Ever thought you could do a better job donning a stylish black trench coat and sunnies? Now you can take control of â€˜The Oneâ€™ and play as Neo, fighting your way through The Matrix in a desperate battle to save Zion. Youâ€™ll play through all the key scenes from the trilogy, and face some entirely new battles written and directed by the Wachowski brothers just for The Matrix: Path of Neo. Youâ€™ll get to expand your combat skills in new training missions so you can face off against hundreds of Agent Smiths, and experience a new ending to the trilogy.
Path of Neo immediately sets itself up as a better game than the slightly disappointing Enter The Matrix. To start with, actually being able to play as Neo is a heck of a lot more fun than being relegated to sidekick status. From sneaking your way through cubicles to an epic final showdown, youâ€™re finally given the chance to perform Keanuâ€™s signature ass kicking moves, and while the game isnâ€™t as polished as it probably could be, thereâ€™s no denying itâ€™s a fun journey.
To start you off, youâ€™re actually given the chance to take either the blue pill to forget everything, or the red pill, and be shown exactly how deep the rabbit hole goes. As amusing as being given the choice might sound though, itâ€™s recommended to take the red if you donâ€™t want to end up staring at a game over screen three seconds later.
As you play your way through the story, youâ€™ll be experiencing Neoâ€™s key moments from the trilogy, and a handful of new scenes written for the game. However, this means that youâ€™ll be missing out on a few parts of the movies that didnâ€™t involve Neo, like the highway chase from Reloaded. This makes sense from a practical point of view, but unfortunately the storyline suffers for it, becoming disjointed and flakey. Fans will have no trouble deciphering whatâ€™s going on, but anyone who hasnâ€™t seen all three movies will have a snowflakesâ€™ hope in Hades of following the plot. Random clips from the film are thrown in here and there to help smooth things along, but end up doing more harm than good.
Confusing plot twists aside, the game also features some massive and slightly disconcerting tone changes. The mood swings from serious and somber, to almost jovial and slapstick at times, which can leave you feeling confused and unsettled. The style of play consists mostly of hard out action sequences, but a few of the scenes are expanded to include more puzzle style elements. The difficulty level increases at a fairly consistent pace to match your skills as you become more adept at learning dozens of new and powerful moves. Youâ€™ll also learn to use the focus command, which will allow you to pull out some truly spectacular moves. As well as dabbling in unarmed combat, youâ€™ll have an arsenal of guns and the occasional sword or two to play with. It looks and feels incredible to enter bullet time and dish out some serious punishment to your enemy.
The graphics are done well, and Shiny has clearly placed emphasis on detail. Each scene is filled to bursting with graphical details, and stays true to the visual style of the movies. It makes for a visually pleasing game but because the technical limits of the Xbox are starting to be pushed for Path of Neo, the frame rate almost always suffers in the busier combat sequences, and youâ€™ll find yourself fighting with a slight lag, which can be off-putting and frustrating. On the other hand, youâ€™ll likely be so thrilled with the entirely destructible environments that you wonâ€™t even notice or care about the sometimes stilted combat. Almost everything can be destroyed, and it takes a long time to get sick of blowing things up.
Path of Neo features an average soundtrack and reasonable voice acting (with only Laurence Fishburne returning to do his own voice.) The voice actors playing the rest of the cast do sound similar to their movie counterparts, but when interspersed with actual scenes from the movie, it starts to sound odd. The music is not nearly as good as that featured in the films. Itâ€™s a passable, if not entirely forgettable compilation.
It seems like too much has been crammed into Path of Neo, and more important, major aspects of the game have been neglected. As a result, the whole game has suffered slightly. In the end however, if you can overlook the haphazard and disjointed feel, youâ€™ll be able to simply enjoy running around in a long black coat and kicking ass. So take the red pill, stay in wonderland and see if youâ€™re ready to walk the path of The One.