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TRON: Evolution

 

TRON: Evolution

ESRB: Teen - T
Platform: PS3
Category: Action Games
 
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Author:

Developer: Propaganda Games
Publisher: Disney Interactive

Features:

1 Player
2-10 Players Online
Required HDD Space: 1.9 GB
HDTV: 720p/1080i/1080p
Dual Shock 3
Headset
Leaderboards
Lobbies/Matchmaking
Messaging/Friend Invite in Game
Add-On Content
PlayStation Home

TRON has a special place in my heart. I remember seeing the original movie at a local twin cinema with my brother. It was an amazing experience to see such cutting edge graphics on the big screen. The whole idea of seeing a ‘living’ side to a computer world was a first for me, even if it wasn’t real. Well Disney is releasing the sequel to the original movie called TRON: Legacy, so it was expected that we would see a videogame adaptation of some sort. TRON: Evolution is one such game. It is out on both the Xbox 360 and PS3. I had a chance to review the final retail version for the PS3, and after my time with it I have to say I enjoyed it; but with that in mind there is no doubt that it is not game of the year material.

Graphics

Visually, TRON: Evolution is a pretty good looking game. There is no doubt that the style we have seen in the TRON: Legacy trailers plays a major part in this game — from the colours to the outfits, it is very futuristic indeed. You’ll find a lot of blue and orange neon strips throughout the game that seem to benefit from the HD power of the PS3. I didn’t find any technical issues as I played, such as screen tearing or draw in. You may, and I use the word may, come across some slowdown now and then, but this is far and few between. The PS3 version supports 3D TV’s, unfortunately I did not get to try this out as I don’t have any of the current 3D displays.

In game characters move pretty well, in my opinion, as they do their own thing. From jumping and running on walls to slamming down, crushing, and ‘de-rezzing’ your enemies, all looks good. You’ll also notice a substantial use of special effects, such as lighting, reflections, and particle effects to name a few. Heck, I even noticed how the world of the ‘grid’ reflected off my own character's shiny armour. Expect to spend some time just looking around and admiring the scenery when you first start playing.

Sound

The voice acting in TRON: Legacy is pretty solid. There is some talent from the movie, particularly Olivia Wilde as Quorra. Jeff Bridges does not make his voice available for the game, but the voice actor who does handle these voice duties does a very admirable job and it is almost indistinguishable. You will also find some solid music in the game, including two tracks from Daft Punk, who just recently released their TRON music album in stores and on iTunes. Finally, the sound effects do a very good job of bringing the ‘grid’ to life. From the distinctive sound of light discs travelling through the air to the very recognizable sound of an enemy ‘de-rezzing,’ you’ll find nothing to dislike here.

Gameplay

The interesting thing about TRON: Evolution is that it is not a videogame based on the movie’s story. The game actually bridges the gap between the original 1982 TRON movie and the movie set to release in theatres in about a week and a half. When I was at E3 earlier this year, and had a demo of the game, I was told that if people pay close attention to the game’s plot, that some of the new movie will make even more sense. The game’s story has you playing as Anon, a system monitor who is trying to find out what is amiss in the ‘grid’ as well as stop Clu’s surprising rise to power. You will also find out what happened to Flynn after the original movie. I found that I enjoyed the entire story and it is cool that it does bridge the gap between the two movies. If there is any fault here, it is that those with knowledge of the original movie will fare a little better in terms of characters and plot, but it is not imperative that you watch the first movie.

Much of the gameplay involves running around from point A to point B, watching cut-scenes, and even interacting with other characters. Making your way from point A to point B is not just a casual trip either. You will find there are many ways for you to get there. From running on walls, shimmying up surfaces, jumping from platform to platform, and even ‘zip-lining’ now and then, your journey will have you doing many different things. Many of the moves do feel familiar. If you played Prince of Persia or similar games, then you will feel right at home. For those who have not, don’t worry, it is easy to pick up and you will enjoy some of the acrobatic feats you can perform.

