Enter the Matrix

Well, I rented Enter the Matrix for the XBox yesterday…and returned it today.

I really wanted to like it, but between an awkward control system, weird clipping problems, a dodgy camera and a feeling that you’re never really in control of the character you’re playing, it just wasn’t good. I’m sure Shiny got caught in a time crunch and didn’t have enough time to polish it to where they should have.

The game looks cool, with great Matrix-y fighting moves, but in fact you have very little control over them. Hit the Focus (their word for bullet-time) button and the Kick button and maybe your character will leap up and double-kick two nearby opponents, or maybe s/he’ll leap up, push off a wall and do a total round-house kick to one of them. As far as I could tell, the game decided.

You can use either a first or third person point of view, but you can’t move in first person and you can’t look up/down in third. When you’re fighting a helicopter that’ll cut you down in seconds, this becomes very awkward indeed. Either stand still so you can look up to aim at it, or dodge and not be able to target it.

In the driving sequences, we have crash physics that leave your car tumbling, clipping through building after building, for ridiculous amounts of time until you finally lodge against a building that is solid.

And the controls! Eeek. The little black button is your first button. Try to hit that in a panic.

You can do neat Matrix moves like a cartwheel while firing your gun, and the hand-to-hand combat sure looks neat. You can see what they were going for and it would’ve kicked major ass, but it just never got finished. Between this and the new movie, my Matrix fanboyism has dissolved in a matter of days. 🙁

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