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Graphics : 6.5

The graphics manage to recreate, in some way, the style of the movie, complete with greenish colors, slow-motion, blur effects, ripples of air created by flying bullets. But the graphic engine of Enter The Matrix pales in comparison even with average adventure titles currently available on the system, and it's affected by several issues that are definitely unexpected in a millionaire project like this. It's obvious that the publisher cut the development time to have a game release coinciding with the theatrical release of Reloaded.

The thing that makes this even more evident is that while a bunch of levels look pretty decent, others are so dull it seems you're playing some old Psx game. In the airport level, for example - that in terms of gameplay is not one of the worst in the game - you'll fight amidst airplanes that have octagonal wheels, which really are something out of place in this generation of videogames. While the developers spent time implementing some fine detail - for example cardboard boxes and a few more objects can be destroyed and react realistically to your hits - the environments are empty, and look completely anonymous and generic. Usually, levels are made of a succession of rooms that look all exactly the same; too often I thought I was running in circles. The quality of the textures strongly varies throughout the game, from blurry to average, and lighting effects are poorly implemented and fail to recreate the beautiful contrasts seen in the movies. The character models look good, solid, and they nicely recreate the look of the real-life actors, showing a fine attention to details; Niobe's peculiar haircut is nicely done, and her crocodile skin coat beautifully reflects the surrounding lights. The quality of the animations can vary; some extreme moves like cartwheels and wall running couldn't have been done better, but more usual movements like running or climbing a ledge are so badly done, they achieve the same comic effect of a slapstick comedy.

The quality of the special effects is noticeable; the ripples of air generated by a flying bullet in Focus mode look great, and seeing the body of a poor guard morphing into an Agent is a scary experience.

The game suffers from some noticeable framerate problem, which occurs mostly in wide areas - like the airport hangars - or during the frequent crowded fights. With some additional month of development, Shiny - a team of talented developers and artists - would have surely been able to better optimize their engine for each system.

Sound : 8.5

As you might expect, Enter The Matrix sounds good. The score is taken straightly from the movie, and it's well used into the game, with the tensest themes dynamically introduced during fights against Agents or in other key moments of the game.

Sound effects are top notch (the muffling effect used while in Focus mode is superb), and with the support for Pro-Logic II Surround sound, players are granted a full immersion into the sounds of The Matrix.

Voice acting is usually good, even if the actors seem to not take things as seriously as in the movie, maybe because of the low-key dialogues and the overall inconsistent script written for the game.

In order to complete the game with both characters you should need no more than 10-11 hours; anyhow, fans of The Matrix will probably play Enter The Matrix more than once, just to test their fighting skills. The game also lets you replay the sections you've already completed, so if you want to fight once more against an Agent, you just have to go back at that game section. The hacking interface and the dozens of cheats available also add some extra fun, including a very simplistic multiplayer mode. The main limit of Enter The Matrix is that it gets soon repetitive: all the issues explained in the gameplay section strongly hamper the effective replay value of this title, unless you're an hardcore fan of the movies that can get past the awesomely average gameplay.

Overall Score ( not an average ) : 6.0

Enter The Matrix is a dull, repetitive gaming experience that occasionally offers some moment of brilliance. Shiny Entertainment is well known for being a team of talented developers, but evidently they hadn't enough time to create something worth their name. That's what happens when a game is "just" part of a wider marketing campaign. Enter The Matrix is no different from a key chain attached to a plastic miniature of Neo: it's just merchandise, and it can't stand on its own feet, it has no reason to exist without the movies.

But it's also a cunningly packaged piece of merchandise. Without the license, Enter The Matrix would be just a below the average action game; but the license is here, and means extra stuff that fanatics of The Matrix want to have: cutscenes directed by the Wachowski brothers (but they're far from being extraordinary), a new perspective on the story of the movies (but it's a very limited perspective), the possibility to revive, in some way, the action sequences of the movies (but this could and should have been done much better), and so on.

I really can't suggest Enter The Matrix to serious gamers in search of solid fun; but if all you want from this game is the chance of playing into the world of The Matrix, and you can stand the fact that as a fan of the saga you are supposed to buy this game regardless of its quality, then give it a try.

Special thanks to Antonio Loglisci, Pr Manager of Atari Italy



Page 1: Gameplay

- Harry (27 Jun, 2003)


Scores
Gameplay
5.5
Graphics
6.5
Sound
8.5
Replay Value
7.5
Overall Score
6.0



Developer
Shiny Entertainment
Publisher
Infogrames
Origin
U.S.
Genre
Adventure
Action
Players
1
Peripherals
Dual Shock 2
8MB Memory Card
Release Date
North America
May 14th, 2003
Japan
June 19th, 2003
Europe
May 15th, 2003
Australia
May 15th, 2003
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More screenshots of Enter The Matrix



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