"The path of the one is made by the many"

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Well, at least, the path lead to three different choices. I mean, the three different computer games based on the “Matrix Trilogy”. I personally played “Enter the Matrix” when it came out and my impression was that it was, well.. not finished. The graphics were incomplete, some levels looked like the designers created them during lunch time. It was an experience though but it could have been much better. And the most important thing: You could not slip into the role of the protagonist Neo itself. You could not even meet him.
So I was very delighted when I heard that Shiny would do another Matrix game entitled “The path of Neo” where one finally could play all the interesting scenes from the Matrix trilogy with the main character. And for I assumed there was no real time pressure (all the movies where already out and Matrix Online which btw doesn’t seem to be much of a success had finally come to be released) I really hoped that Shiny (famous for games like MDK) would finally manage to come up with the perfect game that matches the (in my opinion) perfect movies. (Yes, I am a big fan!)
Well, today I finished playing “The Path of Neo” and I had fun BUT it all started with a black screen and the realisation that I needed a new graphic adapter to get the game up and running. The game need vertex and pixel shaders and I didn’t really look for this when I got the game (I bought on eBay). So after I got a new graphics card I could finally get into the game.
I had a hard time tweaking the resolution and played the first part of the game at 800×600 pixels and a very poor quality. It looked better after I finally managed to find the settings but even with the patch installed there are serious graphic bugs and the range of quality is VERY wide. Controlling the “more than 600 Martial-Arts moves” (I didn’t count) is kind of hard in my opinion when you need to keep track of the mouse (two buttons), movement controls (4 buttons) and three more for the focus, jumping and artistic stuff. It’s not impossible but more often the combos came out randomly and unintentionally. It still looks cool but in games like Max Payne 2 Bullet-time effects seems to work better and are easier to control. Sometims you cannot even see what you are doing because of horrible camera positions and movement.
The story is quite close to the movies. It starts with Thomas A. Anderson looking for an answer to the question “What is the matrix”. You can control how he escapes the agents in his office and drive off with Trinity or you get caught just like in the movie. There are little bits of film-scenes during the game taken from the movies, the Animatrix and scenes exclusively done for “Enter the Matrix” but as far as I could see there’s no new material.
The levels are very cool even if they’re not taken form the movies and the game can be really challenging (apart from the controls) but it’s not even close to being an adventure. Beating up all the guys mostly does it. During the game you increase your focus meter (that is the time you can use for bullet-time-effects) and you get new moves. You can jump higher, walk on walls, attack groups of enemys, do jump kicks, throw people around and use swords, poles and other stuff for defense. It’s really great. And when you finally get to the Smiths in the final big battle you can even fly. Even the ending of the game lies in your hands and as the oracle always says: “You just have to make up your own damn mind.”
I think it’s better than “Enter the Matrix” and for fans it’s a great game anyway. But people at Shiny should probably have taken their time to learn to use the powers of their middleware. And the havok engine because as many damage as you can do to all kinds of objects it’s not even near the quality of Half Life 2. So I think I like it. But it’s far from being a perfect game.
I’d like to close with a text frequently to be found on geeks’ T-Shirts: “Life is great, only the graphic sucks.”

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