PC REVIEW: THE MATRIX: PATH OF NEO
Mini Review By Vaughn

I read on a forum board in regards to the Path Of Neo "For the love of God, Choose the blue pill it will save you hours of hate" - While I don't necessarily wholeheartedly agree with Be4st, he makes a good point. Not to mention he's cheeky and I like that.

There are some aspects of PoN that are admirable and downright cool (fleshed out story, fighting, upgrade abilities), but then you need to shoot at something and the whole game goes to hell in a Matrix designed handbasket. I don't remember the auto-aiming suffering from attention deficit disorder in Shiny's 2003 Enter The Matrix game, so why is it impossible to target something now? Even using Focus (bullet time) and jumping into a room with just 3 gun-toting thugs becomes a crapshoot as to whether you'll come out alive due to the Ritalin starved targetting and hyperactive camera. Had Shiny directred The Matrix movies I get the feeling that during the amazing fight scenes the camera would have been filming the wall or a fire extinguisher. Hot damn that's good action!

Devin, the reviewer next door, spent mucho time game-testing PoN, so needless to say he's had hours of experience to compensate for the games shortcomings. You, Mr. Weekend-Rental won't have the same benefit.

I paid full price for The Matrix: Path of Neo and I'm telling you in terms of purchase vs rental "Do or Do Not....There is no buy." Sorry, wrong movie. Matrix fans will enjoy various aspects but PoN definitely feels like it was rushed to market for the holiday season.

Overall - 3.0 (on a good day)
It's painful to watch a story you love become a victim to a horrible adaptation. I'm sure just looking at the title of this game, and given it's origin, "The Matrix" is enough to frighten you and put you in a frenzy to hit the X button and close this window.

The Matrix has had a horrible outing in the videogame industry. The Matrix franchise has received absolutely no love ever since its first videogame adaptation saw the light of day, no love what so ever.

Enter The Matrix seemed like a great idea, telling the story from a different point of view, and using the videogame to bridge the second and third movies. However, ugly graphics and horrible controls were the ultimate demise of this title. The Matrix Online, once again, was a great idea. An MMO set in the Matrix world. Ask anyone who's played MxO (The Matrix Online) and they will be able to count off the many, many flaws in the game.

Needless to say that any game with "The Matrix" in its title has earned the reputation to be feared and avoided at all costs. And why? Due to both videogames missing what could be argued as the story's main character, Neo.

Incidentally enough, Neo's first appearance in the videogame industry also marks the appearance of the greatest Matrix game, and dare I say the most entertaining action adventure game this year.

The Matrix: Path of Neo is an interesting title in the way of the Matrix storyline. Along your journey under the black shades, you'll visit familiar locales and run into some familiar faces. However, a lot of the outcomes will ultimately be different. You will also bare witness to occurrences that happened between the movies that help mold Neo into who he is.

Or was.

Following this title along its journey from adolescence into adulthood was special in the way of witnessing the evolution of the graphics that this game offers. PoN is crisp and clear and provides incredibly detailed models of its on-screen counterparts. The many, many animations that occur in game, from jumping off a wall then firing round after round from your M-16 into the chest of a security guard to grabbing 3 enemies whom are surrounding you and using their bodies as weapons to whack each other, are all flawless.

The most beautiful aspect to this game definitely belongs to the level design. All the levels feel open and spacious, giving Neo plenty of room to execute his many, and devastating, attacks. The way each level looks is flawless. The bitmaps used to skin every inch of a level were as crisp as could be. The only other game that I can think of that could rival the level design of Path of Neo would be Blizzard's World of Warcraft.

Next we take a look at the sound, which received the lowest score in my ratings. I think it's awesome that Shiny was able to get some of the Matrix actors to do their own voice-overs, but also got he Wachowski brothers themselves (I'll touch upon their cameo later). There were times though when Neo spoke and I found myself doubting whether it was Keanu Reeves or not. I believe that due to some slight alterations to the story line, that the feeling and expression that the actors portrayed didn't have the same impact as it did onscreen. Conveying similar emotions in a videogame has proven to be a bit more difficult than on the silver screen.

