Sunday, 3 November 2013

Matrix: Path of Neo: Game Design Review

Matrix: The Path of Neo was released back in 2005 with you playing as Neo through a number of key sequences in the film. Here's my thoughts on this action game.

What I liked:
Very fun. Its a solid game with plenty of action, wall running cool kung fu moves and definitely faithful to the movies atmosphere and style. Lots of interactive explosions and debris making the world feel alive.

Controls are solid for this sort of game and the brawling feels mostly natural and fluid.

What I disliked
Camera angles- Camera angles are normally okay, however this ends up problematic in closed rooms especially when wall running. All too often it ends up blocking your view of enemies in an enclosed room. Fortunately most levels occur in large rooms or arenas so this usually isn't a problem.

Cover based shooting is there but pointless- The game makes a big deal of this cover based mechanic in the beginning with a fairly lengthy tutorial sequence. The truth is its actually kind of useless. Neo has a fair amount bullet time, enemies tend to rush you and most of the game ends up in a hand to hand brawl anyway. You eventually even get the powers to jump across rooms! I've never really needed to use the cover based system although I have on occasion hid behind a corner.

Slow beginning- The game starts you off playing a number of tutorial missions and learning how to be stealthy etc. I kind of found it dragged on too long although the locations were certainly interesting.

Stealth is useless- The game devotes an early level in stealth but I never found any real use of stealth in the missions. The enemies after the stealth level seem to automatically turn around to attack so there's no sneaking at all the game. Why they made such a big deal of it is very curious.

More attacks- What's especially missing is probably a guard crush ability to stop enemies from blocking. The hardest enemies I found were not agents but in fact police carrying shields because the shields were impenetrable and they had a special knock back ability.

Multi-attacking is hard- There's an option to launch a multi-attack move where you attack two or even three people in one attack. For example this would make Neo would punch and kick two people at the same. Unfortunately there is no visual indicator on screen to indicate you're successfully activating this ability. Its a shame because this has some of the coolest moves and attacks.

Poor story presentation- If you go into this a fan of the Matrix like I am, you'll love this. It basically expands certain scenes while fleshing out other parts of the Matrx world Those who aren't fans or who haven't watched the Matrix trilogy will be confused by how the story is told. It's told by montages comprised of quotes from the movies which aren't even in chronological order.

Overall I enjoyed the core mechanics despite its rough edges and I do recommend it to those who enjoy brawlers and watching the Matrix.

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