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Welcome to the rabbit hole, redpill. The newest Matrix title, Path of Neo, by Atari puts you in the shoes of Thomas Anderson, also known as Neo, the savior of mankind and the Matrix itself. The game takes place throughout all three of the popular Matrix trilogy films, with a lot of extra pieces that you didn’t get to witness the first time around.
The game starts out with a brief fight scene in that infamous lobby, where you have guns, “lots of guns”. You fight your way through mob after mob of increasing difficulty. Once you finally die, the game determines your skill level based on how you played, and the real game starts (this was a pretty cool feature).
You are then taken to a series of cut scenes from the first movie, in some very random order, which, if you haven’t seen the movie, will have no idea what is really going on, although, why would you be playing this game if you hadn’t seen and/or loved the movies.
You are then taken to the office where Anderson has to escape from the mysterious Agents. If you do this part correctly, you can actually escape from them and have a slightly different experience, but I didn’t make it before they jacked me and ended up sticking that bug in my belly.
After a few more cut scenes, you are put in the chair, getting ready for your combat training. This, to me, was my favorite part of the game so far. You finally get to see what was going on in Neo’s head right before he says “I know Kung Fu”, You learn about stealth, sneaking up on enemies, killing multiple enemies, weapon training, and then, finally, you get to test these all out on the big man himself, Morpheus.
The game continues from there, into scenes from the rest of the first movie, ultimately to finally defeating the three Agents at the end and becoming the One. This is where I leave the actual detailed description of “what” happens, and I go into “how” it happens.
The camera movement in this game is its biggest flaw. I can’t tell you how many times I was pressed into the corner, with my gun target locked on someone behind me, and could not rotate the camera around fast enough to shoot at him. I would constantly find myself trapped in some awkward angle, where the camera was zoomed in too close for me to make sense of what was going on, or so far away that the view clipped into a wall which made it even less visible. I think with a more free floating camera system, this game would have been much better.
The combat system seems to have taken its lead from its predecessor, Enter the Matrix, but goes the extra steps and makes a really entertaining fight engine. You will be wall running, and beating the crap out of innocent civilians in no time flat. As you progress levels, you gain more abilities that you can now use on your enemies. Despite being the “One”, you will still get your teeth handed to you on a plate from time to time.
The AI in this game is god awful. You will receive the occasional mission where you have to protect so and so, and they will incessantly get in your face and receive the bottom side of your boot as you try and defend them. Why would they make these people you are supposed to protect attackable? It makes for some very frustrating, Super Mario Brothers moments, you know, where you fling the controller across the room and storm out for a breather.
All in all, this game is a lot of fun. The graphics are not the best by any means, but for the story they are trying to convey, they do their job nicely. Any fan of the trilogy will be happy with all of the extra tidbits this game provides. The combat is very cinematic, and immersive, if not a lot of button mashing. If you enjoy turning on a game just for the sheer joy of beating things up, this is definitely a must. I can’t say that any non fans of the series will appreciate it, but you never know.
Favorite Aspects: Seeing Neo get his Kung fu training