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Platform

Playstation 2

 

Genre

Action

 

Publisher

Atari

 

Developer

Shiny Entertainment

 

ESRB

T (Teen)

 

Released

Q2 2003

 

 

- Nice movie tie-in

- Good sound effects

- Decent level design

- Smooth animation

 

 

- Poor controls

- Very average gameplay

- Lackluster visuals

- Jolting music transitions

- Unnatural script for the story

 

 

Review: Enter the Matrix (Xbox)

Review: Max Payne (Playstation 2)

Review: Shinobi (Playstation 2)

 

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Enter the Matrix

Score: 6.0 / 10

 

Usually when a game comes out with a movie license the title falls flat on its face, being a mere shell of its silver screened counterpart (even more pathetic when the game is based on a piss-poor film).  Enter the Matrix had a lot of potential to buck this trend as its approach to being a game set in The Matrix: Reloaded was a novel one, following Captain Niobe (played by Jada Pinkett Smith in both the film and the game) and her crew as they go on the missions you know they went on from watching the movie but donít actually see get done.  Unfortunately this novel approach to setting up the game is ruined by the titleís poor controls and overwhelming average-ness.  

enter-matrix-1.jpg (21896 bytes)          enter-matrix-2.jpg (46423 bytes)

Progressing through the levels can often be a real chore thanks to the controls in the game.  Thereís just too many functions being squeezed into too few buttons.  As such, a number of your charactersí moves are automated instead of being manually controlled.  The biggest pain in the ass to come of this is when you get near a wall at which point youíll often find your character automatically pressing up against it to sneak around which can completely slow up things, especially if you have enemies on your tail.  Itís even more frustrating when near an object you can climb and they automatically start climbing it when thatís the last thing you want happening.  If game developers want to make any particular control feature automated they should stick with auto targeting.  Unfortunately Enter the Matrix canít even get that right.  The auto targeting feature in the game is serviceable when the enemies arenít too close, and youíre shooting them from a far, but once they start swarming your character for close quartered combat the targeting sometimes locks in on a far from ideal target forcing players to adjust their strategy to compensate for this inconvenience and often times allowing one of the other enemies to land a quick cheap shot.  On the plus side, driving in the game handles really well, itís just too bad the rest of the controls are so bad.

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Whatís most frustrating about the game, though, is that it is just such an average action title.  It really feels like youíre going through the motions, beating up enemies with the same old mix of martial arts and gunplay that weíve seen for the last five or so years.  There just isnít anything new or exciting about it.  Beat up a bunch of not-too-bright enemies, navigate a level, through in some physical obstacles, lather, rinse, repeat.  Sure thereís a few extras like being able to drive, but itís not enough to make 

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the game stand out from all the other middle-of-the-road action games on the market.  Enter the Matrix is hardly any more innovative than the infamous Fighting Force.  To its credit, the game does have some well laid out levels the way rooms and corridors are setup that would have made for some good stealth missions and excellent fire fights if it werenít for the aforementioned control problems.

The presentation, too, is very much a very average affair.  The visuals arenít terribly detailed, more on par with games released last year (perhaps a testament to the sheer amount of time the game has been in development).  Thereís a fair amount of texturing, and the light effects are serviceable, but Enter the Matrix is hardly a showcase of what the PS2 is capable of visually.  The animation, though, is nice and smooth.  This really becomes apparent when in hand-to-hand combat, as the moves are very fast-paces, but silky smooth at the same time, thanks to the large amounts of motion capture that was used during development of the game.

enter-matrix-3.jpg (31091 bytes)          enter-matrix-4.jpg (40415 bytes)

The aural side of the coin in the game comes off a little more shaky.  The sound effects are pretty good with lots of appropriate ambient noise, quality gunfire, footfalls and such, but the music is very sketchy in how it is presented.  A lot of times it can be very jarring in how it shifts from orchestral pieces to electronic.  The transitions could have used a lot more work.  The voice acting is decent, especially when you consider thereís some Hollywood actors in it, but the problem is that the lines donít feel like they have the same flow as that of the movie.  Frankly, the script sounds very ďvideogameyĒ and very out of place, especially after seeing Reloaded.

Ultimately, Enter the Matrix is a prime example of a good idea gone bad.  If it werenít for the annoying controls and the ho-hum nature of the game it would actually have been pretty good, but as it stands unless you are a huge fan of the movies this game isnít worth buying.

- Mr. Nash

(July 27, 2003)

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