Enter the Matrix
If you're a die-hard fan of the flicks, Enter the Matrix provides exactly what creators Andy and Larry Wachowski had promised. Playing through this action title gives you a richer understanding of how and why certain events happen in The Matrix Reloaded. Loyalists will also enjoy the fact that the paths of each playable character, Niobe and Ghost (who have supporting roles in the film), reveal different nuggets of Matrix info, providing further incentive to complete with both heroes. It also helps that enough of their missions vary so you don't feel like you're playing the same exact game twice. And let me not forget ETM's biggest draw, the exclusive movie cut-scenes (totaling more than an hour), which will be reason enough for some to fork over 50 bucks. Yet too many shortcomings will stop those who haven't been unplugged (I mean nonfans) from entering this Matrix. The driving and hovercraft portions fail miserably at capturing the same roller-coaster-type thrills of their movie counterparts--piloting the Logos hovercraft is like a bad bumper-boat ride. Plus, it's a shame that a number of the cut-scenes using the in-game engine lack the cool special effects made famous in the films. (You'll know what I mean when you see agents dodging bullets.) More often than not, you'll miss out on catching a good look at your Neo-like acrobatics because of the jumpy camera, and while the motion-captured combat animations are superb, others (like running or climbing a ladder) appear downright odd. Take the fanboy outta me, and I can't say I'd follow the white rabbit all the way to the game store to buy Enter the Matrix. It's a fine rental for Matrix addicts (it takes about 12 hours to finish the game with both characters), but it isn't quite good enough to warrant a purchase.
Enter the Matrix is a polished turd. Pick it up and you'll likely be mesmerized by its sparkly veneer--the exclusive movie clips, glossy character models, stylish bullet-time special effects, and destructible environments definitely impress--but play it for an hour and its sticky fecal filling oozes all over your hands. Major problems plague every facet of the game. The normal run-and-gun stages are wildly inconsistent--some are far too long, others last literally five seconds, and all suffer from poorly designed layouts and objectives. Driving missions sport busted physics and horrid visuals. The real-time cinemas are unbelievably ugly. Both the hand-to-hand and gunplay combat are tiresome and repetitive--every slow-mo kung-fu fight is indistinguishable from the hundreds before it. The misguided final stages boil down to an anticlimactic, clunky minigame. Even the much-vaunted story never really heats up, spending too much time exploring the boring periphery of Reloaded's plot. Oh, and expect the game to routinely crash. The PS2 ETMs ostensibly the most stable; however, terrible game-ending bugs infect the retail copies of all three versions. Frankly, I'm pretty sure that this game isn't really done, yet it was irresponsibly released anyway to an unsuspecting public in an attempt to cash in on the movie's release. Bryan seems content simply having a game based on The Matrix, regardless of its quality...but I'm not. Red pill, blue pill...at this point, I'd swallow the whole damn bottle of pills to forget my miserable Enter the Matrix experience. Sure, that would mean that I wouldn't remember the new movie scenes (like the oh-so-steamy Niobe/Persephone liplock), but that would be a minor sacrifice in order to erase the pervasive pain of ETM's ramshackle graphics and gameplay.
In more than 20 years of playing games, I have never seen a console game as obviously unfinished and rushed to market as Enter the Matrix. Bugs and glitches pile up like so many Agent Smiths: Characters get stuck in walls or float in the air; music and sound effects pop in at the wrong times or are missing altogether; and on many Xboxes (including mine), the game locks up every single time after a certain boss fight. This game is a complete mess, and that's the only thing complete about it. But let's say all the bugs magically disappeared--how would Enter the Matrix rate? Average at best. Fans may appreciate a couple of the film excerpts (and by a couple, I mean two), which cleverly weave in and out of Reloaded, but the story adds precious little to the overall Matrix mythos, and the in-game cut-scenes look laughably bad. Which goes for the rest of the game's graphics as well--most levels are embarrassingly dull, devoid of any life or detail.
