into your PC to play The Matrix Online and jacking
in to the Matrix makes perfect metaphoric sense in
Monolith's ambitious MMORPG. In a paradox where life
imitates art while imitating life imitating art (that
makes my head hurt to think about) The Matrix Online
succeeds in drawing you in to this world where almost
everyone you meet on the street is in on the joke.
The joke being the inate God knowledge that the world
around you isn't real - it's a fabrication. But unfortunately
the gameplay experience also feels fabricated. Glitches
and slowdown expose this "matrix" for what
it really is: a shoddy attempt at an MMORPG. If Thomas
Anderson (Neo) had noticed the lag, clipping and other
graphical anomlies rife within this matrix in his
own, he wouldn't have needed a pill to figure out
that something was really amiss.
journalists use the word "ambitious" to
describe a product, that's usually polite terminology
for "the concept was great but the execution
less than". Thus the term ambitious perfectly
captures the essence of MxO. In some ways Monolith's
ambition and dedication to the material succeeds dramatically.
While most MMORPG's are set against a medieval backdrop,
MxO takes place in MegaCity, a sprawling urbanized
center which looks jawdroppingly fantastic, especially
if you've got the horsepower under the hood to turn
on the details. Both indoor and outdoor environments
are equally impressive especially when looking out
over MegaCity from the confines of an office building
a few stories up and seeing other players running
around the streets. Where the game doesn't quite deliver
is in terms of character models, which of course can
be the bottleneck for online games. If the bandwidth
has to start moving around characters made of a plethora
of polygons, you're going to take a major hit in performance.
So we're left with characters that don't look quite
as detailed as one would like, but that's not necessarily
Monolith's fault. It's a technological barrier which
will eventually be overcome with faster computers
and connection speeds.
gameplay style isn't quite as advanced as the city
it takes place in unfortunately and this is where
things get dicey. MxO is an online multiplayer role
playing game and Monolith has stuck to the confines
of the genre to a fault, and unfortunately the lack
of innovation in execution is the games biggest detractor
overall. Players raised on EverQuest and other popular
online rpgs will probably have little to no trouble
understanding what to do and how to do it, however
since the license has such widespread appeal, MxO
will be likely pandering to a crowd that may not have
the experience with the interface or the rules of
the genre. For newbies, MxO will require a steep learning
curve that some - I'm willing to bet - won't bother
sticking around and learning to see what the pay off
is. And I can't say that I blame them. However, the
game's one saving grace, it's one true innovation
which ALL MMORPG's should incorporate, just might
entice them into learning the ropes. And that innovation
happens to be the advent of major Matrix characters
jacking in and adding new gameplay scenarios from
time to time. Will you be at your job when Morpheus
appears to hand down some critical information? Will
you be around when Trinity shows up to kick ass? Will
you be around when Neo pokes his head in and says
"Whoa!"? You won't want to miss that, so
jacking into MxO becomes all that more appealing and
you've got to admit, that's a pretty damn cool idea
that Monolith tossed in. You definitely won't want
to hear that the Oracle stopped by to talk to your
friends and dropped a new mission in their lap. That
would be a very bad thing.
enhancement has always been at the root of RPGs and
MxO is no different. MxO features an impressive array
of various skills that any player can learn and upgrade.
At the beginning you'll only be able to "upload"
a limited amount of the abilities to yourself (outside
the Matrix) such as hacker, martial arts expert, shooter
etc. While in theory this sounds great because you'll
be able to get your own little online gang of experts
and run around solving Matrix crimes like a virtual
Scooby Doo and friends, it will rarely work out this
way, for the simplest of reasons: Everyone wants to
be a fighter, somersaulting around and shooting things.
It's the Matrix. Who had more fun in the movies? Neo
or the guy who was stuck outside the Matrix hacking
the system? Don't even answer that. Monolith allows
you to change pretty much on the fly when you need
to, but it's doubtful you'll find many players who
will bend to your whims and do what you say, in essence
treating you like Morpheus. Unless you strong arm
your little bro, chances are everyone will be kung
fu fighting in MxO whether you like it or not. The
kicker is that to truly achieve king fu mastery, you'll
need to clock in around 30 hours of experience before
you are even given the opportunity.
fighting engine isn't quite as smooth as I was hoping
for, Called the "interlock" system, two
players will square off in combat which becomes hinged
on a simple roll of the die to gain the upperhand.
