Video Game Review of the Week
--Review by Riposte101 @ 6/17/03 23:51 PST.
Enter the Matrix
I eagerly drove to the store and picked this title up the day it became available, namely on May 15th.
The game's events take place simultaneously with the events of the movie, but instead of following Neo, Trinity, and Morpheus we follow Niobe and Ghost. The player is prompted with the choice at the beginning of the game of either Niobe, a driving expert, or Ghost, a weapons specialist.
The characters both have unique sets of dozens of neat martial arts moves choreographed by cinema legend Yuen Woo Ping and they can run off walls and everything else you would expect of a title from this franchise. As you complete missions you are rewarded with new cut scenes, albeit cut scenes that are completely devoid of special effects, directed by the Wachowski brothers and starring the actors from the film.
The first thing that I noticed was the flawed control scheme. It suffers greatly from not imitating the intuitive dual thumb-stick controls of Halo, but instead takes a page out of Metroid Prime’s automatic targeting lameness. As was mentioned, the computer does most of the targeting for you, however there are many instances where it becomes necessary to enter the sniping mode and this is where the controls become downright atrocious. In sniping mode you can zoom and aim of your own volition, however you can only move by holding the target-lock button and even then you are limited to only moving from side to side.
The display is filled with two bars. The first one denotes the amount of health your character has and the other is labeled as Focus. Focus is what the game calls that familiar video game device that we have all come to know as bullet-time. The one innovation that Focus has is that the skill sets are varied and stronger than the ones you use in nonbullet-time mode. Although there are numerous health pickups throughout the game these are useless since your health and focus quickly replenishes on its own.
The game is unpolished and looked rushed to meet the movie’s simultaneous deadline. More evidence of this is the inability to restart a mission without being forced to quit out to the main screen and reloading your game. The difficulty of the game is marginal as even on hard mode you can go through the entire game with the use of only one move. This all-powerful move can be employed as follows, (1) wield gun of choice, (2) hold down the Focus button and (3) press throw. It insta-kills everybody and at the same time refreshes your Focus level back to its previous point. When faced with multiple opponents, just use this move and they will all stand idly by, watch their associates die, lineup and patient wait their turn for the same to be done to them. Even the much-vaunted agents are a joke as you can sit there and beat the shit out of them all day long without the slightest fear of reprisal. Many of the mission objectives are comprised of running away from agents. Why should I run away from an agent if he cannot even hurt me?
Another frustrating feature of the game is the inability for Niobe or Ghost to hit anything with hand-to-hand maneuvers if the opponent is even a pixel above or bellow their plane. Ergo if an opponent is on one step bellow or above you on the stairs you cannot hit them.
Speaking of retarded mission objectives, did I mention the one where you have to wait around and find a flashlight before you are able to proceed because it is too dark? Take off your fucking sunglasses if you are in the sewer and you can’t see, you jackass.
Whatever momentum the game is able to build is ruined by the driving sequences that are liberally placed throughout the game. Granted, the game does not focus on driving, but these missions are an atrocity that they force-feed us as content. The simple controls, horrible physics and the length of these missions almost had me turning off my Xbox and slitting my wrists. The best driving mission was the one where they have you driving around in a circle for two minutes until a gate is openned…yeah that was the best one.
While the game does have a few standout moments like getting to smack Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss) around as Ghost in the Zen Garden and Persephone (Monica Bellucci) making out with Niobe (Jada Pinkett Smith) in some girl on girl action, but for the most part the game was a frustrating waste of time. My advice would be to wait for the DVD of Matrix Reloaded to come out. As I have no doubt all these extra cut scenes will be included in the special features of that disc.
Score: 3 out of 10
Take my advice and leave that fucking red pill where it is.
Err...it was great...ah, anybody out there want to buy a like-new Xbox copy of Enter the Matrix? I’m selling real cheap.
--Posted by KenshiroKing @ 6/18/03 10:34 PST.
I, personally, enjoyed the admittedly brief amount of time I spent playing this title. I found the bullet time well programmed and had a goofy grin on my face as I ran around on walls and did one-handed cartwheels through clouds of bullets. I completely agree that the controls were uh… “atrocious” and it did seem like the game was sort of slapped together all quick-like, but I still liked playing it. However, I bow to Riposte101’s assessment because he clearly spent more time playing it than I.