I couldn't let Neo get away from me without a little bit of detest.

The story of the Matrix is a long and winding one, full of religious blather. Adapting a self-sacrificial ending (which resembles a certain religious figure) into a videogame is quite difficult. After all, how fun is that? So what do you do?

Call in the Wachowskis.

Just like Enter the Matrix and The Matrix Online, the Wahckowski brothers had a large influence on the making of this game, probably more so than the previous titles. The Wachowskis were so involved that they designed the ending level to the Path of Neo.

Prepare for spoilers

After you defeat Smith in what would be the game's final level, old Atari 2600 like characters (ironic?) appear on screen voiced by the Wachowskis. They go on to explain how they wanted to create a big bad boss, so they did. Introduce Mega Smith. This level was the second most disappointing aspect of the game. You have a giant Agent Smith made of cars and buildings and all you have to do is avoid his attacks and hit the X button when the screen tells you to.

That's it.

It does seem easy enough, but unfortunately is all this level has to offer. Oh, and I forgot to mention that this level is 15 minutes too long. Even playing this level on easy, avoiding every attack that is thrown at you and defeating Smith as fast as you can, you are looking at 15 to 20 minutes of button mashing. But hey, the Brothers Matrix forewarned you.

More Spoiler Alert Regarding The Ending

And what do you receive as a reward for fighting through the entire game and struggling through the final and pointless level? A small, poorly cut montage of the final Matrix movie with Queen's "We Are The Champions" playing over it all.

When I heard that song play I had to restrain from throwing my controller into the screen. Alas, I'm a professional. I did however feel cheated that my reward for playing through what I considered to be a long and grueling game was a clip of the default sports championship victory song. I also felt that the addition of the Queen song slightly cheapened the Matrix storyline.

Spoiler Alert Over

In the end, Matrix the Path of Neo is a Matrix game that FINALLY got it right. You're able to pull off all the cool moves and abilities that Neo possesses, including fighting off hundreds of Smiths at once, pole and all. With great graphics and great controls, this title will definitely impress with the first and second play through. A multiplayer mode (which was originally designed for the game) would have been the cherry on top of the cake, however you can only fight all alone. So unless you're a hardcore Matrix fan, you may only run through this game once or twice.

The path is now laid down before you. Will you walk it? Will you prove to be The One?

Preview by StewXX

New Screens Updated! Imagine a Matrix game you actually might be interested in playing? Shiny Entertainment is working on it right now. Forget Enter The Matrix. Forget The Matrix Online. The Path of Neo is the real deal. I've seen it and I'm telling you, this is on my "Pre-Order" list.

Path of Neo is much much more than a simple sequel. Shiny has been given the Herculean task of basing an entire game on the three Matrix movies played entirely from the perspective of Mr. Anderson, the one, Neo himself. To do so they've had input and collaborations with the Wachowski Bros and increased the size of the team threefold from the group that worked on Enter.

PoN has everything. Flying (Dave Perry says "You will earn the ability to completely fly as the game goes on"), bullet time, acrobatics, melee combat, martial arts, training and the list goes on from there. Certainly rabid fans of the Matrix were disappointed that Neo wasn't a playable character in a game that revolved entirely around him. As Vaughn mentioned below, just what the hell good is a game that doesn't feature the character it's based on? Shiny sold 6 million copies of the Enter The Matrix game even though they knew that people were going to be pissed. Now that I've seen Path Of Neo, consider it all water under the bridge. Enter The Matrix was a tech demo compared to the majesty of this one.

"It's all the stuff we wish we could have done in Enter The Matrix, on steroids" Dave Perry - Lead Designer Shiny Entertainment

 

Yeah. How does battling 1500 Agent Smith's onscreen at one time (on the PS2!!) sound to you? How does being able to completely destroy the entire area you're battling in during that epic fight? How does training sequences that were only mentioned in passing in the Matrix movies come to life, sound? Seeing in code? Flying as mentioned?

