Tron: Evolution is a third-person action-adventure video game, the tie-in for the film Tron: Legacy. It was developed by Propaganda Games and published by Disney Interactive. It was announced at the Spike Video Game Awards and was released for the Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3, PlayStation Portable and Xbox 360 platforms in 2010.
Tron: Evolution is a third-person action game with racing and role-playing game elements incorporated. The game features both singleplayer and multiplayer modes. The basic gameplay focuses on acrobatics and combat. Player's movements are heavily parkour-influenced, while combat was inspired by capoeira. The game also features light cycle races. Each cycle leaves a light trail that can destroy or "derez" any enemy. Evolution features persistent character progression system, that lets players earn new levels and unlock new upgrades, both in multiplayer and singleplayer.
There are four different game modes in the game and four maps available initially. Two modes focus on combat with light discs and two other modes feature vehicular combat on light cycles, as well as a special light tank vehicle. Up to 10 people can play in online matches. Disintegration and team disintegration are classic deathmatch modes. Power Monger is a node control mode and Bit Runner is a capture-the-flag variation. There is also a levelling system, which upgrades your character version (level) and gains you more memory for upgrades. Your character can gain versions up to 50. When you are version 50 you cannot upgrade your character anymore.
Two more multiplayer maps, as well as a Sam Flynn character skin, were made available at the game's launch as downloadable content through codes included in the game package. Five more maps were released in a downloadable pack; one of these, the "Classic" map, is a replica of the light cycle grid from the original Tron film.
Tron: Evolution serves as a precursor to the movie Tron: Legacy and sequel to both the graphic novel Tron: Betrayal and the Nintendo Wii and DS versions, Tron: Evolution - Battle Grids. It is designed to be an integral part of the Tron story, featuring certain characters and settings from both films. Tron: Evolution explains the events that led to Kevin Flynn's imprisonment inside the Grid, as well as telling how the Grid evolved through the years. The player controls a system monitor program named "Anon" (short for anonymous) - a security program owned by Flynn to investigate a conspiracy in the world of Tron.
The game starts with a video footage of Kevin Flynn who is discussing about the existence of ISOs (Isomorphic Algorithms), a group of programs with a measure of free will that have emerged spontaneously on the Grid, and are disliked by the Basic programs. Jalen, one of the leaders of the ISOs, recently died and Flynn suspects the murder was organized by Clu, a second version of the original program from the first film. Flynn has got Anon to try to control the system.
Radia, leader of the ISOs, is at a formal ceremony to make her a System Administrator alongside Clu. Tron asks Anon to guard the ceremony, but finds a suspicious female ISO, Quorra, who tries to talk her way past the guards and Anon follows her. The ceremony is violently disrupted by the virus program, Abraxas, but Anon intervenes and battles him, damaging Abraxas' identity disc and forcing the virus to flee. Clu disparages the "flaws" of the new ISOs. Tron suggests Flynn leave the Grid for his own safety.
During his battle against Abraxas-inspired corruption, Anon sees Flynn and Tron being ambushed and killed by Clu and his guards. The Monitor discovers Quorra, who also saw the killings. They visit Zuse at a nightclub that serves as a haven for ISOs. Zuse gives them Solar-Sailer access codes and suggests they warn Radia, since her word will be believed by the ISOs. As they leave the nightclub, the elevator slope connecting it and the ground is shattered, leaving those in the nightclub stranded. As they travel to the solar sailer station, they see several groups of ISOs being terrorized, they realize that Clu has declared war on the ISOs.
Quorra and Anon are secretly present to observe a meeting between Clu and Radia. Clu tells Radia that Anon killed Flynn. He requests that Radia gather the ISOs together for "protection". After Clu leaves, Quorra and Anon tell the truth to Radia. Radia responds that Flynn was not killed, but was rescued by an ISO called Gibson. Anon finds Gibson, but they discover that Flynn has vanished and Abraxas has arrived. Anon and Gibson flee, but Abraxas catches up with them and infects Gibson. Anon is then forced to fight the now infected Gibson and successfully defeats him. After many battles, Anon finds Quorra again and she explains that Clu has recently attacked and destroyed all ISOs on the Grid.
