Disney Interactive have managed to turn the movie tie-in genre on its head by producing a videogame that surpasses even its silver-screen sibling in the success stakes.
Fresh from ‘wowing’ the world with the big screen bonanza that was Tron: Legacy, Disney Interactive have gone one step further and introduced the gaming masses to their latest character to grace the legendary title in the shape of one ‘Anon’. Along with a new ‘baddie’ for the fan’s to hiss and boo at there are also a whole host of new locations, gadgetry, skills and weapons for the player to get their digital teeth into. We guarantee that once you do take a bite, however, that you will return for second helpings. Of that there is no doubt.
First off in our review of this wonderful game is the storyline. Rather than following the staple diet of movie-tie’s the world over, and sticking to the script of the film, Tron: Evolution is more of a bridge between the original movie and the latest Hollywood outing for its much-loved cast and characters. Kevin Flynn returns once more, although this time around far more in his digital guise than that of the flesh as he seems to live out his life almost exclusively in the game grid these days, rarely, if ever, venturing further than the confines of his office or home before plunging back into the circuitry of the artificial Utopia he has created for himself and his population of programmes.
All seems well in this artificial haven. Well enough, that is, until a new life form emerges of its own accord. The newly evolved Isos are a fully fledged life form in their own right. They are independent and sentient and more than capable of free will and thought. This poses problematical for the realms overlord Flynn, as he now has to cope with a rapidly distrustful populous following the arrival of the Isos. To confound matters further there is always the archetypal villain on hand to stir the pot and fan the fires of malcontent and hate even further, and in Tron: Evolution we are not exempt from this rule of thumb as the resident ‘bad-guy’ of the piece, a certain Abraxas, takes centre stage to make Flynn’s life, and the lives of his programmes, a living, or rather a digital Hell.
And so enters the hero of the hour, the man of the moment Anon to save the day and restore peace, harmony and order to the world of the Grid. Anon is something of an enigma himself. Made as a roaming security programme and given a free hand by Flynn to getting the job done, Anon is a silent assassin stopping only during his astounding repertoire of Parkour moves long enough to dispense some cyber justice to his foes with some truly spectacular fighting skills, and aided with some sizzling weaponry.
Moving along we come to the game’s control system and gameplay, and all we have to say on that is that Tron has learned from the mistakes of others when they have attempted to incorporate the urban sport of ‘Free Running’ into their titles gameplay. Comparisons to other platformers such as Prince of Persia, Mirrors Edge and even Assassin’s Creed are to be expected, however Tron: Evolution is far more than just another pretty platformer, make no mistake about that. Slick and super smooth the controls are so simple that even a six year-old could vault around the Grid making an acrobat feel nauseous with vertigo. No fiddly controls are needed to accomplish daring and dazzling displays of fleet-footed artistry as you take Anon around the realm with such ease it is hardly noticeable at times just how much effort you have to put in to pull off these striking moves of athleticism, and for the same reason the developers must be accredited for conjuring up a true platformer where you get to be dazzled by the surroundings as you move through and around them, instead of spending most of the game staring at button sequences or following the characters feet to ensure of a precise moment to launch him into the latest triple toe-loop. There are absolutely no issues with frame rate drop or glaring problems with glitches of any kind from start to finish in the game, so pull on your rubber ‘light suit’ and get yourself among some truly stunning game grid action. Gameplay is enjoyable and action packed from the onset of proceedings right through to the final sequences. There has to be an easy twenty hours of great gaming to be had here following the differences in difficulty and additional challenges.
The multiplayer was a welcome addition to the game as it offered a whole new take on the standard first-person shooter style of gameplay that seems to be dominating the online charts of late. However the way that Tron sets its stall out in the multiplayer is to take that familiarity and add to the blend its own charming mix of compelling gameplay and excellent maps and abilities. Everything is upgradeable, naturally, and so you will discover after any decent length of time spent enjoying the game online with friends that you will have powers that even Superman would marvel at.
In the campaign/story mode is where you will spend a great deal of your time, and thanks to the very generous checkpoint system that the developers have seen fit to install in the game, you will not find yourself having to perform tasks and challenges over and over again. A minor point to some, and yet a welcome one to others we think.
Puzzles and challenges are littered throughout the Grid, and they take on various guises from competing in the games to performing particularly difficult moves that will culminate in an objective being accomplished or being opened up to you. Whilst there may be nothing too taxing here for platform gamers to worry their heads over, it has to be noted that nor is the game a linear walk-through from beginning to end. You must have some form of gaming ability and platforming prowess to accomplish the missions to any standard of success, and to assume that you may simply breeze through the title whilst cooing at the effects is to seriously underestimate what Tron has to offer to the genre.
The combat in Tron is far from the standard affair that you would expect to find in other titles in its class. But that is just what separates this game from competitors in its genre, the sheer class that Tron exudes over its rivals. Whether you are racing around the Grid in the awesome Light Cycles, Tanks or if just beating opponents to their bytes with your Light Disc, the combat in Tron is far from ‘run-of-the-mill’ in that there is nothing else out there quite like it from any other game in its genre. Fresh, fast and fluid gaming is the order of the day with so much content contained within the games main storyline that it will see you enjoying the delights of Tron’s Gridworld for many an hour to come.
Graphics: Slick and silky smooth with definite a ‘big screen’ feel to the proceedings following the developers obvious influence by the Hollywood blockbuster. Locations are expansive, clean and suffer nothing in the way of glitches or frame rate drop as Tron looks as good as anything on the platformer market, and then some. The mixture of the neon effect lighting against the deep blackness of the surrounding world almost gives the player the feeling of actually being a part of the game grid. 8
Gameplay: Cracking platforming at its very best as you take Anon on a rollercoaster ride through the stunning world that has been laid on a silver platter for you. With a sizzler of a storyline, action packed gaming and fantastic free running throughout the title, players will be hard pressed to find a platform title to rival Disney Interactive’s awesome game. 8
Replay Value: We base the score on the fact that the game has a terrific campaign for the single player to enjoy, that is genuinely worth the replay on the harder difficulties, as well as the fact that the online multiplayer see’s up to 10 gamers competing over four fantastic gaming zones in some awesome takes on firm favourites such as Team Deathmatch, Capture The Flag and King of The Hill. You too will discover that Tron has some of the finest competitive gaming of this genre. 7
Presentation: Another true gaming gem from Disney Interactive that topped off the year for the company. Tron has taken Disney into a whole new arena as it competes with other studios and publishers, but on this evidence it is most definitely a step in the right direction as they score hit after hit. Long may it continue into 2011. 8