Path of Neo is the next console game based on the
popular Matrix franchise. A lot of people were quite
disappointed in Enter The Matrix.
That game had an interesting premise but didn't come out quite
well, and lets face itů. Everyone wanted to be Neo and not
some side characters barely mentioned in the movies. So Shiny
and Atari have come out with another game based on The
Matrix and this time it's Neo all the way. Question is,
did they make a good game or is it just another bland movie
The game starts off with you essentially picking the red
or blue pill. Take the blue pill and the game ends and it's
a neat little addition there, pointless, but nice that they
gave you the option if you wanted to choose the other pill.
There are other little parts that you can change scenes that
happened in the movie but overall it doesn't affect the plotline.
After picking the red pill you get some footage from the movie
that's been re-cut for the game and a mix of various scenes
(more of these play throughout the game). After this you are
put in the lobby scene from the game but it's more of a dream
like sequence. Here the game tests you to see how good you
are at the combat in the game and depending on how well you
do it lets you choose what difficulty you would like and gives
you a glimpse at future moves that you'll have at your disposal
later. From this very moment and maybe even sooner if your
eye is keen to noticing slowdown. You will notice it. This
game has it and it's quite severe at times. I'm not sure why
there is so much slow down but it is there. The graphics for
PON are sometimes great and at other times just seem
rather sloppy. At times, you'll find texture tears and rips.
Really makes me wonder what was going on half the time they
were making this title. Other than this, annoyances do
Throughout the game you will take the role of Neo and play
through most of the key moments in The Matrix trilogy.
Starting from The Matrix and ending with Revolution,
the game does a good job of letting you play through key moments
of the films while also adding to the story with a few scenes
that play out that were not in the movie but they could have
been. Consider the game like a director's cut of the film
in a way and considering the brothers had a hand in the game
you might as well. Instead of just seeing the scene where
Neo says he "knows kung fu" you get to experience what he
went through to learn the kung fu.
The basic controls for fighting are used via the Y button.
This is your attack and block button. Its kind of weird to
have one button for both but it surprisingly works. The B
button is used for grabs and killing blows. A is for jumping
and double jumping. X is your evade button. The left trigger
serves as your focus (Bullet Time) button and R is for firing
you gun. Clicking in the right stick takes out your guns and
then you automatically will auto aim at the nearest target,
period. If you don't want to aim at items or people simply
holster yours guns with the right stick click again. Overall
the controls are not that hard to master. The melee comes
off really well but the gunfights takes some getting used
to. It's very chaotic at times on the screen and trying to
right click the control stick during all these can prove cumbersome.
Overall, the combo set is easy to use and the game provides
on screen reminders of certain combos in specific situations.
All these are done to perform some very awesome attacks that
had me saying "WHOA", just like Neo.
The basic game play in PON is all about the combat.
You'll be fighting a lot in the game. You'll take on SWAT,
Street thugs, and of course agents. You're usually trying
to proceed through the levels and move along the storyline
of the films. Sometimes you will be protecting someone or
escorting someone somewhere or just killing agent after agent.
This is a testament to their combo system as it really does
a good job of being large and keeping the game from growing
stale. Add the fact that as you get further in the game your
focus meter increases and your able to acquire updated and
better moves. There is some platforming involved but thankfully
not much as the basic jumping animation is rather crude and
not great to look at, nor does it function well. Jumping over
obstacles can be a pain.
Now what pulls this package together is the sound. The soundtrack
is mostly original composed for the game. While this may put
some people off, I found the soundtrack to be well suited
to the game and game play. They mostly comprise of techno
type music but its usually fast paced and well fitted. The
sounds effects of the kicks and the punches really add to
the combat as well. When your character enters focus mode
and right hooks them in the face in slow motion you just really
get a satisfying grin on your face when you hear the roaring
thud accompanying it. I did notice that if you die and continue
from the last checkpoint its almost as if the game has to
catch up and at first the sound effect will not register for
a good 15 seconds or so. This seems to be the case only when
continuing the game from dying and it is only temporary. The
voice acting in the game is pretty well done and even though
it's not the official actors voicing the characters they provided
some good sound alikes.
So would I say this game is leaps and bounds above Enter
The Matrix? Yes and no. This has better melee then ETM
for sure but the gunplay is not as good. I don't think that
was their focus for the game. I find myself using melee most
the time anyways. Gunplay is still easily usable. The graphics
seem to be improved at times over ETM but there is
some glitches and tearing on the models. The frame rate also
seems to falter quite a bit. Its never been really unplayable
and I tended to not notice it as much as I played more of
the game, now whether that's due to getting used to it or
the fact that half the time the game is running in slow mo
anyways due to the nature of the game who knows?
Overall for fans of The Matrix universe I'd suggest
renting this or picking the title up. It's definitely what
I would consider more of a beat-em-up kind of game and seeing
what parts of the movies you get to play out is always a incentive
for advancing further in the game. Overall the game does a
lot right and some wrong. The game just needed a little more
time for polish I believe. If you can just look past these
faults then your bond to enjoy the best Matrix game
out there today and of course you get to be Neo and come on
now, everyone wants to be "The One".
- Justin Celani