Quorra and Anon once again secretly observe a meeting between Clu and Radia. Abraxas arrives, and Radia realizes that he was once Jalen, and that Clu had corrupted him to create the pretext for the destruction of the ISOs. Abraxas kills Radia, making Quorra the last ISO. No longer wanting to wait, Quorra goes after Clu, leaving Anon to fight against Abraxas, who he manages to defeat by leading him under falling debris. Anon later meets with Flynn, who had modified his disc with the Abraxas shards he found and discovers that Quorra has stowed away on Clu's warship. Anon finds a way aboard, Clu throws Quorra down to the deck. Anon and Abraxas have a final showdown. Abraxas uses energy cores to multiply his power. When Abraxas enters the central core, Clu yells that he will overload the core, and the ship. Anon destroys the core with Abraxas in it, finally de-rezzing him. Clu runs away while Anon goes to Quorra and picks her up. As the ship is exploding, Anon dives off the side of the ship and grabs onto a Recognizer. The blast from the explosion malfunctions the Recognizer causing it to fall. When it hits the floor, Anon and Quorra are thrown to the ground, but the Recognizer is still tumbling toward them. Anon throws Quorra out of the way following Flynn's last command to protect her. The Recognizer then crushes Anon, and he is de-rezzed.
Quorra wakes up and sees Anon fading under the Recognizer and watches him de-rezz in front of her. Alone in the middle of the wasteland, she collapses, expecting to run out of energy and de-rezz. Just when she thinks all hope is lost she opens her eyes and sees the creator, Flynn, standing above her. Clu survives to rule an ISO-free Grid, and Flynn and Quorra are outcasts. She reflects on how both Flynn and Anon saved her.
Development and release
Downloadable content is available via digital download. A limited edition was available for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. It contains a Light Cycle collectible model by Sideshow Collectibles, a display case for the model, and the game.
The music in the game was composed by Sascha Dikiciyan (aka Sonic Mayhem), Cris Velasco (of God of War) and Kevin Manthei. Two tracks come from the movie's original sound track: "Derezzed" and "The Grid", composed by Daft Punk.
The Guardian gave the PS3 version four stars out of five, complimenting that "It manages a pretty impressive balancing act: non-gamers obsessed with Tron will love its ambiance and authenticity, and may even discover they like games more than they thought." Another positive review came from The Escapist, which gave the Xbox 360 version a similar score of four stars out of five and said that it "may not re-write the book on action games, but for licenses, it just might." However, USA Today gave the game two-and-a-half stars out of four, saying, "While ambitious, the glow-in-the-dark TRON: Evolution will likely disappoint those looking forward to the game (including those excited over the sleek YouTube trailers). It's certainly fun at times, and offers multiplayer modes to take the action online, but alas, it's one of those games you'll likely want to rent for the weekend instead of buying at full price." 411Mania gave the Xbox 360 version a score of six out of ten, saying, "Fans hoping for a good movie tie-in here will be sorely disappointed. The game starts off promising, but gets repetitive before the first chapter is even over. Tron fans will like the game just to see how the first and second movies get tied in together, but plenty of other games have better platforming and gameplay." The A.V. Club gave the PS3 version a C−, saying that it "has a few passable moments, but it's ultimately too dull to be anything more than a missed opportunity."
GameSpot said of the PS3 and Xbox 360 versions: "TRON: Evolution mixes free-running platforming with simple but engaging combat and is a fun if slightly repetitive trip back into the digital world of the Grid." Eurogamer called the Xbox 360 version "a game that entertains without inspiring, doing enough to settle comfortably into the realms of "good" while never exerting the additional effort required to raise expectations any higher." GamePro said of the same console version: "Tron newcomers probably needn't apply, but those who count the original film among their favorites may want to enter Evolution's grid." IGN, in contrast, gave a somewhat mixed review, saying that "It's a repetitive cyberpunk Prince of Persia. The platforming and combat are flashy, but both feel awkward to control and get really competitive."
1UP.com's Dustin Quillen gave a negative review of the PS3 and Xbox 360 versions, saying that "As much as it pains me to say it, Tron: Evolution proves that it takes a lot more than nostalgia and shiny graphics to make an enjoyable videogame." Game Informer was another to make a negative appointment about the same console versions, arguing that "Tron: Evolution will probably have a handful of defenders, but I can't reasonably suggest that anyone play it. It's a shoddy experience that ultimately isn't much fun. Tron superfans would do better simply watching the movie again and calling it a day."
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