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the matrix online - review and pictures

The Matrix is probably one of the most logical franchises on which to base a massively multiplayer game. What better reason to create a computer generated world than with a story about people trapped in such a setting? However, being trapped in the machine isn't as much fun as one would expect. While the fighting engine is unique, and the city large and interesting, there isn't much to keep players glued to the game. Additionally, there are plenty of bugs and glitches to keep most people, except those dedicated enough to work through them, from wanting to "jack in."

No matter what people might have thought of the movies, there are few franchises that are as logical for an MMO setting as The Matrix. Human beings are running in a computer-generated world, granted super abilities, and each with their own political agenda. The Matrix Online takes place right after the third movie ends, where there is a tenuous peace between the Machines and the humans of Zion. There is a third faction to mix things up: The Exiles, who are rogue sentient programs who seek to protect their living space and influence in the Matrix. Players are called "red pills", who initially work for Zion but may later choose to work for any other faction. Currently, there is very little difference in being part of any given faction. The missions all tend to work out the same way.

The game is very high in style, and goes to great length to stick to what the movies have already established. "Jacking in," thrusts the player into a green world with streaming code that eventually shifts into a recognizable reality. While this is impressive at first, it can quickly become bothersome, especially if something attacks you as you materialize and you cannot see anything clearly for 30 seconds. Luckily, the death penalty isn't very harsh. Players suffer a temporary reduction in stats as they are transported to a "loading area." The loading area can be considered one of the worst places in the game, since the resolution is fixed at a low setting with no options to make it look better. Not only does this screen make the game look bad due to its graininess, but it's also a huge time waster. Players that die have to go through two loading screens in order to get back into the action - one screen to get to the load area, and another just to regain entry into the Matrix, completely wrecking the pacing of the game.

The draw of playing The Matrix Online comes from having an influence on how the overall story turns out. At key points, the static text will switch over to voice actors who further the story along. Some of these moments feature the voices of actors from the movies. Then there are areas in the Matrix (known in the game as Metro City) that are taken directly from the movie, furthering the Matrix-like feeling. The gameplay isn't much different from other MMO games, where you have to go on missions, beat up random thugs, gain xp, and keep leveling up to get more abilities. However, the most intriguing aspect of combat is the interlock melee mode, which will send players into one-on-one combat with enemies. Here, players select different styles to use against opponents. Every move comes down to a role of the dice to determine whether they are effective or not, so it oftentimes seems like luck plays a greater role in determining things than skill does. Interlock combat is amusing and unique, but can sometimes be frustrating. It is very difficult to run away once caught in interlock, sometimes making accidental kill stealing almost unavoidable. Additionally, when multiple players try to battle a single target on one team, there is more chaos involved in fighting than style. Not to mention, occasionally, an enemy will catch you, and the camera will fly into a bad perspective for a few seconds (like behind a sign or into a wall), obscuring the view and giving the opponent a few free hits.

Going on missions can be an uneven experience. For many of the early levels, the missions feel very similar. Teaming with other players can be difficult too, since there is very little in the way of keeping track of where your teammates are. It's easy to lose one another, especially if someone dies and has to go back to the loading area. The Matrix Online also has some interesting tools, like built in AIM to contact the outside world and the ability to stream internet music directly into the game. These tools are undermined by the clumsy and unintuitive interface. For example, there is no way to import an AIM buddy list or quickly reply to people who message you.

The graphics are pretty decent, but a very high-end computer is required in order to get all the nice burring effects. Otherwise, the game just looks average. Setting aside the fact that there are blatant advertisements for Warner Bros movies on every billboard, the city looks pretty good. The fact that you can enter almost any building at will is a plus for getting around, but even with travel powers like superjump, players will long to drive high-speed vehicles... which don't exist in the game yet. Also, there aren't enough character customization tools. It's very common to find other players or NPC's who look practically identical to your character. There are dozens of items and clothing to choose from, but many of them are repeat items, adding to the cloning phenomenon.

The ability system works very nicely. There are three skill classes: The Coder, the Hacker, and the Operative. These are in addition to the base skill of being "awakened". The classes boil down to abilities that you would find in any other game, like a crafter, wizard, or fighter. The unique aspect of The Matrix Online is the ability to completely change playing class on-the-fly. Just like in the movies, all it takes is a phone call to pick up new skills. Each character has a limited amount of memory space, depending on level, so only so many abilities can be loaded at any given time. That means, if a person is tired of being a hacker (the equivalent of being a wizard), you can get rid of all those skills and become a fighting operative instead. This is great, except that there is very little incentive to play as anything besides a hacker or operative. The only thing that keeps things in balance is the base attribute statistics that start every character, which can be modified with additional points with each level. So, while anyone can be a fighter, only certain characters are inclined to be good fighters. Each ability can be upgraded with each level to become more powerful, however most skills seem ineffective. Bullets don't seem to do much against enemies, therefore it seems a little extreme to have a whole skill tree dedicated to firearms. Similarly, launching viruses (spells) does not appear to do much harm either. Most people will stick to learning kung-fu to solve their problems.

The missions are generally repetitive, and usually fairly uninteresting. The Matrix Online gives a time limit with every mission briefing, and you might lose the mission if don't accept it within a certain time. That means there might be missions that you'll never get a chance to play unless you team with someone who has it. The problem here is that if you never pick it up, you might never miss it, considering they're mostly very similar anyway. You'll usually be trying to fetch something or someone with a requirement to kill everything that stands in your way. More important missions don't occur until pretty high up in levels, if players can last that long. A major issue we ran into was the fact that some missions had severe bugs. Our first mission was to speak to someone, and when we reached the contact's room, we found a wall blocking the doorway. There was absolutely no way through, so we were forced to abandon the mission and pick it up again. Luckily, it was relocated to another building. The overall problem is that players always have to be vigilant of similar bugs, hoping that their missions will work out the way they're supposed to. Then throw in the fact that the servers suffer severe lag during times of heavy loads - so much so that the game becomes completely unplayable. The Matrix Online isn't really a game for people who are new to the MMO genre. Instead, a player has to be willing to suffer through the game's numerous faults to see the potential that lies underneath it all.

Despite all the problems, The Matrix Online is not a bad game. Most of its gameplay issues will probably be worked out in short time. The problem is, even with that taken into consideration, it is an average game without much in to make it stand out among other titles. Even with live events, where developers jump in and play as actual characters to assign unique missions and the ability to effect the overarching plot, there isn't much to keep new players interested and willing to work through everything.

It might be worthwhile for anyone interested in jacking into the Matrix to hold off for a little while, at least until the server problems are resolved. Perhaps then, many of the gameplay issues will be resolved too. It's difficult to recommend a game based solely on its untapped potential... especially when that potential is buried deep within the flawed code. But, if you're a player who is willing to persevere, truly become an awakened red pill, and reach the higher levels where the game starts getting fun, then the mysteries of The Matrix Online await.

+ Nice cityscape with plenty of open buildings and locations taken from the movies
+ Features some voices from the movies
+ Can change player class on the fly
+/- Includes nice features like internet radio and AIM, but they also have problems
+/- Interlock combat can be fun, but often clumsy
- Numerous glitches and server issues
- Very little reason to play as anything besides operative or hacker classes
- Missions are generally repetitive, uninteresting and sometimes buggy
- Difficult, unintuitive interface
- Few teaming tools
- No vehicles
- Besides interlock mode, very little that truly sets this title apart from

pictures :

and here is some matrix packages :

That game looks so cool, I have one question when does it come out I can't wait. I personaly think the best bit is that you can make your own player also it's going to be ace being able to fight with your mates online.
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