Enter the Matrix

In this one-player action/fighting game, players have a supporting role and the camera doesn’t do exactly what you want, but this game still ranks among the best. You get to choose between Niobe and Ghost as your missions within the Matrix help Neo, Morpheus and Trinity succeed (if a sequel to this game is made, these three characters have to be playable…please!). Niobe and Ghost work well though. Notice how the operator even hints at what the other is doing to entice you to play the game as the other character.

The large variety of game modes (fighting, driving, strategy, evasion, role-playing, etc.) and lots of unlockable items makes this title highly replayable. Written and directed by the Wachowski brothers, this title has lots of original material and storylines closely related to the Matrix Reloaded film and another Matrix companion media, the Animatrix collection on VHS and DVD. Lots of exclusive content that was shot at the same time as Reloaded, especially some nice content about Niobe’s background.

Controls and gameplay work well with acrobatic fighting techniques and cool bullet-time effects playing a major role in entertaining the gamer and overall game satisfaction. Bullet time focus slows down the action so you can better see the air pockets behind gunfire and green bursts on your targets let you know you’ve made a successful hit. You can even slow down your opponent when you use bullet time focus. Some movements look unnatural, like climbing motions up a chain link fence, but can be easily overlooked.

Now for some issues – the camera basically centers on the character, which gives you a great perspective during the game except when you’re close to structures, walls and other objects. That’s when the camera’s view is often distorted and even totally blocked so you can’t see what you’re doing.

Environments are well detailed, but may irritate some due to dark environment were it’s hard to navigate (especially if you have a lower quality television). You always have help from the operator when you’re lost and a directional arrow, but running through too many empty rooms with no interactive elements gets a little old.

Overall a game with enough substance to satisfy gamers who are serious Matrix fans and who are willing to spend the time to get to those satisfying cut-scenes and special modes. Use of the hacking feature gives you’re the ability to type in cheats through DOS prompt as well as unlocking several special items and abilities. Originally released on PS2, GameCube, Xbox, PC. Recommended with reservations (**1/2 out of four stars) and rated T for mild language, suggestive themes, violence.

Copyright © Michael Siebenaler

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