The Matrix: Path of Neo Review
Sure we all know the Matrix and what happened with that trilogy; great first movie and then downhill from there. But each of the sequels had cool moments. So you may have thought to yourself, what if someone took all the really cool parts from all the movies and combined them into one game and let me play as Neo the whole time? Wonder no more my fellow gamer as the folks over at Shiny Entertainment have done just that in The Matrix: The Path of Neo for the PS2. Now the question is does it work? Is it The One? Off we go to find out...
For a movie idea that just screams to be a game, none of the previous Matrix games have been anything to be excited about. Neo could have been one of the coolest video game characters ever, I mean with his amazing powers what a blast it would have been. But for various reasons in Enter The Matrix you have to play two minor characters in the Matrix mythos. But in Path of Neo (PoN) you do indeed get to play as Mr. Anderson and battle tons of Agents Smiths along the way. PoN is basically a brawler set in the Matrix universe and at times it does this with a lot of fun while at others not so much.
I should be clear that while PoN is made up from a greatest hits of parts from the film trilogy there are some areas of the game that will not be found in the movies, but for the most part the game follows the path of the movies. For example, the first level follows Neo trying to sneak out of his office building past a few Agents. This level is not really a good indication of what the rest of the game is going to be like, after quietly working your way past the Agents in this level you will be kicking their butts in later ones. I did like where you are offered the red and blue pills. Take the blue bill and PoN turns into a very short game, so I would suggest going with the red pill so you can actually play the game.
After the “stealth” levels you get into some training that will help you understand how to control Neo and control weapons. Bummer that the the training stinks and is pretty darn long. However once you get past them the game does turn out to be pretty enjoyable. PoN uses cutscenes to help advance the story but those not familiar with the Matrix films will be pretty lost as these scenes are nothing more than flashy and wildly edited MTV-style videos. Heck, I saw the movies and still got confused by the cutscenes.
Once the action gets going it goes all out and you will find yourself in combat with a variety of styles that range from your fists to guns to swords. While it may be possible to get through much of PoN by utilizing the tried and true method of button mashing this will mean you will be missing out on the more interesting combos and at times amazing stunts. The style and complexity of the combos and special moves are really quite good and include something called “Focus” which is bullet time in most games. What is impressive during combat is that just about everything in the environments is destructible which can lead to some very intense action.
Graphically PoN is pushing the PS2 a little past its limits. I just mentioned the destructible environments and this amount of destruction leads to a lot of slowdown as does the large number of Agent Smiths on-screen. The atmosphere of the movies are alive and well with the green loading screens to the highly stylized effects. Unfortunately in addition to the graphical problems there are also issues with the camera and the somewhat straight-forward path the game takes. This isn't as open ended as a Grand Theft Auto with its invisible walls all over the place.
In The End, This Game Hath Been Rated: 73%. The Matrix: Path of Neo is a good brawler that finally allows the player to enter the Matrix as Neo, just be aware that the Matrix is more powerful than your PS2 and at times this causes some irritations.