TRON: Evolution

Players do not have to see the two TRON films to enjoy this stand-alone experience, but can enjoy challenging fast-paced gameplay and extra emotional attachments to the films’ concepts, characters, and storylines. This version’s storyline occurs from 1990 to 2000 and provides insight to and, as the game title suggests, how The Grid and other elements of Kevin Flynn’s created world have evolved over time. This game storyline also acts as a sequel to the graphic novel TRON: Betrayal. Characters from both films appear in this third person perspective game.

Players zip through the action as Anon (short for anonymous), a system monitor created by Flynn. Viruses, conspiracies, and various power struggles factor into the storyline, which includes a virus producing character named Abraxas.

ISOs (Isomorphic Algorithms) rival the Basic programs as ISO leaders Jalen and Radia factor into Clu’s shifting perspective. Voice acting veteran Fred Tatasciore plays Kevin Flynn and Clu while John Glover plays the virus producing antagonist Abraxas. Film stars Bruce Boxleitner and Olivia Wilde provide voice acting for Tron and Quorra respectively.

Movements mainly involves sprints (R1) and jumps (X button). The aerial based maneuvers incorporate elements from capoeira, martial arts, and Parkour and greatly enhance the fighting aspects. Players can move the camera with the right analog stick and reset it by pressing the stick (R3). The most challenging move involves moving the left analog stick away from walls/obstacles and pressing the X button to cover large distances. An additional tutorial “arena” with optional training by category for freeplay would reduce the considerable in-game trial-and-error, especially when traversing large spaces. Yes, a jet pack would be the easy way out, but this challenge creates additional satisfaction and emotional attachment.

The role-playing aspects include power-up, energy boosts and other essentials always available for purchase at special stations. The load times are relatively low, but the text hints rip through the bottom center screen too fast and there is slow down option.

The disc becomes the basic weapon as players can hold it for melee attacks or throw four different types of discs using the directional buttons. The heavy, explosive, corrosive, and stasis (slowing) discs also upgrade with hit multipliers, which thankfully reduces the disc throws and provides some awe-inspiring takedowns. Players can always find a list of all the combination moves in the Options mode.

The vehicles include the classic Light Cycle and the Tank. The PlayStation Move controller works on the Light Cycle, but the control button set-up should have been changed to have the T button as the gas instead of the square button. Players tilt the controller to steer and flick it to throw a disc. The triangle button provides the brake. The heavily armored Tank gets underused in the single player campaign, but works well in the online multiplayer mode.

The Online mode incorporates leaderboards, friend invites, and voice chat with required headset for two to 10 players. Online game modes include Disintegration/Team Disintegration, the free-for-all Power Monger, and capture-the-flag like Bit Runner. These game formats are familiar, but the endless movements, powers, and actions create endless action scenarios. The classic 90-degree turns are an essential addition for high-level success.

Propaganda Games’ production values reach a high level with sharp set design with various neon colored highlights and outlines. Players can easily distinguish and avoid the corrupted areas thanks to sharp colors and textured layers. The functional illuminated level areas and glowing wall strips prompt players to refill their energy and health respectively.

The costumes incorporate some revealing outfits for the female characters while Daft Punk enhances the action with two songs from TRON Legacy, “Derezzed” and “The Grid”. The game supports 3D viewing, which is not covered in this review…maybe that big box under the tree is a 3D TV from Santa.

Casual gamers can still enjoy many aspects, but players must conquer several different areas to optimize this recommended gaming experience. Completed challenges come hard and fast, just like the fast paced gameplay. For example, complete the single player campaign on hard difficulty to unlock the insane difficulty.

Players can also unlock several other extra features, special content and bonuses, which all help justify the $59.99 suggested retail price. Collectibles include hidden “TRON files” and “Abraxas shards”. The Extra mode also includes data logs (a.k.a. player statistics), model galleries, concept art, and credits.

Players can earn trophies and the add-on content includes multiplayer maps. The game already includes a Sam Flynn multiplayer skin and two multiplayer maps, Codestream Nexus and User’s Plaza.

A PlayStation 3 collector’s edition is also available and includes a specially designed storage case, the game, and a collectible light cycle model created by Sideshow collectibles. The hot selling Air Hogs RDC Tron Light Cycle would have been a big enhancement to this edition…something that really would have extended the game experience.

The spiral-bound Tron: Evolution – Prima Essential Guide: Prima Official Game Guide by David Knight is also available. Also available on Nintendo DS, Nintendo Wii, PC, PlayStation Portable, and Xbox 360.

The extra challenge factor and high quality graphics put this above average game (***1/2 out of four stars) into the high-end group of movie-to-game adaptations.

Copyright © Michael Siebenaler

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