Latest Game Reviews

Enter the Matrix Review - PS2

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Movie licences are usually something for small developers to stay away from, because they restrict the amount of freedom to create a compelling game. They are rarely executed flawlessly, the usually MO is to slap a movie licence on an ordinary game and hope that the name alone sells the product.

Game Play

Enter the Matrix from Shiny (developers of the fantastic MDK on Playstation and the under appreciated Sacrifice) takes a different path than the usual movie game, presenting a story that runs in parallel to the movie. The game is supported by over an hour of additional movie footage, making the game the ideal companion to those looking for the "complete Matrix experience". However those looking for a game that is actually enjoyable and fun will be left in the corner curled up in the foetal position.

That's not to say there are no redeemable features for those willing to look past it's shortcomings. The presentation is excellent - the in game cut scenes are mixed with extra footage from the movie and feature the talents of the actors from the movie, with Ghost and Niobe being the selectable characters. The animation is generally well done, but there are occasional problems with transitions and the odd body defying gravity and sliding across the floor like condensed milk on a laminex floor.

The fighting engine is well done and the ability to attack multiple enemies at once with a variety of moves means there are new moves and combinations available to those who take the time to discover them. Combined with bullet time the hand-to-hand combat works well and emulates the moves seen in the movies. Shooting is more cumbersome, with weapons automatically aiming at enemies. Sadly it seems to be confused by objects in the way and you may find yourself firing repeatedly into a piece of scenery.

The Hacking section is a nice addition to increase the immersion into the Matrix and Shiny should be commended on adding a section that will be passed over and misunderstood by the casual gamer.

Unfortunately the list of positives ends there. The camera is erratic to the point of causing motion sickness. While running it tries to stay perfectly behind the character, which results in any changes of direction making the camera swing around wildly. While fighting hand to hand the camera positions itself at 90% to the player, making combat easier but removing the ability to see any enemies from a distance. And just hope there aren't any objects around that will get in the way because that will only exacerbate the problems. The inability to control the camera manually in a third person action title is unforgivable, even considering the movie-style approach Shiny was looking for.

Even worse is the simplistic and restrictive level design. It's either narrow corridors or huge open, sparsely littered with the repetitive objects and poor texturing. Some rooms may feature a ... (continued next page)