Tron: Evolution had to go some way to be of less artistic merit that its sister film, Tron Legacy. But at least that garbled gibberish-fest was occasionally fun. That's not a word that can be applied to this clumsy and downright tiresome third-person beat-'em-up.
It's a shame, as its predecessor, Tron 2.0, was one of the few truly great movie-based games. Evolution fits more predictably into the tie-in genre. Action game, a bit of platforming, a lot of hitting repetitive waves of identikit enemies, snore until dead. There's a pretence of greater depth: an RPG-lite XP system lets you poke at aspects of your character's disc powers, light cycles, health, etc. But these are just tweaks, and indiscernible in the action. Instead you just hammer at the buttons, stumbling on the billions of combos, until everything is finally dead.
One of the great joys of Tron 2.0, and indeed the other disc-wielding shooter, Klingon Honour Guard, was aiming your boomerang disc weapon at distant enemies, picking them off with headshots, and feeling very clever. Not here. Here your disc has a range of about five metres, returning to you as if with intense separation anxiety. It might as well be a long sword for all the variety it adds.
All the way through you have the voice talents of Bruce Boxleitner and Olivia Wilde, and a decent impression of Jeff Bridges, each offering extraordinary spoilers for the film as early as the opening minute. However, this is a prequel, filling in more detail about how Flynn's cipher, Clu, came to be quite so evil. Well, in the cutscenes at least. In the game you're just hitting viruses (how original!) and Clu's troops with your disc, over and over.
Despite the game kindly providing its instructions for new equipment in Vaseline-smeared console cutscenes, and only showing Xbox 360 controls, it refused to recognise my own 360 controller, leaving me struggling with the awful mouse/keyboard controls. This reached a peak when my character suddenly decided that he was going to run in circles of his own volition, presumably developing some form of remedial AI.
Movement requires that you run toward things and hold Shift a lot, which is your catch-all command for wall-running, leaping and sprinting. Except it really doesn't catch all at all, constantly flinging you to your death because it randomly got bored of performing whichever move it should have been.
The graphics are miserable in their monotonous grey-blue dreariness, in a game that – when it's working – at best offers mediocre combat and ludicrously repetitive platforming. But the English language has yet to develop words rude enough to describe the abysmal light cycle sequences, or hilariously crap tank sections. The whole thing is a load of dreary old parp.