It may be a pauper's Prince of Persia with a Tron skin, but fans of the film(s) should have some fun.

User Rating: 7.5 | TRON: Evolution PS3
Tron Evolution places you in the role of a System Monitor Program with a human form living in an electronic world. Despite the events of the game taking place before the plot of the Tron: Legacy movie, the story does require some knowledge of the Tron legend to get a full understanding and appreciation of what's going on. But the story itself is pretty simplistic, and serves only a doorway to the action.

The game plays out with an even mix of platforming and combat. The platforming requires a lot of wall running and wall jumping. When you know where to go there are times you can pull off long strings of fluid acrobatics that look cool and feel satisfying. But learning where to go first often leads you down a path of many, many deaths. Thankfully the checkpoints along the way are very forgiving. It's not that it's hard to find out where to go, you just have to keep getting to the next step to see where you should go next. So you do a wall run and fall just before you realize you'll have to jump up to a ledge or maybe to the wall on the other side to keep running. The path is usually pretty obvious as you progress, it just may take a couple of tries before you know all the steps to take along the way.

As a system monitor (or security guard) of this computer system you'll be armed with your identity disc for use when you cross your enemies. This disc can be thrown like a chain-less gauntlet and always comes back to you. You start with a few standard combos with light, heavy, and area attacks. You'll quickly gain the Heavy Disc upgrade (greater damage, more combos). As you progress you'll eventually add to your inventory the Bomb Disc upgrade (comes with it's own special moves and creates an explosion on impact), and the Corruption Disc upgrade (also has it's special moves that will slow down enemies when hit). So although your only weapon is the disc, it provides a lot of options for combat. It's fun, stays true to the franchise while adding something new, and the combos are easy to pull off. With each kill comes experience which you can then use to buy active and passive upgrades for both you and your weapon.

The biggest threat to both the platforming and the action is the twitchy camera. It can be difficult to manage at times and didn't always operate very smoothly.

Although that sums up the majority of the game-play, there were a couple more elements the developers added. There's a few times where you'll find yourself driving around in a Light Tank, running over programs, and blowing up other tanks. These don't add a lot to the experience, other for a nice change of pace. Although the clumsy controls does minimize the fun a little bit, generally speaking it was entertaining being able to drive one of these tanks around. Blowing recognizers out of the sky as they pass overhead was particularly satisfying.

The other game-play element that is sprinkled throughout the adventure are the light-cycle stages. Light-cycles were always the coolest part of Tron for me. But it was also always tied in with taking on other light-cycles and driving them into the wall that trails behind you. Although the more fluid movement didn't lessen the enjoyment of the ride, the fact that these levels were just obstacle-races and not competitive was a little disappointing.

In fact despite the fun of the core game-play, there was a definite absence of the game-grid experience during the story mode. And the game grid concept was one of the most fun elements of the original movie. They even teased you at one point by telling you to go to the game grid, but you never participated.

Of course there is the online element to satisfy this component. I rarely ever go online with my games, but I couldn't resist with Tron. It was fun and easy to get started. This is where you can participate in light-tank, disc-combat, and classic light-cycle battles (90 degree turns included) against other players. And the action trio all happens simultaneously. To assist you, you can buy upgrades in story mode which you can then use online. The biggest downside was it didn't feel like there was a lot of players out there. You can also play some more contemporary arena matches that mimic capture the flag and other now common game-play modes. These can be played offline with bots as well. It would have been nice if the developers squeezed in a few more bonus modes though. I mean, where's the ring game? Couldn't somewhere at sometime, story mode or online, I be given the chance to drive a recognizer? These little things could have taken the whole experience from fun to amazing.

Where I had no complaints was in the sound and music division. Although it may not have always been the most epic soundtrack, it was definitely fitting to the atmosphere. There's no question that it sounded like Tron should sound. The visuals took a similar cue. Some complained that everything looked the same, and that observation was accurate; but how it did look was how Tron should look.

It's simplicity and lack of game-play depth may only cater to fans of the franchise. But being one myself, I can say that I did have a good time with this title. It was fun, enjoyable, and captured the world of Tron nicely. I'm not convinced it did so at a $60 price point, but should it obtain a Greatest Hits price tag then the value would be much more worth it for even non-fans to pick up.