try to encourage you to use other forms of the disc by introducing enemies that are immune to various kinds, but since every enemy looks the same as the others there’s very little in the way of strategy here. Especially when you can just use the basic attack to take out anything.
At various points in the game you’ll get a vehicle section to play with, either using the light cycles or big tanks. The cycles see you speeding down a linear path trying to avoid a falling environment or enemies, and the tank just has you blasting away at everything in sight, racking up the experience. Both are short intermissions to the main game.
CHUDTIP: You’ll never really need to let up on the gas.
The multiplayer however is a lot more fun. Running around open
environments and then jumping onto your light cycle to try to encircle your
enemies makes for a great time. Here it’s fast-paced and exciting in all
the ways the main game isn’t, although there are only a handful of
modes online and there doesn’t seem to be very many people online at one
time (on PS3, at least.)
If there’s one thing no one can complain about, it’s the look. The game is as pretty as you’d hope, the clean visuals and vibrant colors naturally translating perfectly to a videogame.
The voice acting is pretty great as well, with pretty much every actor besides Jeff Bridges (Olivia Wilde, Bruce Boxleitner, James Frain) reprising their characters from Legacy. There are also some familiar voices you’ll hear for the characters unique to the game, like Jensen Acles, John Glover and Nolan North.
A few tracks from Daft Punk complete the Tron feel.
The main story has a decent length to it but there’s no reason to go back. The multiplayer might keep your interest for a bit longer, though.
CHUDTIP: You’re pretty much unstoppable in the tank, but try and shoot them before they shoot you, m’kay?
The antiseptic look and feel of the franchise has managed to translate into the gameplay as well. There’s no excitement to be found here, just an moderately interesting sequence of levels that you’ll likely sit through without an expression on your face or your heartrate ever increasing. It’s all fitting, somehow.
At the very most a rental for fans of the franchise for its insight into the story.