Remember Enter the Matrix? Shiny’s last game, timed to coincide with the launch of the last two Matrix movies, was seriously flawed, but still included moments of fun. Path of Neo addresses the main complaint about the first game—you couldn’t play as Neo—but bugs, bad decisions, and schizophrenic cutscenes leave this game in worse shape than its predecessor.
As you progress through PoN you’ll unlock new abilities and fighting styles for Neo to use; however, the game’s simplistic, button-mashing fighting engine doesn’t require you to use the new skills at all. All you need to do to win is to jump around like a madman, mashing buttons.
Although you have an arsenal of weapons at your disposal throughout the game, the awkward and inaccurate control scheme makes it impossible to use them effectively. Instead, you’ll find yourself relying on your martial arts “skills,” except in rare circumstances where firearms are required.
While the martial arts combat can be visually satisfying, we felt like we didn’t actually have control over the action. Despite pushing the appropriate buttons to start combos and enact big moves, Neo almost always ended up performing the same boring routine, over and over.
Walking along the Path of Neo left us with more than one head-scratching moment. We were initially confused (and then annoyed) by the mashed-up cutscenes, with footage culled from all three movies in an attempt to improve the unsatisfying second and third parts to the trilogy. The puzzle levels couldn’t be solved using any logic we saw, instead they required blind exploration.
Worst of all, after finishing the game, the inexplicable ending still has us wondering whether the Wachowski brothers added this awful final boss because they actually thought it would be fun, or were they making a sly commentary about the current state of video games? We’re really not sure, but either way it was un-fun.
Month Reviewed: March 2006