Tron: Evolution – The PS3 Attitude Review
If history has taught us anything, it’s that video games based on movies belong in the bargain bin at the local Blockbuster. Typically they are rushed to production in order to hitch a ride on any hype train associated with the film, sometimes having little or nothing to do with the film at all except for the name.
Can Tron: Evolution break the movie stereotype or is it destined for deresolution?
Tron: Evolution acts as a prequel to Tron: Legacy. Players take control of Anon, a new security program written by Kevin Flynn, whose job is to investigate the growing conspiracy within the Grid.
New programs called ISOs (Isomorphic Algorythyms) have been popping up all over the Grid. They’re not programmed by anyone and don’t have any purpose. They simply exist, resulting in Flynn calling there appearance a miracle.
With them comes trouble though as the first murder is reported in the Grid. A new infection, known as the Abraxas virus, is spreading and it’s up to Anon to make things right again. If that wasn’t enough, Tron: Evolution marks the beginning of Clu 2’s sudden coup of the entire system, forcing Flynn into hiding.
As a security program, Anon is equipped with the latest light disc technology. You begin with a standard light disc, capable of performing a variety of acrobatic attacks and slams. As you progress, you’ll unlock other discs that have various attributes attached to them that cause enemies to explode, become corrupted, or even decrease in speed.
Each disc is assigned to a direction on the D-pad and can be changed at a moment’s notice allowing you to chain combos together to earn more experience points. As you level up Anon, you’ll gain valuable memory which can be used to purchase upgrades for your character in both the single player and multiplayer modes.
These upgrades can increase your health and energy meters or increase the damage of your light discs. You only gain 2MB for every level increase, and with some of the later upgrades costing upwards of 16MB it can take a while before you’ll be able to purchase them all. Gaining a level in multiplayer provides you with more memory, but more on that later.
Aside from the normal disc throw, there are only a handful of special moves. Different enemy types are vulnerable to certain attacks so experiment a little to find out what works best for any given situation. When you first encounter an enemy, you’re given a brief analysis of its abilities so finding out its weakness isn’t too difficult.
At times, you may find yourself button mashing your way through an area. The sprint + heavy attack is great for clearing out enemies in close proximity and can feel a bit overpowering. You do have a melee attack but unless you’re going for the “Up close and personal” trophy, there’s not much of a point to using it when you can toss your light disc from a distance.
The second part of gameplay consists of moving around within the Grid. Following in the likes of Prince of Persia and Assassin’s Creed, Tron: Evolution relies heavily on parkour, the art of free running. You’ll jump, wall run, and vault across obstacles as you progress through the world. The path you take is rather linear though so don’t expect much freedom except for during open area battles.
Scattered throughout are Energy Transfer Conduit (ETC) strips and pods that recharge your health and energy when you run across or vault over them. Knowing where the closest one is is vital to your survival. They recharge over time too so there’s no need to worry about running out of spots to recharge.
The parkour elements of the game are perhaps the most frustrating aspect of it. The majority of deaths came not from being derezzed by the enemy but by falling into the black abyss after missing a jump. Many of the parkour segments require you to be absolutely perfect in your execution and timing. One misstep and it’s back to square one. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself going through the same section multiple times before you get it right.
That being said, I also had a fun time with it all. The game is very fluid, easily allowing you chain together wall runs and vaults with each other or even attacks.
Lightcycles have always been an important element in the Tron universe and this game is no different. At specific moments in the game you’ll jump into the driver’s seat and take control of the classic bike. This also happens to be the part of the game you can use the PlayStation Move controller.
I found these sections to be some of the best, providing a nice break from all the running around on foot. The game also manages to capture the speed of the light cycles quite well. Even so much as blink and you might find yourself derezzed into itty-bitty pieces, either by enemy lightcycles or invading recognizers.
You’ll also be able to jump into a tank at times. While not as fast as a lightcycle, they pack quite the punch, taking out anything with a few powerful shots. Plus, it’s quite fun running over enemy programs in the process.
The single player campaign comes up somewhat short at around six hours but there are four multiplayer modes to keep you occupied.
Disintegration is your typical deathmatch game type, putting program against program in a fight to earn the most derezzes. There’s also Team Disintegration for those who enjoy fighting in groups. Bit Runner requires teams to hold on to a bit to earn points. Be careful though as whoever is in possession of the bit is slowly drained of health and energy. The final game type, Power Monger, has teams take control of five power nodes scattered across the game grid. The longer a team holds a node, the more points they rack up.
There are four maps the game, along with two downloadable maps included in new copies, bringing the total to six. Some of the larger maps allow lightcycles and tanks to be used, while the smaller ones only let you fight on foot.
Players have access to all the light discs and upgrades they gained during the single player campaign. There are also other upgrades that are exclusive to the game grid that can be purchased. These abilities are sure to provide you with the extra little boost needed to overcome your opponent.
The multiplayer isn’t that deep with only four modes and six maps but is still fun to play in small spurts. You’ll definitely want to complete the single player campaign beforehand so your character will have all the light discs and some of the upgrades going into it, as it will give you the advantage over some of the other players.
Tron: Evolution manages to bridge the gap between the Tron and Tron: Legacy, and it does so beautifully. Both Olivia Wilde (Quorra) and Bruce Boxleitner (TRON) lend their vocal talents to the game, keeping the game as connected to the films as possible. Daft Punk also makes an appearance, both visually and musically. Just like the film, the visuals and soundtrack are some of the highlights of the game.
Certain scenes from Legacy, such as Clu 2’s takeover, are recreated in the game and even use the same dialogue, word for word. You’ll also find that the game and the film share similar camera angles and shots. It’s evident that Disney worked closely with the film in order to achieve this.
When all is said and done, Tron: Evolution succeeds where other movie-based games fail. It’s by no means perfect but is sure to please franchise fans.