With just a few weeks left before Atari rolls out The Matrix: Path of Neo to stores, Shiny Entertainment has finally lifted the curtain on a near-final build of the game so that we can see for ourselves how well it’s going to hold up. The version in our possession is content complete too, which means that all the same levels, extras, and moves that can be found in the retail copy are in this disc too (with the exception of the ending, which has been changed from the motion picture’s to reflect the Director’s cut “True Conclusion”).
So far, we’ve spent a good couple of hours with Path of Neo and there are several cool elements worth noting. To start, its presentation is well above average compared to your typical action game — with movie-quality cinematics taken from the film to tell the story in an effective “montage” format, and the familiar “Matrix Code” effects in the menus, loading screens, and the like. Take our word for it, from the moment Path of Neo loads up on your television screen there won’t be any doubt that the Wachowski Brothers and Warner Bros. has their say in the production.
Shiny’s attention to movie detail continues on in just about everything the player does. The opening sequence, for example, actually takes place in Neo’s head as a sort of premonition that points to the end of the first film’s gun battle in the skyscraper lobby. It’s your performance here that determines what difficulty setting users will play through the rest of the game with, as you’ll begin eliminating security guards and police officers before being pushed into confrontations with SWAT team members, low-level agents, and Smith himself.
This is cool for a number of reasons (primarily because it’s chaotic), but it also serves as a preview of what kind of moves Neo can eventually learn once he’s progressed through the game. These battles can get a little disorienting, though, since the “dream effect” that’s been utilized means that the screen warps and contorts pretty often. Still, it “feels” like you’re in The Matrix regardless, and being able to select which pill you want to take from Morpheus right before is a nice touch (yes you can select the blue pill and if you do, you’ll wake up in front of the computer as the game automatically ends).
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