Today I was an acrobatic computer program fighting to preserve a digital world.
Tron: Legacy was a bit of a disappointment theatrically. It looked great but the story was lacking and most of the film’s principal actors appeared to be bored (or indifferent). So imagine the surprise I felt when Tron: Evolution turned out to in some ways be better than the film in terms of story, while maintaining the film’s style. Yeah, Tron: Evolution is actually superior to the movie it is a tie-in to, but that said, still lacking greatness.
Tron: Evolution is basically a third person platformer in the style of Price of Persia set in the Tron universe (meaning that instead of temple ruins we have neon lights in a cold computerized city). The game’s story is actually a prequel to the film (meaning it actually sits between the two films in terms of story), which has you playing as Anon (short for Anonymous), a new Monitor program installed by Flynn to investigate a possible murder of an ISO (self aware computer programs that spawned on their own). Before long Anon is facing down Clu’s plot to destroy the ISO’s and return The Grid to The Basics; a plan that includes killing Flynn himself. You must travel throughout the computerized world, battling Clu and a virus known as Abraxis, in order to save The Grid, protect Quorra (an ISO) and stop Clu.
The aesthetics of the game match that of the film. Visually everything has that same cold and neon look that the Legacy pulled off so well; it just looks cool. Simple as that. The game’s audio is not entirely produced by Daft Punk (though a few tracks from the film do make an appearance), but much like the film the music does a fantastic job of setting the game’s tone. Some of the character models are lacking a bit, but the environments are of such quality you can easily forgive it.
In addition to the parkour influenced platforming, Tron: Evolution has several vehicle and light cycle moments that work with varying degrees of success. The Light Cycle moments are more frustrating than fun but the light tank is a blast (pun intended). A pretty simple and straightforward combat and upgrade system defines the combat of the game. Basically the game isn’t much more than a hack and slash once you stop running up and down the walls, not that there is anything really wrong with that. These components of the game all work for the most part, though combat is simple enough to become repetitive as the game progresses.
That is the real flaw of Tron: Evolution. The game just gets kind of boring after a while. It just lacks that special something that titles such as Prince of Persia had; if I had to take a stab I would say that it lacks the same level of charisma (most likely lacking in a main character personality to keep the game interesting). It is hard to explain definitively though what the game is lacking, you just know that it is though. Yes, it is enjoyable, yes you are having fun, but when all is said and done you remember the story and the visuals but forget much of the actual game part (kind of like after watching the film you remember the visuals and score but forget much of the story). Tron: Evolution is without a doubt a fun game worth playing, it just doesn’t feel quite complete.
Really though, the biggest shame is watching Tron: Legacy after playing Tron: Evolution and the watching your disappointment with the film grow to all new levels.
Tomorrow I learn how to make friends and match colors in Sesame Street: Once Upon a Monster.
Final Rating: 7/10
CBR Break Down:
Console Played On: Xbox 360
Time to completion: Approximately 6 hours.
Gamer Score Earned: 335/1000
Price Bought at: $7.50
Current Price: $14.61 (Amazon)
Recommend Purchase Price: If you can find for $10 or less go for it.
Why you should buy it: Seriously better than Tron: Legacy.
Why you shouldn’t buy it: You don’t understand dem’ fangled computer machines.