For those of you that grew up during the time of the theatrical release of Walt Disney’s classic movie TRON, be prepared to have all of your childhood memories smashed. With a game release tied into the new release of the sequel TRON: Legacy, Disney Interactive and Propaganda Games bring us TRON: Evolution. Another one of those cheap and fast movie tie-in games that the hardcore fans will eat up faster then the speed of light. And they will be disappointed just as fast, if not faster.
While getting my hands on TRON: Evolution for the first time, being a fan of the original movie, I had high expectations. The overall style and look of TRON: Evolution looked spectacular and flashy enough to get anyone who had seen the first movie really excited. How quickly was I to forget that this was a movie tie-in game, a prequel technically, to a film that was currently in theaters. History has shown us many times that video games based off of movies of any sort, most of the time, tend to disappoint their fans. This was a fact that I soon found to be true very quickly as I played TRON: Evolution.
Characters from the movie make appearances
The beginning sections of the game consist of events that precede the events of the new movie TRON Legacy. Players will jump and dive their way through different sectors of a computer generated city dubbed TRON City, the main setting of the game’s events. The look of the city is awesome, Disney really went the distance in making this a true reboot to the original TRON universe. The people, vehicles, and data enemies players will run into each have their own definitive look that easily distinguishes friends and foes. However, all this flare, polish, and shine aside, this is where the cool stuff stops and the bad stuff begins.
The main problem with TRON: Evolution lies within the game play. There are a numerous amount of bugs, glitches, and game play errors that plague players when fighting through TRON City. The combat within the game requires players to “derezz” enemies with the classic TRON weapon, the Light Disk (or Data Disc). This sounds like a very cool concept for game play, but it is executed poorly in TRON: Evolution. There are different enemies thorough-out the game that require players to use specific attacks to destroy them quickly and efficiently. Without upgrading the main character with the proper attacks and special abilities, players will have a ridiculously hard time getting through areas that require the elimination of groups of enemies.
The fighting is not as good as it should be
This leads to another major problem with TRON: Evolution, the RPG-like upgrading system. When drezzing enemies, players can gain experience (XP) for each enemy defeated, which can be used to upgrade their character for both single player and multiplayer game modes. The problem however, is the poor distribution and lack of abundance in XP from enemies that prevent players from getting the right upgrades for the right times. Without getting a necessary disc upgrade, a player won’t be able to defeat a group of enemies or boss character with attacks that deal enough damage. This can eventually lead to a numerous amount of fast and annoying deaths in-game.
The final major problem with this game are the bugs that occur when a player is moving around and exploring TRON City. This is not a sand-box style of game, as that it is more linear then open-world, however there are sections of the game where players must run, jump, and scale buildings within TRON City in a parkor style of roaming. The way the main character is controlled is very similar to other games, like Prince of Persia or Assassins Creed, but with TRON skins and character models. There were many times when I tried to climb a wall or wall-run to a specific spot, and my character would end up jumping or falling off the edge and dying a meaningless death. This would occur more often then one would believe, including sections with some of the easiest plat-forming in gaming today. This can get very annoying and possibly turn many people away from competing TRON: Evolution at all. The problem does not lie in the layout or configuration of the controls, it lies within the programming and design of different events throughout the game. This would include the Light Cycle chase sections, which are so bad in so many ways, even the cool flashy effects can’t save them from being as horrible as they are. Quite honestly, they should have been a lot better then what we have gotten, as that the Light Cycles are a huge part of the TRON universe.
The cycle battles don't play as good as they look
There are other problems that are present in TRON Evolution, including the all but non-existent multiplayer modes. I was unable to jump into a match online seamlessly from single player at all, which by the way is one of the selling points on the back of the box. This can either be due to a lack of people jumping online with this game or the game having bad-matchmaking. It was disappointing because the multiplayer was something I had looked forward to ever since the game was first announced. There are also some story elements that bring up some important questions that should have been easily answered. Without giving anything away from the story, it is questionable why TRON, the main character from the first movie, is hardly present in the game at all when it bears his name in the title. This is something that many a TRON fan will question and be awfully disappointed about when playing this game from start to finish, if they make it that far.
The fighting is not as epic as it looks
TRON: Evolution is a game that could have been handled much better then it was delivered. There are so many things that could have enabled the game to shine as a great reboot to the classic movie. What we get however is yet another quick movie cash-in game that delivers on many sour notes on so many “could have been great” sections. It is a safe bet that anyone who isn’t a TRON fan will not get the true greatness of the franchise from playing this game. At that point, you might as well “drezz” this game and just go pop in the classic movie into you DVD or VHS player to get something much better then what is presented here.