25 January 2008 | BarryOneill
Now I know why fans hate this game - one person's experience
Before I get into this, you should know I'm not into playing these MMO games, and this was my first time playing one. I was warned that I would not like it, I went in with an open mind, gave it about a month, and man, I really wanted to like it, but it's just not what a fan of the Matrix is looking for.
The one big positive is the graphics. They really are pretty incredible, and even though it's all sort of cartoonish, it's still impressive and about as realistic looking as it can get. There's all sorts of eye candy everywhere you look, and like Agent Smith said in the first film, you could just sit and stare at it for hours. Unfortunately, that's all I can really say for the game in general.
The biggest problem with the Matrix Online is that it's 100% aimed at people who play games online. If you're just a fan of the Matrix series, this is definitely not for you. If you're a huge fan who's too stubborn to listen to reason (like I was), go ahead and download a free trial and see for yourself. Once you 'jack in' and go through a process of creating a character, you're thrown into the game with what seems like maybe a couple dozen other people who pretty much spend their days fighting with each other and typing lots of acronyms.
The object of the game, seemingly, is to 'level up' from 1 to 50 via missions, fighting, that sort of thing. It's a lot like, well, playing a video game: time consuming and repetitive. And again, unless you joined up to play a game, you will grow both frustrated and bored to tears within an hour.
The next problem, and really the most important one, is the story, which is paradoxically billed both as the "official continuation" and something you can help shape or affect in some way. Well, that's all just plain old false advertising. You literally have zero effect on the story, which is presented to you via a series of graphic novel type video clips, as well as typed to you during missions. Yes, I said typed. There is also something called live events which take place occasionally, but until you get to a level where you're not just a walking target, you'll never be able to attend one, let alone find one.
The story itself is extremely disappointing for many reasons. For one thing, it's terribly silly and doesn't have much to do with what was in the films other than by proxy. Morpheus was killed off early on by a gun-toting swarm of flies, if that tells you anything. Some of the other minor characters show up now and then. People seem aware of all the story's goings-on, but they don't seem to care; life goes on, they just keep standing around phone booths and chatting like Myspacers. There's no real sense of being 'in the Matrix'.
Apparently the Matrix creators have sort of outsourced the story to a comic book writer named Paul Chadwick, and it shows. Frankly, I find it difficult to believe the brothers had anything to do with most of what's in the game, and I now understand why Matrix fans hate this game. It's like going to Spago's expecting some of Wolfgang's acclaimed cuisine and getting some sous chef's whim-du-jour instead. And again, the whole selling point of being able to take part in the story is just plain not there. I saw lots and lots of interviews and hype about this game when it first came out, and it pains me to say that's all it was: hype.
To sum it up, if you like playing games, I guess it's worth trying, but don't go in expecting it to have anything to do with the movies.