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The Matrix: Path of Neo Review

Developer: Shiny Entertainment Publisher: Atari
Release Date: November 7, 2005 Also On: PC, PS2, and Xbox

I’ve watched the first Matrix film 5 times. Yes, it was just that good. For some reason, it got better and better every time I watched it. The second Matrix film (The Matrix: Reloaded) was almost as good the first. The fight scenes were top notch, but it lacked something that the first movie had (maybe the sense of mystery). The third movie (The Matrix: Revolutions), sadly, was a failure. The story made no sense, and little time was spent in the Matrix. Overall, the trilogy was good, but not great. I was more interested in the fighting and Neo than anything else. The problem with the trilogy was that as it progressed, little focused with Neo. Matrix games also share the same problem. Enter The Matrix didn’t let the gamer play as Neo. The Matrix Online (an MMORPG based on the Matrix universe), also didn’t let you play as Neo. Neo was The One, and easily the most interesting character in the entire trilogy. Atari finally corrects their mistake with the upcoming The Matrix: The Path of Neo, where you experience the events of The Matrix through the eyes of Neo.

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The red pill or the blue pill. What do you choose? By taking the red pill, you slowly realize that you are The One. However, if you take the blue pill, you forgot that you ever were offered this choice and go back to your normal job. Surprisingly, Atari actually gives the gamer the choice. If you choose the blue pill, the game automatically ends, with a humorous ending. However, if you choose the red pill, get ready for 48 levels. Yes, 48 levels. Unlike Enter the Matrix, The Path of Neo seems to be packing length. Another interesting part that Atari implemented in the beginning of the game was the auto-detect difficulty feature. You start out with a tutorial where you are mobbed by a ton of baddies. Depending on how well you do, the difficulty level throughout the game will be based on it. Say if you are instantly killed, you’ll most likely go on easy. However, if you kick everyone’s butt easily, you’ll be on a higher difficulty. This is a very creative addition to the game (surprisingly, I’ve never seen this feature in any other game), and should help the indecisive in attaining the most efficient gameplay difficulty. I always thought that a creative beginning is the sign of an amazing game.

The Path of Neo promises a beguiling combat engine. While it is just a bunch of combinations of punching and kicking, the game has a lot more going for it. The game is fast and furious (which resembles the trilogy). The controls seem simple, so if you were to play on the PS2 or Xbox, then you’ll have a good time. I can’t promise anything for the PC, though. The game is an action/RPG, meaning Neo can be upgraded with interesting moves. On succulent feature involved with upgrading is the “Atman principles,â€? where a philosophical question is raised and affects the gameplay. Answering it in the best possible way will lead to huge bonuses.

The game’s pacing is probably one of the most interesting features. Anyone who watched the trilogy could easily notice that Neo got more powerful as the storyline progressed. Atari is recreating the feeling of increasing strength in this game. Atari states that you start off as a rather weak Neo, who could barely fight a security guard, and eventually come to the point where you can easily fight an Agent Smith. Pacing will probably be one of the most important features of the game. Atari must make the gamer feel fighting an Agent Smith in the beginning is a guaranteed suicide. Likewise, they must also make sure that the gamer must feel fighting an Agent Smith in the end is a cake walk. A suitable pacing will lead to a make the gamer feel more like Neo, therefore pacing is going to be a huge make or break quality. From what I’ve seen, Atari most likely got the pacing down.

The graphics look amazing on the Xbox, and looks like one of the best PS2 games of the season. All the fighting is vibrantly shown, and all the characters look like their movie counterparts. The game also has great audio features. So kudos to Atari for that. The last interesting feature I must report is that the Wachowski Brothers (the creators of the series) decided to add a new ending, primarily because the ending to Revolutions wouldn’t fit.

With an extremely creative beginning, great length, great combat and customization, The Path of Neo seems to have it all. This will be the Matrix game to end all Matrix games (that’s only because the previous Matrix games were less than satisfactory). Matrix fans will probably buy this game for the ending, but I’m still anxious on how Atari does with the game’s pacing. Overall, this project definitely has some water in cup.

Written by Simon