To celebrate the UK launch of the film, Strategy Informer brings you its verdict on the tie-in game, Tron: Evolution
Movie tie-in games are the gaming industry's bastard child, the natural result of two highly commercialised entertainment sectors wanting to cooperate in order to promote a franchise to the consumer. Let's be honest, games that come under this banner are usually rubbish, for whatever reason - IP restraints, short development time, a lack of drive perhaps? No matter the cause, whether it's your Iron Man 2s, your Wall-Es or your Avatars, we here at Strategy Informer (and I say 'we', it's probably just me) wish they didn't exist.
Even though this isn't long after the original film, the game uses Legacy's slick art-style
Bearing that in mind then, as a movie tie-in game Disney's Tron: Evolution is actually surprisingly good. As a game, it's still a bit below standard in terms of the class of titles we've been getting this year, but it still crosses that threshold of 'fail' that means it's still worth looking at- something that can't be said for many of its brethren. Designed as a prequel to the upcoming film Tron: Legacy, Evolution attempts to fill in the gap somewhat to try and set up The Grid to how it ends up being in Legacy, as a substantial amount of real and grid time has passed since the original film.
Evolution comes with two modes - Story and Multiplayer. In Story-mode, you play as 'Anon', a System Monitor designed by Kevin Flynn to try and help control a growing crisis situation between the standard Programs and a new race of self-determinate beings known as ISO's. This story, it has to be said, is probably the weakest element of the game. It's ok in the sense that it's well thought through, and it more or less sets things up for the film, but I couldn't help but find myself disappointed at how slightly rushed everything was, and how... lightly, certain plot elements were treated. Not to give too much a way, but ISO's aren't in the film, they are in the game - how that happens could have had a little bit more emotion in it.
Gameplay wise, it's pretty engaging - the game is a mixture between Prince of Persia-style free running elements where you simply need to get from A to B. Not very challenging although you do sometimes have to 'work it out', which keeps the mind rolling. The other 'half' is combat, which are mainly set pieces or rooms that you need to clear before you move on. These steadily increase in difficulty, and it is rather satisfying pulling off a chain of advanced moves in order to deal with a large body of opponents. There's many different 'types' of enemies as well, each either their own weakness and specific ways of defeating them. It certainly keeps you on your toes, more or less.
The tank sections are a bit mindless, but you get to blow stuff up
Still, even the campaign layout could be better. Whilst the beginning is fairly interesting as it introduces you to the game, the characters etc... the middle section gets awfully repetitive. Free-running, combat, free-running, combat... you always seems to be working your way 'up' as well, which is a bit odd. There also could be more light-cycle/vehicle elements... or at least less scripted ones. You get to blast through some mofos in a tank a handful of times, but the light cycle sections are really just a race from A to B without getting crushed. You don't even get to duel anyone.
Still, some of the elements in where the single-player is lacking is more than made up for by the multiplayer. We'll be honest, the only good bit about multiplayer is the handful of maps that allow for decent light-cycle combat. When you think of Tron, you think of light-cycles, and whilst we're glad Propaganda have accommodated it, we're surprised they didn't go further down that particular theme - especially given how it lacks in single player. Melee combat (both hand to hand and disc-based) in multiplayer is still engaging, but it's a bit scrappy in the online space, not as... neat, I suppose. Also, given that they don't seem to have any kind of match-making going on at the moment, difference in levels is painfully noticeable in melee, where it's not so bad on a cycle.
With the base game, there are about four maps, and four gameplay modes - Disintegration and Team Disintegration are the standard deathmatch modes, and you also have Power Monger is a node control type game, and Bit Runner which sees you fighting over control of the 'bit'. You earn points as you control the bit, but you also lose health, so you have to keep moving and using energy lines whilst also fighting off anyone else who wants the bit. It's a decent pool to start off with in terms of game modes, although we would have expected to see a few more starting maps, or a game mode that revolves solely around light-cycles. Maybe we'll see it in DLC but Propaganda seems to have missed a trick there.
Online still isn't without its problems though... matches can get a bit laggy at times, and there doesn't seem to be a huge online population at the moment. Still there is re-play value here - collectables that actually have meaning and are not just random junk, your 'avatar' is persistent between online and single-player, so any experience you earn in either mode allows you to level up the one persona, and you can reap the benefits in both modes. Propaganda have also already started rolling out the DLC, so there will be some post-release support to try and keep things interesting.
The differing classes of enemies can be challenging sometimes...
TRON: EVOLUTION VERDICT
There is sense of slight disappointment that permeates this review - it’s true, we did come out of this slightly deflated, but that’s not to say this isn’t a good game. Propaganda have done a really good job in crafting something that not only achieves its main purpose, but also doesn’t completely suck. Perhaps we’d projected too much hope on it during the preview stage, but there are still a few aspects of this game that could be better. Still, this is a perfectly good title, and worth picking up if you find yourself wanting something different to play, or if you’ve seen the film and you want more.
TOP GAME MOMENT
A light-cycle duel that ends in someone being derezzed against your light trail. Very satisfying!