Tron Evolution Review
- Posted December 3rd, 2010 at 17:35 EDT by Steven Williamson
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A must-play game for fans of the Tron Universe, though even they may become frustrated with some of the clunky parkour gameplay and repetitive battles.
- The graphics and audio -- the Tron Universe looks and sounds fantastic
- How clever level design encourages some smooth free-flowing parkour gameplay
- The integration between single player and multiplayer
- The lack of variety in the combat
- The underuse of light cycles in single player campaign
- Falling to our death frequently thanks to the unrefined parkour gameplay
Hats off to Propaganda Games, who has tried to break away from the movie-based videogame stigma by creating a universe befitting of Tron’s cult status, capturing with some style the visual aesthetic of the original, cult classic. The evocative neon-lit blue, black and orange high-tech industrial environments offer a parkour playground filled with futuristic fixtures and fittings that shimmer and shine, with many platforms to leap to, walls to run off and grapple points to swing from wherever you turn.
It’s encouraging to see that Tron Evolution tries harder than most not to end up being branded an awful movie tie-in, but it still doesn’t do enough. While fans of Tron will likely get a kick out of the game’s sharp visual style and how it expands on the Tron Universe, others may be disappointed with the core gameplay and the simple disc throwing combat system.
Not only does the storyline act as a prequel to the new movie, Tron Legacy - with the action leading up to the events of that film - but also it builds effectively on the Tron Universe, revealing such snippets of information as to how Kevin Flynn got himself trapped in this digital universe in the first place. While the storyline should appeal to those familiar with Tron mythology, it’ll likely isolate those who aren’t as acquainted with the brand by failing to provide much of a back-story or context for your actions.
In short: you play the role of a security program named 'Anon' that was created by Kevin Flynn to stave off the threat caused by ISOs, a self-created race of programs intent on causing damage in cyber space. The story rarely drives the gameplay forward, but some sharp cut-scenes and excellent voice acting redeem it somewhat. It's a testament to the quality script writing that we've played Tron Evolution without wanting to skip the cut-scenes, though part of that might be because subconsciously we just wanted to have a rest from the button-mashing combat and frustrating free-running gameplay.
Parkour features heavily in Tron Evolution. As you chain your free-running moves together and try and gain momentum around the environment, static crackles overhead and the beeps and whirs of the electronics age echo around the futuristic chambers. With Daft Punk’s pulsating electronic music banging away in the background, dancing in time to your movement, things feel pretty good, at least for a while.
Tron Evolution features two main types of gameplay: platforming and combat, though there are some RPG elements thrown in courtesy of a levelling up system and some vehicle-based sequences involving light cycles and tanks. The free-running gameplay takes up a large chunk of your time and although it has its technical flaws, impressive level design ensures that there’s plenty of static objects to use for your free-running moves, and when you smoothly chain together wall runs and link grapple moves by looking out for glowing orange objects in the environment, gameplay overall flows very nicely.
However, it’s quite an unforgiving mechanic. Press your jump button one time too many, or time a jump slightly wrong and you’ll fall to your death and have to start again – as such, things soon become a game of trial and error. Controlling ‘Anon’ reminds us of when we first tried to get to grips with moving Altair around his environment in the first Assassin’s Creed game, where he would bounce back off the walls rather than run up them because our timing was all askew. In Tron Evolution, ‘Anon’s animation is impressive as he leaps, vaults and runs at speed, but some poor camera angles combined with our hero’s annoying knack of bouncing off a wall instead of climbing up it hampers the free-flowing experience.
Typical of a platform game, you’ll often have to spend time examining your surroundings to work out a way to get to the next area, combining free-running with disc throwing to open gateways to new areas. Working out pathways through locations and then stringing together the required parkour moves to acrobatically get to the exit, is really the main highlight of an otherwise generic action adventure.
On your way from 'A' to 'B,' you'll inevitably face a battle against enemies that ... (continued on next page) ----