Anyone who listens to the N4G Radio Podcast will know that when I originally played this game back in December, I thought it was a huge turd of a game. Because of this, ZT thought I would be the perfect person to review it.
But here’s the thing, upon putting the game back in and downloading a patch, the game feels different, better even. I don’t know if it’s just me, but I found myself getting on with it a lot more. The game has become playable and dare it say it, enjoyable!
Don’t get me wrong; this game still has its problems, a few in fact. But these can pretty much be overlooked due to the fact that the game shines in other areas, primarily the story.
The game takes place a few years after the events of the original film. The Grid has thrived and expanded under the watchful eye of Kevin Flynn. Because Flynn cannot be in the Grid 24/7, he creates a program in his image, Clu, who, along with Tron, helps Flynn develop the world and try to create the perfect programs. Then, something amazing happens. Programs start to develop from within The Grid. These programs, called ISOs, seem more advanced than the user developed programs. As you can imagine, Flynn gets rather excited about it. Clu, on the other hand does not. He feels threatened by the ISOs and sees them as a virus. In order to protect the system, he decides to take matters in his own hands, which starts with killing Tron and Flynn and seizing control of The Grid.
This is where you come in. You take control of Monitor, a new security program created by Flynn to help Tron protect the cyber world. You must travel The Grid in order to find a way to stop Clu from destroying all of the ISO’s. The story is the game’s strongest part: well thought out and the perfect lead up to the Tron Legacy film.
The game plays out a lot like the Prince of Persia series. You fight some bad guys for a bit, then you run up, down and across walls traversing the game world before fighting some more bad guys. There are also the odd Light Cycle and Tank levels which do help break up the general gameplay. The combat is rather generic with the ability to perform light, heavy and melee attacks. You can, of course, string these together to produce a large variety of combos, but you learn quickly that the best way to derezz most of the enemies is by using the block and parry move. You also obtain different disc abilities during the course of the game. These add effects to your attacks such as slowing your enemies down or corrupting them with a virus. This will help later on in the game as there are enemies that will be prone to those types of attacks.
The biggest problem the game has is with the free running sections. Getting from point A to point B should be fun as it requires you to jump over gaps, run across walls and generally act like one of those fancy free runner types. Unfortunately, it is easier said than done! Doing all of these things requires pin point accuracy with no real margin for error. Because controlling Monitor can be awkward at times, you end up falling to you death on several occasions! It’s not too bad in the first few chapters, but as the game progresses, the free running becomes more elaborate, resulting in extreme frustrated. It’s such a shame, as this should be the fun part of the game, since much of it is made up of the free running sections.
Where the game does get inventive is the levelling up system. Called ’Versions’, as you complete objectives and derezz enemies you will be given XP. The more you get, the more you level up your Version. When you hit a new level, you are given megabytes to spend on levelling up Monitor. These range from extra health and energy to unlocking disc abilities. It’s a fun system and really fits in well with the game. The most interesting part of it is that levelling up is persistent across the story mode and multiplayer. This means that if you are struggling in multiplayer, you can just play the story mode for a bit longer and gain the experience you need to help you stay on top. It is a really great feature that you don’t often see. The game also has a New Game + feature so that you can start a new game at a higher difficulty and carry over all your XP and upgrades.
The multiplayer is pretty standard. There are plenty of game types to choose from: all of the normal stuff such as capture the flag (or tanks in this case), free for all, etc. The games are all 5v5 with the game adding bots where needed. It can be quite fun for a little while, but it hardly breaks any new ground.
Tron: Evolution is a game that has so much going for it, but lets itself down at the last hurdle. With average combat and poorly designed free running, the game ultimately redeems itself in the story. Tron fans should like it, as it adds meaningful content to the canon and, at its best, is a really fun hack and slash game. Just expect to throw down your controller in a rage when the game shows it bad side.
Review copy provided by publisher.