There are some rather interesting facts worth knowing about TRON: Evolution. It’s developed by Propaganda games and published by Disney Interactive. Disney control Propaganda. It’s the videogame follow up to a 30-year-old film. It has some of the cast from the recent film release, TRON: Legacy, in it – notably absent is Jeff Bridges. Propaganda games fairly recently binned their latest Pirates Of The Caribbean title: Armada Of The Damned. Armada Of The Damned was an action/RPG. Propaganda Games has very recently been disbanded. TRON Evolution is an action/RPG. TRON: Evolution is a rushed title.
Granted, that last ‘fact’ is rather open to opinion, but I don’t think many will have cause to rebuke it. Picking out the pertinent information there, you can probably guess what TRON: Evolution is like. It’s a medley of ideas of committee, combined with what were clearly the leftovers of the studio’s previous work in progress, given a skin of a film title from a parent company.
Hmmm. So not a great start, then. Well, lets start with the positives. The most positive thing here is that TRON: Evolution is, despite all that, not the kind of woeful movie tie-in that many would have expected. We imagine that, had the team not been working on something a little more substantial, that this would have been the case, but thankfully, it’s not. Similarly, it dodges the “If you like the films, you’ll like this” bullet, because there really isn’t much here that follows the film, bar an obvious stylistic concept and suitable back story. There’s no real attempt to make TRON: Evolution anything different, or build on the stylings of the film. In fairness, unless the team were setting out to create something groundbreaking, there’s no real need to break the mould in terms of storyline. Really all they had to do was create combat that worked in an environment that worked, all without glitches.
Sadly none of that has been achieved, or at least not to mysatisfaction anyway. Starting with the combat, there’s much to like about it. It’s varied, for a start, and requires a degree of skill above similar titles to progress. It feels a lot like God Of War in many ways, and has the same, if not greater, level of customisability. Different weapons and styles give you benefits over the varying types of enemy, and as your awareness of the combat system matures, as does the enjoyment of the game. The trouble is that it’s a kind of stuttering enjoyment that doesn’t really push you to play more. There’s no real sense of power in any of the moves, and most situations require either all out attack, or excessive use of the parry system. In all though, the combat system stands above most of its contemporaries as being at least a step in the right direction.
Then there’s the movement. This is where the game really slips back into the standard jump/wall run/vault/grapple nonsense of the likes of Prince Of Persia. There’s really no need for this, and far from being an integral part of the game, it feels rushed and completely arbitrary. There are few points at which using the floor is deemed an appropriate method with which to get from ‘A’ to ‘B’. It’s all so desperately unnecessary, and what’s worse, it’s rather more clunky than you want it to be. Move a tick in the wrong direction, or fail to jump at exactly the right time, and you’ve had it. While there’s plenty of well placed save points, it never makes you feel in any way adept at the art of parkour. With that in mind, it kind of loses the point of having free running in the game.
Multiplayer, things are a little different. The three types, namely bikes, tanks and deathmatch fighting are at least a step outside the norms of thins kind of game, and are offered either in the single player campaign or direct from the menu screen. While these are at least reasonably innovative, the general quality of the game means you’ll more than likely have no-one to fight in a couple of months. Regardless of the relative quality of the multiplayer, it’s a nice-to-have feature, rather than a core part of the game, and as such, only manages to raise the score a little. If you do find yourself in possession of TRON: Evolution, make sure you try out the multiplayer, as it can be rather good fun, if you’ve levelled up your character enough.
So, what’s present in TRON: Evolution is something better than the sum of its parts. Granted the sum of its parts is really rather dire, but in making something with at least a degree of quality, when it could quite easily have been complete rubbish is worthy of note. However, there are a lot of great games out there, which are better deserving of your time than this.
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