As Gamer Limit’s resident silverback, I am probably one of the only ones of the crew that is old enough to actually have seen the original Tron in the theatre. It captured my imagination as a child, and I’ve been a fanboy of the franchise ever since.
I brought two separate Tron t-shirts with me to wear during my downtime at the show, one of which actually glows in the dark. So, when I say I had high hopes for the upcoming Tron Legacy tie-in game from Disney Interactive, Tron Evolution: The Video Game (thank goodness they tell us it’s a video game in the title), you’ll understand what I mean.
Other than the light-cycle mini-game from the original Tron arcade cabinet, games based on the IP have a history of extremely spotty quality. From the classic Intellivision title, Deadly Discs of Tron, to the more recent Tron 2.0, I’ve played them all and been mostly disappointed.
Seeing the slick look of the game in screenshots and teasers, I began to let myself get hopeful for the fun factor to improve in Tron Evolution. Unfortunately, I’m forced to sadly report that the look of the game is about the only thing that really stands out about this title.
Tron Evolution is intended to act as a bridge between the old and new movies, chronologically treated as more of a immediate prequel to Tron Legacy in the canon timeline. Olivia Wilde will reprise her role as Quorra from Legacy in the game. The game really does look slick; it’s evocative of the Tron universe and it really feels right.
When I picked up the controller and actually got into the game, my excitement began to get deflated. If you’re going to make sure that one part of a Tron game works, it has to be the light cycles. Riding the light cycles in Tron Evolution wasn’t bad or broken, but it wasn’t much fun either. The bikes were twitchy and the handling was sloppy, although being able to throw your discs from the back of your cycle and not immediately deres-ing when hitting another cycle’s light trail were both good touches.
When on foot, the game consisted mainly of parkour platforming sections with wall runs and jumps, and the combat was fairly generic melee combos and ranged disc throws. The non light-cycle sections basically played like a poor man’s Prince of Persia, and while I was glad to see the parkour elements, the disc combat leaves me desperately wanting.
It really felt like the ranged disc combat was an afterthought to the melee combat, and as a Tron fanatic, all I really wanted to do was throw discs and block enemy discs. The ranged combat lacked any real depth, and the camera didn’t help matters when attempting to play a more strategic distance fight.
I’m still hyped for the movie, but Tron Evolution captures the look and feel of Tron without capturing much of the soul. I’ve been fooled by many Tron games in the past, but in the words of the Master Control Program, I’ve gotten 2415 times smarter since then.