An ambitious adventure where you can freely explore the Matrix, battle machines in bullet-time and team up with others across the internet — all while smouldering in shiny black leather, of course — this latest spin-off sounds like the perfect extension of the stylish series. In reality, it’s a glitch-ridden, derivative, tiresome snooze that’s about as thrilling as the quasi-religious mumbo-jumbo that mired both sequels to the 1999 classic.
Like most traditional role-playing adventures, The Matrix Online lets players create a character from scratch, developing their skills by collecting experience points. However, while the movies set cinemas alight with their superhuman scraps, bashing Agents in the game requires little more than choosing commands from a series of menus, spectacularly failing to capture any sense of the films’ kinetic fisticuffs.
But even if you can stomach the banal battles, the game’s disgraceful bugs will alienate all but the most hardened Matrix nut; the fights often judder to a standstill if there are too many enemies onscreen, invisible walls occasionally pop up and stop you from completing missions, and even top-of-the-range PCs seem unable to cope with the game’s murky, repetitive cityscapes.
Reviewed by David McComb
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