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Score: 7.3 / 10
If you’re familiar with the Matrix, there’s
no introduction needed. The rabbit hole, blue pill, red pill,
bullet-time, impossible kung-fu moves, an intriguing if somewhat
confusing story and really, really cool sunglasses – you know all about
that. If you haven’t seen the movies, you’ll likely be left scratching
your head as to what’s going on. It would be like opening up Lord of the
Rings: The Two Towers somewhere in the middle and trying to figure out
what happened in The Hobbit and Fellowship of the Ring. Who’s who and
what’s what isn’t made clear – no backstory or extensive introduction.
Enter the Matrix (ETM) completely caters to fans of the first two Matrix
movies, and Matrix Reloaded specifically as ETM weaves a story into and
alongside the action of that film.
ETM follows the exploits of the crew of the Logos, which consists of
Sparks (the operator), and the two playable characters: Niobe and Ghost
(minor characters in
Matrix Reloaded). This creates a
better-than-average level of replayability. While playing through as
Ghost, Niobe often drops in or performs some kind of action to help
Ghost’s progression. Then playing as Niobe the second time through you
get to see things from her point of view. Obviously, there’s some
overlap, but they’re different enough to warrant replaying from the
other point of view.
And because the Wachowski brothers penned
the game, it remains true to the Matrix mythos and consistent with what
happens in the movie. As far as film-to-game transitions go, ETM is
right up there with EA’s Two Towers but with even better cutscenes.
The cutscenes were filmed especially for the game during production of
Matrix Reloaded and Matrix Revolution. Production values like this have
never been seen in a game. Really, there’s so much style here – with the
graphics and other production values – it’ll make your eyes and ears
bleed. Whatever small touches are in the movies are present and
accounted for: bullet trails, exaggerated martial arts, running from
Agents, flipping off walls, etc. – it’s all here for the Matrix fan.
There is a huge roster of moves to perform but you’ll probably fall into
just using a handful of them, which is a shame because they look
awesome. And as cool as the hand-to-hand combat is, it starts to feel
repetitive. The weapon combat is hard to get a handle on because you
have to get used to the fact you can’t pick targets – they’re picked for
you. While I understand why this method is used – with all the moves it
would be difficult to aim as well – it still doesn’t alleviate the
frustration getting blown away by a distant enemy you couldn’t target
because someone else was closer.
Being able to execute a number of evasive moves helps a lot in avoiding
death. The Focus meter is essentially your bullet-time mode. While
holding the Focus button you can run up walls and perform all manner of
motions to throw off pursuers. Along with the health bar, the Focus
meter replenishes itself. After most encounters I found myself standing
idle while the bars refilled. It slows down the action a bit but it’s
nowhere near as excruciating as your health meter in X2 Woverine’s
But getting a handle on the controls takes time. ETM requires a deftness
and subtly that most games won’t even attempt. If the 3rd Person action
sequences weren’t enough, there are also vehicle missions thrown in for
good measure. Ghost gets to ride shotgun and blast enemies off the road,
while Niobe (captain of the Logos) gets to do the driving. The driving
sections aren’t as "tight" as the rest of the game and thankfully short.
What’s sure to be the least-used feature of ETM is Hacking. This is
essentially your gateway to all the goodies that are locked away within
ETM. Keep a pen and paper handy because you’ll run across codes during
the game, which can be used to unlock things like arena battles between
Morpheus and Agent Smith or Niobe and Trinity; and the chance to drop
weapon caches in each level. Figuring out the Hacking system feels
clumsy with the Xbox controller since you have to highlight each button
on the keyboard instead of simply typing. Most won’t even bother going
through the rigmarole – dropping in a password is way easier and Hacking
takes some effort.
For fanz of the Matrix and those that must simply figure what the Matrix
really is, will pick up Enter the Matrix and have a blast. For everyone
else, Enter the Matrix is an above-average action game with some cool
moves and awesome production values (but repetitive).