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Enter the Matrix seems to have been on the cards for a long time now, when the game was first announced nearly 2 years ago I had high hopes that it might turn out to be one of the first movie licensees since the C-64 days that actually played well.
One of the big draws for the Enter the Matrix game is the movie footage shot and edited specifically for it, now don’t get me wrong, I think the Matrix was an excellent movie. But here we have what seems like a quick put together that no one who hasn’t seen both films will properly understand, and even those who have seen it may still think that the story zips by too fast.
Enter the Matrix can be best described as a Max Payne style game (not just because of bullet-time). The view point of the game is 3rd person which means you get to see most of the action from behind the character you decide to pick.
The game has you choosing to play either Niobe or Ghost, both characters have very small parts in the new Matrix Reloaded movie and their storyline supposedly ties in with the movie too. You are able to use various weapons such as shot-guns, sniper rifles and such like, along with major use of your fists in hand-to-hand combat. Most of the fighting takes you up against police, security guards, a few agents and some of the new baddies from the latest film.
You begin the game in the post office, from here you have to find a specific package held in one of the post office boxes, this isn’t really the best level for Shiny to start everyone on, its pretty boring, has some very poor level design (like most of the game) and is far too samey all the way through. From here you get to drive cars, shoot from cars, venture into a sewer system and fight off a sentinel attack. The game begins badly; you don’t really get a feel of what you are actually doing in the Matrix, why you are there, what your aim is or anything.
Next we have Enter the Matrix’s Focus – this is what Max Payne classed as slow-motion “bullet-time”. While Max Payne used this very well indeed, Enter the Matrix seems to have a much harder time of it when it comes to giving you control of your character whilst focusing. When holding the focus button you can run up walls, cartwheel away from oncoming bullets and jump further. The stupid part of all of this is that you can play most of the game without making much use of it simply because the game’s AI is so poor.
There are a whole bunch of problems here with enemies getting stuck in walls, enemies not coming after you, which leaves you with the chance of restoring health by just standing still in one area, another reason why the game is probably so easy. I must also say that Enter the Matrix has health pick-ups in the game, I have to confess that I never once had to use one simply because standing still for long enough even when surrounded by enemies restores your health.
There is however, a cool element to the game called “Hacking” which can be accessed via the main menu screen when you load up the game. This is basically the DOS interface, which lets you use commands and such like – this lets you gain access to the games movie sequences, look up info on the characters, weapons, cars and even enter cheat codes. It is a shame that it doesn’t take too long before you have all of the information from this section of the game too.
Graphics & Sound
Enter the Matrix is a very mixed bag, at one moment it can look great, some good animations, lots of detail and some great action. The next minute it can look drab, ugly, jerky; have poor animation (which for a game that is supposed to have had some fantastic martial arts guy do all the motion capture is unforgivable) and is very, very dark even with the game offering gamma and brightness settings.
The main problem graphically is that the game’s textures are not as detailed as I expected they would be, especially as Shiny has been selling the point that the game can look better and better depending on what type of console you have, so in theory the game should look worse on the PS2, then the Gamecube and then the Xbox…but each version looks almost identical.
While it is nice to see the movie makers getting involved on the filming side and through the , even I as a DVD lover have to say the video quality there is quite poor too, I was expecting anamorphic widescreen for a game like this, but alas it wasn’t to be. Fans will also be disappointed to know that apart from a few very short scenes with Carrie-Anne Moss and Hugo Weaving, there are hardly any scenes with any of the leads from the movies and the majority of the non-interactive scenes are done through the game’s engine.
Believe me I really thought Enter the Matrix was going to be one of the few games based on a movie that was going to be excellent, unfortunately it isn’t. The game is quite buggy with audio errors, crashes and such like which should not be happening on a console version, it doesn’t look that great, and is short lived (6-8 hours at the most). It looks rushed, it feels rushed, and it is rushed. Only major fans of the films need apply here.