As you make your way through the various levels you will find you have to fight against those trying to stop you from reaching your objective. This is where the combat mechanics of TRON are highlighted. You can melee all your enemies, you can throw your light disc, or you can do a combination of both. There is the ability to learn combat-combos that are very effective against your enemies. As you progress through the game your light disc gains additional powers enabling you to be more successful at combat. You find such powers as: Heavy Disc (pulverizes armoured enemies), Corrosive Disc (damages enemies over time while siphoning heath for your character), Stasis Disc (slows enemies movement down) and Explosive Disc (explodes on impact). The ability to power up your light disc and use it in different ways adds a bit of spice to the combat mechanics of the game.

Be forewarned that you have energy that must be monitored. You’ll find your energy bar will dwindle as you use more advanced moves, and of course you also take damage from being hit. You can refill energy and health by running over illuminated areas in the level (energy) and running over glowing strips on the walls (health). You’ll find that this aspect of the game will make you think about what moves to pull off (e.g. offensive versus defensive) and when to make the effort to get health to continue your fight.

I found that much of the combat was very entertaining at times, especially through about the first half of the game; but as I progressed towards the end much of this became somewhat repetitive. That being said, pulling off some great melee and light disc combos resulting in your opponent ‘de-rezzing’ is very satisfying. Along with the repetitiveness, you will find that some stages feel like they just respawn enemies just for the sake of creating opposition in an effort to stop you. I found many instances where it seemed like enemies kept coming and coming for no apparent reason. I don’t mind fighting them, virtually speaking, but man, give them an even flow and don’t make some areas feel over-bogged with such.

Breaking up the exploration and combat sequences is the ability to jump into the iconic light cycle or light tank; of course the former being the more recognizable of the two. These are a nice break in the game, as they provide yet another experience in your adventure. In terms of how these break play, the light cycles are used to speed through an obstacle course of sorts (e.g. explosions, breaks in the road, etc.) as you try to further your progress through a level. They are very fast, and handle more like a real-life motorcycle as opposed to the light cycles featured in the original movie that could turn 90 degrees in an instant. You don’t battle with them like they were used in both the original movie and the original arcade game (also released in 1982). As for the light tanks, they are the weaker of the two vehicle segments. Here you drive and blast other light tanks or recognizers in order to say alive. The control is not as ‘tight’ as I would have liked and I found that driving them was slow and not engaging. It is too bad as the light tank stages could have been so much more integral and enjoyable. Regardless, given that Propaganda Games did make the effort to inject some variety, and put in some very TRON-like vehicles that fans should remember, I give some bonus marks here.

For those looking for a long lasting and deep playing experience, TRON doesn’t fit this bill. You can probably finish the game within a week or so, depending on how many marathon sessions you do. For those looking for more of a challenge, make sure to turn up the skill difficulty. For those who consider themselves completionists, you can come back and search for the hidden “TRON files” and “Abraxas shards.” This will not only give you some satisfaction by finding them, but will also expand on the backstory even more; however, if finding hidden items is not your cup of tea, then your first play through will be your last for the single player mode.

TRON: Evolution also includes some pretty enjoyable multiplayer modes. Sure, it won’t unseat this year’s heavy hitters like Black Ops and Halo: Reach, but at least it offers more replayability. Here you will find standard multiplayer modes such as deathmatches, CTF’s, and King of the Hill type games. All-in-all the experience was pretty good and I had some fun in the few matches I played. Interestingly enough, you can use the light cycles in some of the play, and they can be pretty fun; that being said, don’t expect that classic top down grid like battle from the original arcade game. TRON manages to follow the COD formula in such that you can try different loadout combinations to find what best suits you. One of the better features of the multiplayer aspect is that you can carry your character stats and powers from single player into the online multiplayer and back again, without having to leave the game. Overall I think that TRON’s multiplayer does a pretty good job and with support for DLC, I will be interested to see what more is offered in this arena.


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