The Matrix
Path of Neo

Format: Xbox

3 546430 122037
Age Restrictions: 16+
11 November 2005

Relive Neo's most important and memorable scenarios from the
Matrix trilogy. Throughout the game, the path the player takes to resolve each scenario and the resulting consequences are scripted and directed by the Wachowski Brothers. The likenesses of all of the films' key actors - including Keanu Reeves (Neo), Laurence Fishburne (Morpheus), Carrie-Ann Moss (Trinity), and Hugo Weaving (Agent Smith) - are featured in the game, which also includes footage from all three feature films, as well as The Animatrix...

Path of Neo is the game that Matrix fans have been waiting for... well, almost. There are a few sticking points, but on the whole this is about as authentic a movie to video game conversion as you are likely to get.

You start the game as plain old Neo Anderson. When Morpheus tracks you down, believing that you will one day become "The One", you have to creep around your office block without being discovered by any of the security staff or agents. This helps to fill you in on the basic controls. In fact, the first third of this game is one huge tutorial, as you upgrade all you moves to perform those cool bullet dodges, wall runs and somersaults that you know and love from the film.

The first third of the game follows, fairly faithfully, the plot of the first movie. Here you slowly develop your abilities. At the end of each level you are a taken to an area which shows you what powers and moves you currently possess. Here you can learn how to perform the moves - in case you weren't paying attention when you unlocked them in the main game.

First impressions are very misleading. It's not until almost a third of the way through the game that you start to settle into the moves and learn how best to move the camera to ensure you can see what is going on. Once you reach this point, Path of Neo becomes about the most fun you can have with your clothes on... In fact I'd try playing it totally naked for even more excitement [Not in this office you won't - ED].

There really is something jaw droppingly amazing about being able to cartwheel across the floor shooting at the enemy; running up walls and then flying through the air in slow motion, shooting at anything that moves; shooting, cross-armed, at two enemies at the same time; or dodging bullets before power shoving your enemy off a rooftop.

On the negative side... This will never win any awards for the best looking game - in fact it is pig ugly on occasion. The controls are not the easiest to master - so thank goodness that the game slowly builds your moves up over time. And you'll find it preferable to fight hand to hand rather than with your weapons - mainly due to the fact that it's quite common for you to not be able to lock onto your desired target. Actually, this last problem can also be levelled at hand to hand combat. On several occasions, when fighting multiple bad guys, the computer will select an enemy for your to attack when you don't want to attack that character. It's not easy to break away from them and fight someone behind you.

The game developers have really gone to town trying to keep this fresh. Every now and then you'll enter a new mini-game style of play. These include manning a helicopter gun and running through a train in a messed up part of the Matrix. These help to add that little extra something to keep you interested. But, it's the new moves that really keep this game fresh. If you were given all your abilities early on in the game, then you'd probably get bored before you reached the end. As it stands, there's real excitement as you unlock each new ability.

At the end of the day, despite it's faults, Path of Neo is the most authentic Matrix game to be released so far. Fans of the movie franchise will be in their element. This is the closest thing to actually being in the movie itself.

Nick Smithson

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