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From start to finish, Enter the Matrix makes excellent accompaniment to the popular film, The Matrix Reloaded. Set in a world gone awry, a Matrix where Neo has become the One, and the free humans of Zion must fight against extinction, your role will be to play the crew of the Logos, characters that while receiving only minor play in the film, become major players in the game. Touting a high adrenaline action adventure, this game lets you kick major ass, as either Niobe or Ghost, both of which have extensive knowledge of martial arts and firearms, and are capable of amazing superhuman feats thanks to their focused minds.
Visually, Enter the Matrix isn't quite a showstopper, but it is incredibly detailed, using realistic textures in the same vein as Max Payne. Written and directed by the Wachowski brothers, the film clips in this game are the first thing that makes it worth purchasing. The second is the ass-kicking. With a surprisingly deep combat system, featuring a variety of punches, kicks, throws, and disarm maneuvers, it rises above the normal crap we get out of a PC fighting title. Fear not, firearm enthusiasts, as it's also packed with weaponry, most of which you'll be getting by tearing them out of enemy hands. Between the times you're deciding what to do, and are actually fighting, you can use 'focus' to slow down into bullet time, letting you perform amazing stunts, like superhuman martial arts moves, or incredibly long jumps.
As a disadvantage, the game suffers from a problem of repetitive gameplay, essentially taking you on a 'follow the dots' path from one location to another, interspersed with some wicked cool fights, hand to hand and gunned. While you fight a boss now and again (including an agent), the basic enemies never get much tougher, and once mastered, the strategy and skill required to beat the game on easy lets you beat it on hard without breaking a sweat. Fortunately, even with a great deal of overlapping gameplay, there are two characters that have different paths to take through the game, so there is something to go on here. Sadly, while I was expecting at least ten hours of gameplay or more, I was able to easily beat the game and open up most of its secrets in less than four. Perhaps they'll get it right if a sequel comes out for The Matrix Revolutions?
In summation, I'd like to say that I've never seen a game based on a popular film that was so good. Fighting, focus, guns, explosions, agents, oh my! Worth the spare cash, although it comes close to ranking a 'Fans Only.'
With the exception of maybe 'the Hulk' we have been inundated with a marketing blitz rarely seen this summer concerning the movie 'The Matrix.'? With a rumored budget of 22 million dollars, Enter the Matrix is that rare video game that borrows from a movie license and doesn't completely stink. From its initial inception, the game was made literally by the Wachowski brothers, who guard their creation with such pride that it would almost be impossible to make a game that ties in with the movie so nicely, and it not be cool.
Enter the Matrix is an action adventure game that is interwoven with the second 'Matrix'? movie, including footage of the movie and characters that appear in it. As a matter of fact, you play as characters Niobe and Ghost, two characters who have decent sized parts in the movie.
Graphically, Enter the Matrix is pretty tight. I liked the use of lines that characters possess, and the frame rate is top notch. Architecture is well done and the game's horizon can be established even at great lengths. While the martial arts moves seem a bit stiff, the game's breakneck pace and excellent 'bullet time'?, looks incredible. From an audio standpoint I really was giving my home theatre system a workout. The gunfire and explosions sound great and the base music that plays as you do menial tasks actually sounds like the movie, giving you a well thought out audio experience.
Of course what makes the game fun is the constantly changing gameplay. One mission might involve running and gunning through a building looking for an important item while another involves a car chase with you hanging out the passenger side of the car, machine-gunning an evil agent. The game does a good job of throwing curve balls at you'just when you get comfortable playing the game one way, you are then thrown into a situation that requires you to master a completely different set of controls. Sadly, it is those controls that make the game more difficult than it needs to be. I was not happy with the way the game's controls were set up, and on more than one occasion found myself cursing at the TV screen as I once again pressed a wrong button that got me killed. The whole control issue was definitely a downer for me and I suspect using an S-type controller might make things easier, but I currently don't have one.
A game tailor made for action junkies and fans of 'The Matrix,'? a couple of control changes and a slightly easier learning curve might have pushed this one into the 'Must buy'? category, but it is a solid title. Check it out if you are in need of an action fix, rent it if you are mildly curious. Personally, I have been having one heck of a good time playing this title.