“Evolution does not disappoint gamers expecting to see true Tron style throughout the game. You can tell within the first 10 minutes that a lot of attention was allocated to keeping the original feel while modernizing it…” – by Trent Tomlinson
Tron: Evolution (PC, XBOX AND PS3) is a bridge between the original Disney film release of 1982 and this year’s anticipated sequel (pushed back to a Dec 17th release). If you are expecting more than that from the Propaganda game, then you might want to look elsewhere for your Tron fix…perhaps the Tron comics based off Tron 2.0: Killer App? Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed this game…but I can see where others might not.
- Story: 7
- Graphics: 7
- Audio: 10
- Gameplay: 5
- The extra something: 6
- Points: 6 out of 10
Tron: Evolution takes place about 7 years after the first film with Flynn (Jeff Bridges) returning to the grid to announce a new co-system monitor to work with his current command Clu. This new system monitor is an Iso, a new form of life in the grid that is basically artificial intelligence. It is during this inaugural ceremony that an unwanted guest, Abraxis, crashes in and starts killing everyone and the game begins. No need to beat around the bush, Clu is evil through and through..or maybe just a little misunderstood? Either way, Clu begins his genocidal cleansing of the system to rid it of all Iso’s while blaming them for the corruption, known as Abraxis, that is spreading. This of course is where you come in. Tron: Evolution places you in the role of Anom (Anonymous), a system monitor who is present as events unfold. Your mission is fairly simple throughout the game; Get from point A to point B while looking for Flynn. There are some film character tie-ins as you will meet Tron (of the original film) as well as Quorra and Zuse (from the upcoming release).
Evolution does not disappoint gamers expecting to see true Tron style throughout the game. You can tell within the first 10 minutes that a lot of attention was allocated to keeping the original feel while modernizing it for a more stylish look. My only gripe with the graphics was that from time to time it would seem to be downscaled for no reason. Things would become blockier during some cinematics or gamplay experiences while remaining very crisp and detailed in others. There were a few areas that aggravated me a little since it can be hard to tell due to dark lighting (this is mainly during one of the last chapters) what is a transparent surface you can walk on and what is a hole in the floor that leads to a bottomless pit of death.
One thing that does remain constant throughout the game is an amazing soundtrack. There is either constant music or noise playing that really fits with what you are seeing on the screen. The best example I can think of was Daft Punk (who have written the new soundtrack) mixed with elements of Aphex Twin and Juno Reactor. Just loads of club worthy bassed electronics and noise. While only 2 tracks on the game are from Daft Punk’s movie score, the remainder of the games music is made up of pieces by well known composers such as Darren Hedges, Kevin Mathei and Chris Velasco. Asdide from music the sound effects are not too shabby as well. For those who love the original film you will hear the familiar echoed footsteps when playing on the multiplayer game grid, light cycle noises and disc sounds. It was nice to see that they left some things untouched for the fans.
Here is where we take a venture away from positive things I found in this game. The gameplay can be frustrating. Glitchy cameras, overly sensitive directional movement and slightly annoying mechanics can more than likely ruin the game for several people. It does take a while to get used to, and even once you have it down expect to accidentally jump off the map every once in awhile and die. Enemy identification can be somewhat hard at time since there are some goons that look alike, but have different strategies for taking them down. When I began playing Tron I started to get a very intense sinking once I realized this was nothing more than an arena game. You run through a section performing cautious aerial acrobatics just to reach a room and fight enemies until the door unlocks. There is no exploration of immersion in this game, and I was really hoping for that. The infamous light cycle segments are extremely fun, but have no tie to their function in the original film. You can occasionally derezz an enemy with your cycle during the intense escape segments, but you are more focused on avoiding collapsing buildings, explosions and falling debris to really notice. I am not trying to say avoid this game because of its repetition and lack of ingenuity, but don’t expect anything more than an arena game that is beyond linear and narrow sighted.
As a saving grace I can mention weapons and multiplayer. You have a 4 weapon arsenal that is actually pretty cool. Aside from your usual Identification Disc you will also find a bomb disc, corruption disc and a stasis disc. Each has its own abilities and purchasable upgrades throughout the game, and when you are in multiplayer you will need all 4 when versing against 9 other uniquely spec’d gamers. The multiplayer maps consist of 2 game styles; Disc battles and Light Cycles with Light Tanks. The disc battles are exactly what I was expecting from Tron; up to 5 vs. 5 or every man for himself acrobatic disc battles. Each player is given a ‘loadout’ that they can customize with 3 upgrades that can do everything from grant damage resistance, increase a weapons potential, restore health over time or even grant benefits to everyone on your team. Light Cycles is going to be exactly what any Tron fan is expecting. Again you can play 5 vs. 5 or go against up to 9 players on a small selection of maps. The cool thing with the Light Cycle maps is that you are not limited to just driving. You can enter and exit your Cycle at any time and battle it out as players speed around you. Even the light cycles themselves have a selection of upgrades that carry over from your purchasable specs which include flinging bombs, corrupting (disarming) anyone that hits your jet wall or even adding an extremely fast speed boost.
There are a few downsides to the multiplayer though. You cannot change loadouts during a multiplayer game. This can be frustrating if you enter the match and realize you are not properly spec’d to deal with certain players. Personally this doesn’t really bother me, but what does is the short time in between matches to properly spec yourself. When the match begins is dependent on the game rooms host, and you even have a ready or not light you can activate, but that doesn’t stop people from starting the game as soon as they can. The max level you can earn is 50, and sadly I reached that after 2 runs through the game campaign and about 7 hours of multiplayer. At 50 you will stop earning xp and have every upgrade purchased. This is kind of a kill joy on several levels since by the time you reach 50 you can derezz most players with one power throw. I am stuck at number 30 on the leaderboards simply because I was the 30th person to reach 50 out of everyone who purchased the game. It is not based on your overall kill to death spread, but simply who grinded for experience the fastest. Another downside is that Cycle maps normally include a Light Tank. Light Tanks, for some, are going to be the bane of your existence in Tron: Evolution. I sat in a tank and racked up over 50 kills in one match with zero deaths, that is how unfair they can be. A little advice on how to take down a player in a Light Tank; Make sure you have a bomb perk added to your loadout and circle the tank with your Cycle allowing yourself a reasonable amount of distance so the tank cannot move and its gun cannot keep up with you as you drop bombs all around it. Overall the multiplayer is pretty fun, but very limited. There are a few objective based maps for both game styles, but most people are focused on Team and one man battles. A level editor would have been nice to see with this game that would allow players to create their own multiplayer maps, but seeing that this is a movie tie-in game that would probably be asking for too much. A downloadable version of the multiplayer through X-Box and PS3 would be something I would largely encourage since that is the main focus of this game.
What is that little something extra that kept me playing this game? Simply put, this is the ONLY continuation (until the film comes out) of the original Tron story. Throughout the years I had heard little story bits about Flynn being imprisoned by a remnant Clu program that had gone rogue and begins taking over the system. This had always sounded like a great idea for a Tron sequel, so I was very happy to see this game come along to explain the time in between the first film and the new one. Despite its flaws, that game has some seriously fun moments and a great story that fits in with both films, that alone is worth checking it out. While the multiplayer is very limited, apart from loadout customization, it is still extremely fun at times and challenging enough to keep most interested. I have seen a lot of reviews bashing this game, but honestly the gamers need to remember to make up their own minds. For financial reasons I would suggest renting it before buying it.