reviewed on PC
"Welcome ....to the real world!"
This is where it all started. Face down on his keyboard as so many of us have done time and time again, Neo finds himself on the edge of reality without any awareness of what lies before him. This is the Path of Neo.
"Why oh why didn't I take the blue pill?"
Before we get into the meat of the review, one thing must be made clear. Path of Neo out of the box is filled with bugs. I was appalled that Atari allowed the game to go to the shelves with as many things wrong with it as there were. Everything from graphic support to keymapping was faulty - you couldn't do an off the wall slow motion double round house without hitting a bug. For the sake of the review and the reviewer's sanity, downloading the two current patches is strongly recommended. The game is playable out of the box, but many will likely grow discouraged with the game before they get very far. The patches bring the game version to 1.2 and they will remedy the majority of the glaring issues, although some new issues may be caused by the patch itself.
It is safe to say most of us have seen the Matrix Trilogy by now. It is also safe to say that if you are interested in playing the Path of Neo, you are already a pretty dedicated fan of the phenomenon that the Matrix has become. The Path of Neo is based on and set in the entire timeline of Neo as it was shown in the Matrix trilogy. From his escape from his cubical at work to finding The Source, including the epic Agent Smith showdown, you will be playing in the shoes of the hero himself, the One.
"C'mon, stop trying to hit me and hit me!"
The Path of Neo is a fast-paced game, including the challenges that Neo encountered in the movies and some that were never mentioned before. From the moment Neo received the cryptic phone call from Morpheus in his office cubical, you will be in his shoes. From then on, the story progresses as chapters. Each chapter will usually unlock new knowledge or abilities that will bring you closer to becoming the legend that is The One. During your progression down this path you will be accompanied by many familiar characters from the crew of the Nebuchadnezzar as you battle your way through waves of police officers, SWAT, and Agents. The transitions between the chapters present montages of clips from the three movies, relevant to the chapter you are about to begin. If you haven't seen all or any of the three movies, beware: this game is as big of a spoiler as that annoying guy who always hangs out at the water cooler.
The combat sequences are fast, sometimes even too fast, but the main thing is that they look good. The combat controls are very simple, which eventually translates the fights into button mashing contests. Combination moves can be executed by adding movement keys to attacks or adjusting your button mashing sequence which will cause Neo to pull off some very impressive attacks. The combats may be shallow, but you still look good doing it.
"I know Kung Fu."
As you advance along the storyline, you will unlock new attacks and techniques. And, before you know it, you are wall-walking and flying through the air with the greatest ease, just as long as you have enough "focus" to keep up your acrobatic display. Once your focus runs out, you are back to basic run and gun tactics until you recharge.
Melee combat is by far the most impressive visually, and is designed so that you can engage several enemies simultaneously. With a melee weapon or bare fists, you are sure to pull off some very impressive moves, usually by accident. Unfortunately, gunfights just do not hold up in comparison. Due to the speed of the combats, aiming is futile and the foes can sometimes take countless of rounds of ammo to drop them, while a few well placed flurry kicks do the same job much quicker. However, you can use your focus during gun battles to help slow down time to take better aim and to dodge the shots that get too close to you.
"There is no spoon?"
Path of Neo proves to be very hard on the video card. The level of detail is very high and the animations for the characters and backgrounds alike are very well done. Unfortunately, the pace of action on screen can cause choppiness and some graphical bugs. In many cases, I was either interacting with or controlling a black cutout figure instead of a character. This was not so bad during the combat sequences since it was all going about so quickly, but the bug persisted during the rendered cut scenes as well. It's a bit of a let down when Trinity is supposed to be speaking to you and all you can see is a shadowy void where she should be standing. What makes it worse is that when the camera angle changes, another character may blink out. Overall, the look and feel of Path of Neo really makes you feel as if you are in fact playing through parts of the movies themselves, but the glaring bugs destroy any suspension of disbelief and pull you out of the game world.
No Pros and Cons at this time