Reviewed: January 12, 2011
Released: December 7, 2010
I love TRON. I loved the original movies, I loved the original arcade coin-op, I loved the 2003 PC game, TRON 2.0 and I even loved the Xbox version that came out in 2004, so my expectations were understandably high when the new movie and video game were announced. Sadly, the movie was (in my opinion) a major disappointment and the new game, TRON: Evolution also left me feeling indifferent and perhaps a bit conflicted on how a great franchise could go to waste, especially when itís being produced by Disney.|
TRON: Evolution is a prequel to the new movie that helps bridge some of the events in the 30-year span between the first movie and now. You donít play as anyone from the movie, but rather as a System Monitor Ė the computer police if you will Ė who is trying to stop Clu from taking over the entire computer system. Clu is the creation of Flynn, thus the uncanny resemblance to Jeff Bridges, and he has his own army of henchmen complete with viral infection abilities. Since the movie didn't have much of a plot it should come as no surprise that the game doesn't have much of one either.
The game takes place entirely within the computer world, and youíll find yourself starting at the crossroads of a busy downtown area where you are led around by a glowing bit for your opening tutorial. The game look pretty with a predominate black background that is punched up with glowing neon architecture. Everything glows and features heavy bloom effects and some surprising jagged edges, so get used to it. It gets rather repetitive after a while since the style never changes; although they do throw some green, yellow, and orange neon at you later in the game.
If you chose to go for the PS3 version and you have a 3D TV then you can play the game in some odd floaty fashion where the neon and the characters pop off the black backgrounds. The effect is of dubious quality and actually hurts the gameplay, not to mention dropping your framerate considerably. The PS3 also throws in PS MOVE support for a Disc Throwing mini-game, but it wonít affect the primary adventure. Neither feature will have you running out to buy a Move or a 3D TV.
I did enjoy the music, which managed to work in two Daft Punk songs, and some other TRON-like electronic themes. Sound effects were spot on and the voice work was acceptable Ė sometimes even good. The Dolby Digital mix did a good job of creating a 3D sonic world.
For most of the 8-10 hour game youíll feel like you are playing Mirrors Edge or Prince of Persia wearing glow-in-the-dark pajamas. As System Monitor you can run up and along walls and jump impossible distances. Later on you can use your disc to grapple onto lights and slingshot to new areas. At least 70% of the game is parkour-style navigation leaving the rest for challenging, and repetitious combat.
Combat blends ranged disc attacks with impressive melee moves that can all be mixed into combos. You also have four disc modes and a special attack meter that requires you to run around during combat seeking white-lit objects and doing some agro move to refill that meter. Perform that same agro move on a blue energy ribbon to refresh your health. At least you can execute an aerial attack as you come off these moves. Defeat hordes of enemies and the occasion boss to collect XP remains to level up and earn RAM then spend those precious MB at various store nodes to upgrade your disc or learn new combat moves. It takes a long time to earn enough MB to purchase anything substantial, which takes away from your feeling of progression.
Evolution tries to break up the monotony with some Light Cycle and Light Tank sequences, both of which look cool but are extremely annoying and not much fun. Light Tanks are impossible to control, and even when you can drive where you need to go there isnít much challenge in shooting groups of foot soldiers or other tanks or even those ominous Recognizers. The Light Cycles arenít much better since you only really ride them on these short, fast, nearly on-rails escape sequences that has you doing minor steering and fast lane change choices.
The game gets a bit better when you dive into the online modes in either Grid Games with 10 players throwing discs at each other in deathmatch or team modes, or the Light Cycles, also with 10 players and team or deathmatch modes. I did enjoy the fact that MB you earn during the story mode can be used to purchase upgrades for online play. By the time I finished the story and jumped into multiplayer I was kicking serious butt over the people who had gone straight into multiplayer without playing the story first.
I loved TRON 2.0 and if they had simply remade that game using this new graphics engine I would have been happy. That game had story, puzzles, action, and adventure. Evolution has none. You really donít care why you are playing. Itís merely an acrobatic obstacle course to reach room after room that will lock down until you defeat the enemies within before moving on to repeat the process for 8 hours. This is budget gaming at best, and even diehard TRON fans need to wait for this thing to drop to half-price or lower.