Review: TRON: Evolution

EXPERIENCE THE PREQUEL TO TRON: LEGACY

Developer: Propaganda Games
Genre: Action Adventure
Platform: PlayStation 3 & Xbox 360
Release Date: July 6, 2010
Compatability (PS3): 1.9GB Mininum Space | DUALSHOCK 3 Vibration Function | HD 480p / 720p / 1080i / 1080p | Network Players 2-10
Compatability (Xbox 360): 100KB Mininum Space | HDTV 720p | Players 1-4 | Co-Op 2 | System Link 2
Rating: 5.5

Way back in history in the 1980’s, sci-fi geeks and gamers instantly fell in love with not only the concept of the original TRON movie, but also with its cutting edge style. TRON represented a different style of sci-fi that was morally and visually different than the dominant first runs of the Star Wars series. In 1982 the graphics and art design for the movie were as clean and modern as anyone could ever dream of. Children and adults alike saw the endless possibilities that were present in the computer and gaming industry, practically launching a whole new generation of techno-nerds. Fast forward 28 years to 2010 and Disney is hoping to cash in on this previous success with TRON: Legacy, and the tie-in prequel video game, TRON: Evolution. While Disney had some original ideas that went with title, it still manages to slip right into the same niche as every other movie game.

The developers of the series use the video game storyline as a precursor to the movie. The game, along with the book TRON: Betrayal, explains several of the events that take place before the new movie. The story starts with Flynn talking about how ISOs have begun spawning in the system and roaming around with free will. The basic programs in the system are opposed to these new programs. Because of this opposition a battle ensues between Clu, teamed with his virus Abraxas, and the ISOs. You play as a monitor that has been created to try to control all of the violence. Eventually you are sided with the ISOs in their fight against the raging virus that Abraxas is spreading. From start to finish the story is mediocre and rather thin. As the protagonist, the story never really feels like you want to become emotionally connected with any of the other characters. Even the anti-hero Abraxas has a generic feel that never gives the player a sense that he must die with extreme prejudice.

Nothing special is found in the game's visuals even though the same textures of the movie were used.

From start to finish this title has a very generic feel. The graphic and art style are no different in this aspect. While the art style was cutting edge in the 1980’s, unfortunately it is well outdated now. The designers try to compensate by adding a few different colors into the environment, but the infusion of yellow and green hardly make up for the bland locales. The designers also added a gloss finish to several of the areas in an attempt to polish the appearance. Add to this some very mechanical character design with little attention to detail, and this title comes up a little short in the graphics category.

Gameplay for TRON is a mix of melee and disc-based combat paired with a 3D platform style similar to that of “Prince of Persia” or “Assassin’s Creed.” Also included are some sequences that involve light cycles and light tanks. Even though the concept is good, the mechanical nature of the controls and character movement make the platforming sections frustrating. Add to this the fact that there are several times when the player must simply look around often just to figure out where to go next. The combat is somewhat stiff and also has a very generic feel. There is not enough combat, however, to really make it worthy of note. In one entire playthrough my kill count was lower than 500. The difficulty of the game lies in the platform sections as the combat is very easy, even on the most difficult settings. The shining achievements of the gameplay are the light cycle sequences. While the light tank is clunky and uncontrollable, the light cycle is extremely fun to ride.

If you manage to complete the game till the end, one playthrough is more than enough in TRON: Evolution.

Adding to the lackluster feel of this game is the multiplayer suite. Multiplayer offerings are very similar to those of any other combat-based game. They offer free-for-all, team deathmatch, domination, and capture-the-flag styled games. The regular game offers only four maps, but more are available through the DLC. The upside to the multiplayer is that, based on the lobby, if nobody is online the game will eventually generate bots for you. This can be handy if you are looking for achievements and no one is in the lobbies. Aside from the one map that I played that allowed light cycles, the multiplayer games were button-mash bonanzas. All that had to be done was run into a small group of people and unleash a special move and your kill-death ratio goes way up. Once again, the saving feature of the multiplayer suite was the ability to engage in light cycle combat.

Overall it is very difficult to summarize the experience of playing TRON: Legacy. It’s obvious that the developers did take the time to attempt to make a quality title. This game does not fall into the total garbage section of movie games that so many other titles reside in, but there are a lot of things that are negative about the game. Frustrating platforming, generic graphics, and a lack of engaging combat highlight the disappointment that comes with this title. For all of us that were inspired by the original TRON film, I guess we will just have to wait another 28 years to see if something better comes along.

Reviewed by vadrummin – February 14, 2011

Graphics
The graphics on this game can only be described as generic. The game developers got a slate to work with and did almost nothing with it aside from adding a few colors. From time to time there were some chugging issues and lost checkpoints.
 
Sound
The developers tried to stay true to the TRON concept but the soundtrack isn’t even worth mentioning as it is so thin and minimalistic. Voice-acting and sound effects were up to par, but nothing stands out as excellent.
 
Fun
Once you are done leveling up, which can be accomplished through single-player and multiplayer, and getting the achievements you will be thankful that you never have to play this game again.
 
Final Score

 

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