Tron: Evolution Review

By on December 22, 2010

Evolution grinds to a halt.

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First Impressions
My reaction is

It is no secret that most of us here at MEGamers hate to review video games based on movies, simply because the resultant hybrid is a poor reflection of what is often a pretty good film. Still, every year we get a landslide of video games that head straight to our recycle bin or get turned into Frisbees. So when Tron Evolution landed on my desk, I didn’t have very high expectations for it, and true to form the game was a fair leap from being as good as the film was.

Set in between the original 1982 film and the current one, Tron Evolution tries to patch up some of the storyline while trying to deliver a satisfactory setup for the upcoming film. The game puts you in the role of a System Monitor, and it’s your job to scour the digital city and keep it secure. This sounds like a complete walk in the park, except a virus has entered the system and now threatens the delicate neon balance of the city. So off you go on your little mission to battle these nasty bugs (pun intended) and uncover deeper mysteries that lie within the labyrinths of the city.

The gameplay here has been kept very simple – you can effortlessly wall-run, leap towards ledges, grapple from death defying heights, and generally behave like a digitized version of Spiderman. You roam through various levels swapping from indoor and outdoor environments, but after a few levels you realize that they’re all just built around the same design. Occasionally you’ll get boxed in by orange walls which you have to dissipate by clearing the area of enemies, but this hardly adds any variety. Apart from running around a lot, you also need to fight away the bad guys, and you do this thanks to the iconic light disc (or Identity Disc for you Tron fans out there). The disc acts like a boomerang that you can fling at enemies, attach to specific grappling orbs, or use to activate switches from a distance. Initially the disc does little damage, but as you level up your experience and earn RAM, you can apply upgrades to your disc, such as making it explode on contact. You can mix your disc throws with some melee attacks as well, and there are a fair number of combos to learn in the game, but it soon becomes a case of furious button mashing. You also have more powerful attacks designed to polish off enemies or break through shields, bue these attacks use up energy. You can quickly recharge by running over items in the world that spark with energy, so you’re almost always guaranteed to have a full energy bar. The levels are scattered with health strips that you can run across to replenish your health, so in between having full health and full energy, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t make it through most areas without a sweat.

But while the thought of ambling through Tron flinging your disc around might sound appealing, it gets boring very quickly. Your enemies are mostly weak against one of your particular attacks, and the game of course tells you which attack you need to be using. You do get the occasional vehicle level, which is split between a runaway demolition track on Light cycles, or rolling around the city in a Light tank. I found the tank levels absolutely excruciating, as the controls were just a joke to use. The muddy controls seem present as you run around the level as well – my character would almost always do a wall run instead of running up a wall until I found I had to first jump towards the wall and then hold down the right trigger. What little joy that can be found in Tron seems to only reside in the multiplayer, with Light cycle races, Deathmatch battles, and a sprinkling of other game modes.

Graphically the game does faithfully reproduce the Tron universe, but because of the recycled level design you won’t get to appreciate or see much of it. Character models are also quite off-putting, despite some good voiceacting. The cutscenes that often move the story along are also quite awkward, either because of poor animation or the bad models.

Tron Evolution could have broken the cycle of bad video games based on movies if it had only spent a few more months in development to iron out some of the creases. But as it stands, Tron is a mediocre addition to the Tron universe – it won’t get fans very excited and it certainly won’t have new players gaming for very long.

The Scorecard
Much ado about nothing, with repetitive combat sequences and some terrible vehicle controls.
That look interested at first, but soon turn into mirror images of each other. Some awful character models as well.
Some good voiceacting helps glaze over the certain awkward cutscenes.
Unless you’re a Tron fan, there’s not much replay value here.
Fun only if you’re playing it with friends.
Tron Evolution could have been a great game, but it lacks much of the polish required to leave a lasting impression.


A former IT & Marketing Manager turned full time Editor, Nick enjoys hurling fireballs and tinkering with the latest gadgets. Follow him on Twitter as @theregos

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