- Street Date:
- December 7th, 2010
- Reviewed by:
- Chad Goodmurphy
- Review Date:1
- October 2nd, 2011
- Game Release Year:
- Disney Interactive Studios
- Propaganda Games
- ESRB Rating:
- T (Teen)
Bridging the gap between the first TRON film and its big-budget sequel, TRON: Evolution takes the form of a third-person action game. Its action picks up a while after the events of the 1982 classic film that started it all, slotting in not too long before its sequel picks up. Chronicled within its several hour-long runtime is a war between the Grid’s original inhabitants and a newly formed race known as Isomorphic Organisms (ISOs.) Flynn, a program created in the image of the digital reality’s creator, has gone rogue, infecting civilians with the help of an ISO turned virus named Abraxus.
The Game Itself: Our Reviewer's Take
Players take on the role of a character that happens to be new to the series’ lore, named Anon - short for Anonymous. With the help of a young female acquaintance named Quorra, he must put an end to the infection, which is threatening to destroy the digital world. This is done using the aforementioned third-person action mechanics, with beat ‘em up elements, vehicle missions and Prince of Persia-esque parkour.
For a game that aims to bridge a rich and beloved storyline from cult classic to new release, TRON: Evolution is quite confusing. Its storyline has a quality voice cast behind it, including seasoned video game actor, Nolan North, Jensen Ackles from Supernatural and Olivia Wylde. You’ll surely recognize the latter actress’ name, considering she plays Quorra in both this game and its high-tech cinematic partner.
Though the star-studded voice acting is quite good, the way the story unfolds is frustrating and bland. It’s hard to follow while playing, forcing a trip to Wikipedia to find out exactly what is going on. Characters who are new to the series frequently pop in without a proper introduction, making it even harder to think along with the action. Due to these issues, TRON: Evolution becomes more about gameplay than story.
TRON: Evolution allows for quite a few different attack methods, most of which erupt through the release of your trusty light disc. At its core, the game is pretty traditional, requiring a series of combos to take out room after room, filled with technologically crafted baddies. Different enemies require different tactics, so it’s important to mix up your attacks, using elemental abilities against those who find them devastating.
It’s also very easy to notice that the development team at Propaganda Games took hints from Ubisoft’s Prince of Persia series, when they sat down to brainstorm elements for this game. There is a heavy dose of parkour to be found within, as Anon must run up and scale walls to get to important areas. This also factors into the combat action, as environmental items can be hopped over, adding special power to the player’s abilities meter. Specialized wall covers can also be touched to increase the main character’s life bar when it’s lacking in content.
The resulting combination of beat ‘em-up gameplay and platforming traversal melds together pretty well. Though, it can sometimes be difficult to reach certain wall recesses or make a perfect jump from a ledge to a railing however, resulting in accidental deaths. The supplied camera angles do little to aid your cause, becoming more of an issue while platforming than anything.
In an effort to mix things up by adding in a bit of classic TRON flair, Evolution’s development team designed some half-decent vehicle missions for the game. In a couple, you’ll go on the run using a light cycle. Two or three others put the player into the cockpit of a light tank, as it tries to get from point A to point B, taking out every form of opposition in its path. These sequences are limited and okay, though they lack creativity and fluid control mechanics.
What it all comes down to is whether you’re interested in playing through a game, which thrives on repetition in the majority of its gameplay sequences. There’s a bit of added variety in the form of around four vehicle missions detailed above, though it’s fleeting. Most of the time, TRON: Evolution will have you fighting your way through room after room of similar bad guys, which left me occasionally feeling bored and annoyed. Other times, I found it to be entertaining. It’s best played in short play sessions because of this. Played in this way, it’s a decent experience.
Although it’s most-likely a ghost town by now, Evolution actually features a pretty solid multiplayer component, spread over a few different modes. Jump into action in a deathmatch or team deathmatch session, utilizing the third-person action elements mentioned above. Or, take to the digital highway with the use of a quick light cycle, in the entertaining capture point mode. The latter was my personal favourite, as it became a very competitive and relatively unique experience.
Online combatants can take their character from level one to level fifty, through experience points awarded for positive accomplishments. Currency earned online can be used to purchase upgrades for that digital avatar, with three different types available: Character upgrades, more powerful light discs and improved light cycles. The amount of available upgrades is staggering, so it will take a long time to unlock everything.
The Video: Sizing Up the Picture
Licensed games are generally known for being rushed products with mediocre visuals. TRON: Evolution bucks that trend a bit, giving gamers a decent-looking world to fight through. Digital design influences are hard to miss, as the Grid itself takes on the films’ iconic black and neon blue look. It looks incredibly futuristic, and pretty good overall. Though, the game’s visual design does not feature the type of fidelity and polish found in some other games in this genre. The enemies themselves tend to look quite bland after a while, and so do the main character models at times.
Don’t purchase TRON: Evolution for its visual prowess, because you’ll probably be disappointed. That’s not to say the game looks bad by any means, but it’s not a visual spectacle either. If you’re going to go out and hunt down a copy of this third-person action affair, then do so because you’re interested in its subject matter. It looks pretty good, but not great, with repetitive environmental design.
The Audio: Rating the Sound
Being that this game takes place in a digitally crafted world (a video game, in fact,) you can expect a lot of digital sound effects. When you take out an enemy, it’s referred to as de-rezzing it, meaning that you’re effectively eliminating its resolution from the game world. As a result, everything you’ll hear while playing TRON: Evolution will have a futuristic effect to it. Some of the voice acting is exempt from this rule, but the gameplay is not.
Like its core gameplay action, the game’s effects track tends to become repetitive after a bit. You’ll eventually start to hear the same sounds over and over again, which is quite standard for this type of game. Though, that’s not to say it’s a great design choice by any means. To be frank, the audio found within needs work with mediocre music and effects. Its only standout comes in the form of its stars’ voice acting.
Replay value is limited to player choice. Most gamers won’t feel much of an inclination to dive back into the campaign, due to its relatively basic form and occasional hiccups. Only diehard TRON fans will play through this six hour-long title campaign more than once. It’s okay, but not great by any means.
Where the potential replay value lies is in the game’s robust multiplayer component, though it’s most-likely quiet now. It’s a shame that decent multiplayer options are neglected quickly, as soon as a new game comes along, but that tends to be how our gaming community works these days. Hopefully enough people are still playing it to create some heated games, but don’t hold your breath.
TRON: Evolution is a bit of a mixed bag overall, but it comes away with a positive grade in my books. Reason being is that it does a pretty good job of progressing the licensed game sub-genre forward, with some noticeable quality and decent polish. Its campaign is mediocre at best when compared to other games like it, but the title’s fully-fledged multiplayer component is better than most. Fans of the films will enjoy themselves, despite the aforementioned issues.
- Dolby Digital 5.1
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