Review: The Matrix: Path of Neo

Original Article Here


I tried to like this, so badly…

Ever since we were told to “Take the Red Pill” by Morpheus all the way back in 1999, everyone wanted to “be” Neo – to be “The One” and kick ass. Now, two movies and two other games later, Shiny have finally offered gamers that chance in “The Path of Neo” – unfortunately, it doesn’t quite live up to expectations. The game puts you in the role of Thomas Anderson’s shoes from the moment Morpheus calls Neo’s phone in the office, right up until the Final Showdown with Smith at the end of Revolutions – taking in a few twists and turns along the way…

Undoubtedly, the game looks rather nice, and pulling off combos which end in a furious uppercut slowed down in the wonder that is Bullet Time leaves you with an immense grin on your force and a satisfied glee. Hell, you’ll probably drop most of the weapons just to see the range of moves avialable to Neo as you progress through the game. -However, this is one of the many problems that dogs the game. Why give us a very nice selection of pistols, Uzis, Shotguns and even Greande Lauchers, but make them so you feel you would do more damage by sneezing in the enemies general direction? And, to add insult to injury, using weapons feels about as iniutive as wrestling a polar bear. In treacle. As a result, players probably won’t use weapons except as a last resort, and only then because they have to due to the mission description…

The camera, too, suffers from this lack of, well, thought. The game is a multi-format affair, and unfortunately, it suffers on the PC due to this fact – and the camera would be the point where this is most noticable – hell, half the time it’s more tricky to move the camera around to where you want it than it is to fight however many enemies that are coming at you half of the time. When you feel like you are spending 30% of the game battling the enemies and 70% battling the camera, you know something has to be wrong. Annoying graphical glitches also plague this game, and you can’t help but think that the game could have really been improved if the PC’s features where taken advantage of here.

Admittedly, missions are fun, if a little inconsistent with the movies – for instance, the battle with Seraph does indeed take place in the Tea House like the movie, but after you defeat him the first time, you then have to battle him again on flaming poles, and then in a cinema while the “real” scene plays behind you and audience members shout out random comments all the while. This detriation from the movies is most prominent in the cut scenes – especially the clips from the movies, which often actually have no relation to the level you are about to play and in fact usually consist of montages from all three films just bodged into one cutscene and as a result make Shiny seem desperate to say “Look – it’s THE MATRIX!” -rather than concentrating on producing an engaging plot.

Most of the NPC’s are present and correct, although you never really feel that you’re “interacting” with them – the level on the roof “Dodge This” with Trinity I managed to complete without any of her intervention – indeed, although the objective told me I should be dodging the Agent’s bullets to distract him, instead I found myself just kicking the guy off the roof as often as I could, and it achieved the results a LOT faster.

However, it seems almost like Shiny have tried TOO hard to try and please everyone by adding a little too much into the game and as a result PoN feels rather “Hollow”. More than once I felt that – when these missions detracted from the movie version of events – Shiny were trying to add some “filler” to the procedings – and even though it feels really good to use that Minigun from the first movie in the helicopter, by the time you get to the Morvigian’s house and are trying to find yet another locked door, you’ll wish Neo had taken the blue pill…

Positive points? The “upgrade” system is quite a nice touch – and the fact that kicking ass does actually feel fun in hand to hand combat means that at least Shiny have got something right – and as a result it isn’t the worst game in the world. However, I personally preferred Enter The Matrix to this game – and considering that wasn’t exactly the best console conversion around, that doesn’t really bode well for Path of Neo. Overall the game is deeply flawed and although this might get a higher score on a console – on the PC it really does suffer – for now, Path of Neo remains one of this year’s biggest disappointments – and it’s a shame that a developer with the past record of Shiny will be forever asscociated with this game…

Final Score: 38%

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