Sure it all sounds hypey, but I've seen this game in action and I've sucked on that big Red Pill and now I can't, I won't, go back. My only complaint is that PoN is not being developed for the PS3 or Xbox 360.

Features:

  • Gamers will assume the role of Neo - from when he as Thomas Anderson gets the cell phone in the package from Morpheus, to the flying street battle in the rain against Agent Smith. ALL the key moments that gamers have asked for have been included.
  • Once again blurring the lines between Hollywood and interactive entertainment, THE MATRIX: PATH OF NEO will feature the likenesses of all of the films’ key actors -- including Keanu Reeves (Neo), Laurence Fishburne (Morpheus), Carrie-Ann Moss (Trinity), Hugo Weaving (Agent Smith) and Jada Pinkett-Smith (Niobe).
  • To truly immerse the gamer in the Matrix universe, the game will feature a Director’s Cut of the original movie footage from all three films and THE ANIMATRIX as cinematic sequences to progress the story told from Neo’s perspective. An exclusive to THE MATRIX PATH OF NEO, the footage was edited by Zach Staenberg, the Academy Award winning editor of THE MATRIX working side by side with the Wachowski Brothers.
  • Re-creating the incredible ambience of being in the Matrix, THE MATRIX PATH OF NEO will feature a full orchestral score playing in surround sound, developed to follow the action of the game. In addition, the games’ soundtrack will feature original songs by the bands that were featured in the Matrix films.
  • The player will use martial arts, medieval weapons and guns (lots of guns) to take on a variety of enemies, such as heavily armed SWAT officers; Agents of the Matrix, including Agent Smith; and Exiles in the employ of the Merovingian.
  • The game will have enhanced Bullet Time special effects from the films and allow gamers to dodge bullets, jump off walls and defy gravity and logic to recreate its most memorable scenes.
  • To re-create Neo’s incredible range of moves THE MATRIX: PATH OF NEO will also feature a more sophisticated martial arts engine to give gamers the true feeling of being The One.

Previous Preview: Remember that Spider-Man game that didn't have Spider-Man in it, but you could play as Aunt May? Remember that Spongebob game that didn't have Spongebob in it but you could play as unidentified fish #35? Remember that Matrix game that didn't have Neo in it, but you could play as Ghost or Niobe? Yeah, that one! I remember that one, because unlike the other two games mentioned, that one is REAL!

Atari really blew it when they released a Matrix game that didn't allow you to play as the major characters from the hit movie. Notice I didn't say "movies". Enter The Matrix was released in May 2003 to coincide with the Matrix sequel and while it was met with decent reviews here and there, a lot of people were severely pissed that Neo was not a playable character. This is Atari's chance to make up for that huge blunder and gamers are, quite expectedly, not quite ready to forgive them. If you consider for a moment that the online game, The Matrix Online also won't let you play as characters from the hit movie, Sega might be in world of hurt also.

The Matrix: The Path Of Neo will finally allow you to control the One, of the Matrix Universe and will feature historic battles taken directly from the movie trilogy. That's good news, right? The story is being scripted by the Wachowski Brothers, creators of the Matrix film trilogy.

Likenesses of the movies' main actors, Keanu Reeves (Neo), Lawrence Fishburne (Morpheus), Carrie-Ann Moss (Trinity) and Hugo Weaving (Agent Smith) have been obtained for use in the game which will be released on the PS2, Xbox and PC (sorry no word on a Cube version). The game will also include footage of all three films as well as The Animatrix, a series of animated shorts released in the run-up to The Matrix Reloaded.

Stay tuned for more details and screens when available.

ster strength to do things like throw cars and water towers. He can even use his suit's shape-shifting ability to whip tentacles around, and he's constantly hungry, needing to feed on his victims to stay alive."

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System: PS2 (shown), Xbox, GC, PC
Dev: Shiny Ent.
Pub: Atari
Released: Nov 2005
Players: 1
Review by Devin
RATING (OUT OF 5)
OVERALL
4.0
GRAPHICS
4.5
CONTROL
4.0
MUSIC/FX
3.0
VALUE
3.0