Developer: Shiny Entertainment
Available for PC, PS2, Gamecube and Xbox.
What is it?
Enter the Matrix (EtM) is a new action game set in the Matrix universe, following a parallel storyline to The Matrix Reloaded. The PC game is single player only, with multiplayer being covered by the recently announced massively multiplayer The Matrix Online , while the console versions of the game come with some form of multiplayer.
Enter the Matrix is billed as the comprehensive Matrix game, featuring a combat system that incorporates kung-fu
and shooting seamlessly. It allows you to play as two different characters from the film, Ghost and Niobe. As well as fighting, the game has elements where you drive or ride shotgun in either a car or the Logos hovercraft
in the real world.
Disclaimer: I have only played the PC version, so what I say is only relevent to the PC version.
The fighting part of EtM is the best part, and is initially quite fun. The moves list is the longest I've seen in any game so far: your character can jump, climb, roll as well as many of the signature moves from the original Matrix (only the actual bullet-dodging is absent), the characters look great close up, and the level design and enemies are good and true to the Matrix. The kung-fu and shooting integrate together so that it is quite possible to cartwheel across a hallway firing dual Uzis, run along the walls, flying kick a guard, disarm him and use his own weapon on him. Advanced moves use focus, which works like bullet-time in Max Payne, which also slows time down so that bullets aquire the familiar Matrix contrails. However, as the game gets on a number of major flaws become apparent. The most important of these is the lack of a standard keyboard and mouse aiming system, instead going for a woefully inaccurate console type lock-on system that rapidly becomes a pain. While there is a first person view where you can manually aim, you cannot move forwards or backwards in it. The second is the camera, which can't quite change between kung-fu mode and shooter mode and often leaves your character entirely off-screen. Finally there are severe clipping problems, particularly during the kung-fu.
The driving and hovercraft sections of the game are, quite frankly, bad: graphics are poor, missions are boring and too often you die because you AI partner cannot drive/shoot properly.
The character models in EtM are very impressive, particularly close-up face shots, where the high polygon count is immediately visible, but while the characters look good, the game is let down by the bland look of its levels, which look nowhere near as good as its characters.
While I'm no sound quality expert, I think EtM does a pretty good job of recreating the sounds from the Matrix, with many of the signature sounds from the film, as well as some good new stuff. The sound follows the action pretty well, changing to reflect the nature of the scene.
As mentioned earlier, EtM follows the exploits of two characters, Ghost and Niobe, who play supporting roles in the movie. The game essentially follows the storyline of the two characters, from picking up the package left by the Osiris in The Final Flight of the Osiris, though to the end of the movie, and actually includes a trailer for the final film in the end of game FMV. Much of this storyline is done using footage filmed alongside the movie, making almost an hour of additional Matrix footage.
Probably the best thing about EtM is its extras. As mentioned earlier, EtM has a hacking minigame based around a DOS command line, which allows you to access any of the FMVs from the game, as well as weapons drops, bios, pictures, maps, cheats, and training levels in the construct. In addition, clues are dropped at the "completion" of the hacking game that more can be found by exchanging codes between this and a number of fake sites named after front companies from the film, in a similar way to the A.I. internet puzzle.
Enter the Matrix could have been a very good game, but it has obviously been rushed. Buy it for the storyline, not for the gamplay.