Re-Entering the Matrix via PS2

Enter the Matrix, the video game which shares plot points with the new Matrix Reloaded movie, cost $30 million to make, includes an hour of new film footage, and–like its cinematic counterpart, has been getting mixed reviews from geeks.

To be honest, I wasn’t sure I’d like the game all that much even before I started hearing the anti-hype. I’m not a big fan of third-person perspective games, although admittedly that’s the format that works best for a game that’s martial arts intensive. But I gotta say, I enjoyed the game quite a lot–just not enough to run out and buy it after my Blockbuster rental was up.

The plot of the game weaves in and out of the larger Reloaded plot and revolves around two secondary characters, Niobe and Ghost. The points of contact are varied, but generally happen in the background. For example, Niobe and her crew are responsible for receiving the message from the doomed Osiris as well as alerting all captains of the recall order demanding that they return to Zion. The aforementioned hour of video mostly deals with Niobe, Ghost and related second stringers–there are few to know appearances by the main characters from the movie.

How does it play? Well, others (like GameSpot) slammed the game for all sorts of game play issues, mostly related to rendering and audio snafus. I didn’t experience many of those, but their point is a good one–with a game this high profile, there shouldn’t be any of them.

The missions can also be annoyingly obscure–for example, in one mission I had to escape via car, Grand Theft Auto-style, from pursuing police. This involved me driving throughout the city, but it also involved me running into a freaking wall. See, at one point you get to a toll both area, which has its gates down to prevent you from driving through. I tried ramming it a few times (and dying as the cops ganged up on me) before I realized that I was supposed to drive around the city for another two minutes before the gates raised and allowed me to pass on to the next area.

My only clue to do this was “Stay alive for two minutes”–but I didn?t know why, or how, I was supposed to do that until in frustration I started driving away from my target. That’s not problem solving, that’s just annoying.

That said, there were plenty of missions I did enjoy. Heck, its hard not to enjoy tearing through the paramilitary minions of the System, shredding ranks of police and SWAT troopers with bullet-time enhanced kung fu moves and gun play. Fighting agents–while fool-hardy–is also thrilling.

I also liked the game’s tie-ins to the movie–it’s nice to get a glimpse of what’s happening elsewhere in the universe as the main action unfolds .. but then again I’m a big Matrix fan who also liked the sequel.

The attraction of the extended plot isn’t quite enough to get me to buy the game though, at least not at full-price. I do plan on picking it up, but I’ll snag it used or discounted–Atari (formerly Infogrames) printed a few million of these puppies so I figure I’ll be able to pick it up cheap in the not-to-distant future. The game’s not a home-run hit, but it is worth picking up eventually, and it’s definitely worth renting.

Product Details

  • Enter the Matrix
  • Atari
  • PlayStation 2 (Xbox, GameCube, Windows versions available)
  • $49.99
%d bloggers like this: