Friday, December 17, 2010

Xbox 360 - Tron Evolution

Tron Evolution by Propaganda Games

Format: Third person shooter / racing / climbing / fighting
Type: Movie Tie-In
Rated: Violence

Tron Evolution is a sequel to the original film Tron and a prequel to the film Tron Legacy. The story in this game fills in the gap between these two films. You play as the 'System Monitor' program (another type of Tron-like program). As the 'System Monitor' you are designed to seek out rogue code and destroy it. Note, while this game borrows heavily on concepts introduced in Tron 2.0, this game has nothing to do with Tron 2.0 or Tron Killer App.

Because this game is a movie-tie in, it really has 'crap' written all over it. Surprisingly, it's better than I expected for a tie-in. However, it is by no means perfect. If this game had had another year for development, this game could have been as good as any top-end game. Alas, it wasn't meant to be. It's too bad that movie studios don't insist on better quality games for tie-ins.


You are System Monitor and are the nemesis of CLU and Abraxas. CLU and Abraxas have teamed up to wipe out the ISOs. You are there to stop this process as System Monitor. CLU has effectively turned rogue and you have to stop CLU and Abraxas from fulfilling their nefarious plans. Along the way you meet Quorra who occasionally helps you out.


The game play starts as you run around looking to do specific tasks. It starts with a small tutorial that leads into the larger game play. The trouble with this game is two-fold. The camera and the controls (both problems are really interlinked).

In many situations, the camera is way too active, moving around randomly and, by effect, causing control problems. Because the controls are based on the direction the camera is looking, it's easy to jump in the wrong direction. Combine this with way overly sensitive controls, and you end up derezzing over and over because System Monitor decides to jump off of a cliff or double jump into an abyss.

The style of many of the levels is to lock you into a space until you kill every enemy in the space. At that point, the blocking shield falls and you can move on.

Grid and Games

Unfortunately, I was expecting a lot more from the grid games and the game didn't deliver. I was hoping for actual grid gaming matches as part of the story. Instead, you're pretty much just fighting your way through each level on your own rather than on the game grid. The lightcycles part of this game is way too sparse. The few times you do get to use the lightcycle, it's unwieldy and uncontrollable. I was hoping for better here. The best part of this game is the tank. Once you finally get into the tank, you can start taking out Recognizers. Then the game almost takes on a feel like Flynn's very own fictional game 'Space Paranoids'. A game that we've never gotten to play, until Tron Evolution. So, once in the tank vehicle, the game feels like it would have to play 'Space Paranoids'.


The music is probably the best part of this game (and, in fact, a great part of the film as well). Daft Punk put together a very strong soundtrack that makes this game work quite well. Unfortunately, the camera really holds back the quality of this game even as good as the music is.


The graphics in this game are very good. I was hoping for slightly better graphics, but it still looks very good for what it is. That said, the cinematics are done with the Xbox 360 game engine rather than using pre-rendered animated cinematics. The game suffers graphically from this. While the Xbox 360 engine is good for gaming purposes, it's not outstanding for cinematics. I think Propaganda Games has made a bad design decision for not producing standalone cinematics to link the segments together.


The multiplayer aspects are similar to most multiplayer games. There are some team games and there are individual games. On some levels, you play only with throwing the disc. On other levels, you can do both disc and vehicles (tank, lightcycle, etc).

I wasn't that impressed with the multiplayer aspect mostly because you either have to run the server on your Xbox 360 or you play it on someone else's 360. If that person shuts off their 360, then the game goes away. So, it's probably better to host the game yourself so that it hangs around as long as you continue to play.


The story is short and the gameplay can be, at times, tedious. This game suffers from lack of control and an extremely unwieldy camera. Part of the camera problems stem from being too far back behind the player. So, it's constantly trying to avoid bumping into things. Because they have tied the direction of movement to the camera view, it's difficult to control where the character ends up.

The multiplayer aspects are ok, but not great either. The levels are very expansive, depending on the map, so you there's a lot of space to roam. The multiplayer aspects just didn't grab me and make me think it was something great.

If you are a Tron gaming fan, this one is a buy. Otherwise, I recommend renting. The game is very short, so any price above $20 is too much for this game considering its major shortcomings and the overall length of the story. However, if you are looking to fill in the gaps between Tron and Tron Legacy, then you should get Tron Evolution for the story alone.

  • Sound: 9/10 (excellent soundtrack, effects are good)
  • Graphics: 8.5/10 (characters look good)
  • Gameplay: 7/10 (somewhat repetitive)
  • Story: 8.5/10 (story is better than movie story)
  • Bugginess: N/A (no bugs found)
  • Controls: 4/10 (hard to control at times)
  • Bang-to-buck: 2/10 (definitely a rent)
  • Play Value: $20 (If fan, buy. If not, rent)
  • Overall: 7/10 (camera makes controls frustrating).