The Matrix: Path of Neo

April 26, 2006 · Print This Article

The Matrix : Path of NeoThe Matrix games, in a very similar comparison to its movie counterparts, have a rough track record. They tend to be excellent in concept and built on fundamentals and gameplay dynamics that could be absolutely amazing if executed as they should be, but the final products can tend to be a bit disappointing and lacking in certain key areas. The Matrix: Path of Neo, despite not being based directly on any single movie, still manages to capture the essence of The Matrix universe but is missing some things that really should have been included or improved upon.

Readers should know something now: if you’re not a die-hard Matrix fan, you probably won’t even give consideration to this game. Hardcore gamers will find the game to be largely unoriginal and poorly executed, making it a boring experience. However, Matrix fans will appreciate the solid implementation of The Matrix license and will enjoy revisiting The Matrix universe and finally be able to play as the legendary Neo.

First of all, realize that the story isn’t exactly compelling. It is just a stock storyline, included merely to take Neo to the next fun, chaotic battle. It isn’t the epic storyline of the movies and doesn’t necessarily live up to the overall superb storylines that The Matrix products are known for, but it still exists. It won’t grip you, but it won’t be overly obvious or disappointing due to the game’s good combat setup and fast-paced action.

In essence, The Matrix: Path of Neo is a brawler. At its heart, it is composed of sequences where Neo simply beats the hell out of everything in sight thanks to his amazing powers in The Matrix world. Although the game starts out slow with some boring tutorials, the game quickly develops into nothing but fast-paced, twitchy, bullet-time fighting moments that can be a rewarding and satisfying experience for Matrix fans.

The game is comprised mostly of two fighting buttons: one to initiate attacks and one to stun. By combining these two buttons, gamers can string together many slick combos that are sure to have your enemies reeling before they’re done. Although these two buttons are basically all there is the hand-to-hand combat, there are many combos to use and the fight sequences are still incredibly hectic and fun.

Shooting in the game is equally simple in concept. There is auto-locking feature on every gun that will make aiming a cinch. As one would expect, the enemy can dodge bullets as well and the most successful combos that send enemies reeling should then be followed up by some quick bursts to the chest with a rifle, rendering the enemy helpless and unable to dodge the endless barrage of fists and bullets. Truly, this game captures the essence of The Matrix.

Over time, Neo can gain new abilities that let him manipulate The Matrix universe similarly to how he does in the movies. For one, he can view the world in its coded form, a combination of 1’s and 0’s, and can therefore find hidden things such as doorways that weren’t visible otherwise. Telekinesis and bullet time are also included in the game, as would be expected. Bullet time doesn’t play a major role considering enemies can still block, but it does allow you to better time combos and to view the action much better, increasing the enjoyment of the experience.

The only real major disappointment in the game, aside from certain clunky aspects of the gameplay and story that should have been improved, is the way that the game looks. It is obvious that The Matrix: Path of Neo was not given the development time it needed and did not use a graphics engine that it should have. The character models are extremely poor and look nothing live their big screen counterparts. They are bland and carry very few features, something that is very disappointing.

The worlds are also fairly poorly drawn out and undetailed. The textures are fuzzy and really should have been worked out better. On the whole, the game just doesn’t look that great and that really detracts from the gameplay. More time should have been spent making the game look better to match its fairly solid gameplay.

Replay is something that probably won’t occur for most gamers. The game is decent in length, about 12 hours, but once it’s done, it’s done. The game doesn’t give too much reason to play through it again, which can be a nuisance considering there is so much that could have been included in the form of secrets and unlockables.

The Matrix: Path of Neo turns out to be a mixed package. It does some things really well, and it does some things really poorly. It offers Matrix fans the chance to revisit the universe and enjoy the perspective of Neo, however gamers who aren’t necessarily big Matrix fans will just find the game to be too unappealing due to its presentation. Given that and its poor replay value, Path of Neo can only be recommended for a rental.


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