A review of Tron: Evolution after seeing legacy recently and downloading from games on demand...
Tron: Evolution is set between the events of each of the Tron films, acting as a direct prequel to the events of Tron Legacy. The game casts you as Anon, a security program created by Kevin Flynn. The game begins with Anon and Tron on a routine mission to introduce you to the basics of movement and combat. During this early portion of the game you also meet most of the cast who will be featured throughout the duration of the game. The game does an OK job of keeping the plot moving but without the assistance of my achievements popping up I would have never known where one chapter ended and another began.
The grid itself looks good and the Tron universe is represented well, there are a few nice nods back to the original Tron movie and you even have a handy Bit to guide you through levels should you become unsure of what to do next. The Bit proved very useful early one while I found my feet in the game and I found myself not needing it from about chapter three onwards, I'd pretty much already seen all the different ways of navigating stages. The grid does, however, start to feel repetitive after a while and you end up feeling like you've travelled parts of it before as you come to them.
The game mechanics themselves are a mixed bag. One one hand you look as cool as Tron himself as you flip around the screen, run up walls and do awesome trick-shots with your light disc during combat and sweet parkour moves during exploration phases; You also have to contend with the odd collision issue, or an animation loop becoming stuck on the odd enemy. As I just mentioned the game features some cool parkour running as your primary method of transport, but this can be dangerous all by itself and I found it more perilous than most of the enemy programs I encountered. In fact, most of my deaths were by just navigating stages. This is due to the fact that a lot of the platforming sections can be quite frustrating, allowing little to no room for error and multiple revisits to checkpoints.
Light cycles and tanks are also featured in the game. In single player there a couple of short sections in which you utilize these vehicles but they mostly come into play during multiplayer where tank battles can be fought and light cycles can be used with the simple tab of the RB. The light cycle's controls are rather responsive in terms of manoeuvres and they accelerate at a decent pace, also leaving their iconic light trail which damages enemies. The tanks on the other hand are devastatingly powerful as you would expect but suffer in terms of their mobility and speed.
The game's visuals as a whole are actually very good. The Tron universe is represented well but you don't really get much of a chance to explore it. Most of the sections in single player felt very linear. The characters themselves are quite well animated, particularly the lead characters' likenesses as well as their motions and expressions. The light effects and armour effects on Anon's reflective visor are also quite cool as they actually reflect their surroundings rather than a generic pre-rendered reflection.
The single player portion of the game does an OK job at moving the plot along during the game in short bursts. You are a security program and a virus has broken out, go fight lots. But the narrative also does give some cool insight into events touched upon in the movie. As mentioned above the platforming is most likely your deadliest enemy in the single player experience as it will cause a lot of retrying and a lot of frustration in some cases. The environments do sometimes lack any atmosphere and there are points where the soundtrack is almost non-existent, but doesn't detract too much from the game; although the grid could have been a bit more populated than it is represented in the game.
The multiplayer portions of the game are good in theory, you engage in game grid free-for-all and team games. The basics are there; death-match, team death-match and variants on capture the flag style gameplay, and you do get to use your light cycle and sometimes tanks. Your single player character's upgrades, equipment and abilities all carry over into multiplayer and there are many nodes in single player from which you can join directly into the game grid for multiplayer action at any point. However, it is quickly apparent that the high level players just dominate newer players in a lot of the game modes due to high level enhancers (game tilting upgrades) and high level upgrades to their armour and discs. This can make the multiplayer very unbalanced as I found out before I managed to raise the level of my character further.
Tron: Evolution isn't the best movie tie-in out there, but it's not the worst either. I have a decent enough time playing it through even with all the frustrations and once you gain a level high enough the multiplayer can be fun. But it is also full of some rather frustrating problems which can ruin your enjoyment of the game. The potential that a game such as this could of had, and just thinking about how awesome it could have been make it feel like a missed opportunity as all we really have from it a Tron-flavoured free-running beat-em-up.
I give Tron: Evolution 6.5/10.