This system, based on the pen and paper RPGs of old,
allows players of varying abilities a chance at least
when facing opponents stronger than them, but it doesn't
exactly excite. When more than two players are involved,
just like you've seen in Hong Kong martial art movies,
the others will wait patiently on the sidelines until
they get a turn to try and kick your ass. If you're
fighting in a team, you'll often come across roving
gangs of thugs which means your entire party will
be able to go at it - causing some incredible graphical
glitches and slowdown that will disappoint as much
as it entertains.
in MxO start off exciting and you'll find yourselves
bursting with enthusiasm as you are instructed to
make your way to a particular destination, deal with
resistance and retreive the artifact you're looking
for. After awhile this enthusiasm will give way to
boredom, even after you're leaping between building
roofs to get there. Players who manage to stick with
the game and overlook the various cracks in the foundation
will find various other places to spend their time
such as dance clubs where you can dance (???) and
other areas where you can engage in combat with others
outside of MegaCity. While that may entice others
to continue fighting the good fight as some of you
can't resist a "special area" others will
have hung up their trenchcoats long before this point.
daddy just dropped scads of cash on the latest Alien
Ware PC system - and I'm talking as early as yesterday
- fully expect MxO to perform semi-adequately on your
Pentium 4, 2.5 Ghz with 512 RAM over your broadband
connection. This game demands perfection in your PC
and you had better pray to whomever that yours will
run this game. Perhaps, better to ask The Oracle if
you see her. It's a RAM hog and the more you can throw
down its throat, the better. Even then you'll probably
need to dumb down the details.
you've been waiting since the moment you heard of
the The Matrix Online, you'll either be incredibly
happy with the result or suicidal at the execution.
There is absolutely no way I can predict how you will
interpret the sum of all the parts in MxO. I can tell
you that the I found the concept fantastic, the gameplay
mildly entertaining, the interface unintuitive, the
visuals hit and miss and the combat system somewhat
uninspiring. There are some viable concepts at work
here, but they will ultimately require a heap of technological
advances in terms of hardware and connection speed
to be fully realized. Aside from a couple of hooks,
such as the random appearances of major characters
playing in realtime, you might find once you jack
out of the Matrix, you suck down a big blue pill and
go back to playing City Of Heroes.
received info regarding the combat configuration of
TMO and knew that you'd want to see it. Also included
below are new screens.
VS. PLAYER DUELING
The Dueling System allows individual characters to
challenge other players to one-on-one combat inside
of the game.
inside of the Matrix will have access to a duel ability!
Players will be allowed to challenge each other to
mortal combat nearly anywhere inside of the game.
This functionality is currently scheduled to go live
in the beta very soon! Read below to find out more
details about how the duel functionality will operate.
DUEL AS CONFLICT RESOLUTION
"You have stained my honor, I demand satisfaction!"
duel is a tradition as old as humankind itself. In
basic terms, a duel is a directed or accepted combat
challenge that is used to redress or answer a given
or implied insult to one's faction or individual honor.
Duels are most commonly fought out between members
of the same faction. While the practice of dueling
is often romanticized in literature, a duel is, in
truth, very dangerous - and often ends in death.
"Morpheus Challenges You to a Duel to the Death!
Do you Accept?"
player can begin a duel by simply targeting an ally
and typing "/duel" in the chat window. The
target will then receive a special dialog window informing
him or her that they have been publicly challenged
to a duel. At that point they will have a brief period
of time (in seconds) to accept, refuse, or simply
ignore the duel challenge. If the player accepts the
Challenge, then combat begins immediately.
COMBAT PROCESS OF THE DUEL
"Prepare to Die!"
combat begins, and the two foes are dueling, both
duelers are forced to target each other. The duel
will continue until:
dueler surrenders, by typing "/duel stop"
in their chat.
dueler is killed in the match by their challenger.
dueler is killed by another, or outside forces.
dueler runs away and gets out of the designated
a dueler surrenders, or is killed by his or her
opponent, a chat message is broadcast to all others
in the area describing the shameful defeat!
RESTRICTIONS AND REQUIREMENTS
"The duelist is disciplined but also unpredictable"
begin a duel:
parties must be players.
must be allies.
cannot be on a mission team (even a team of 1).
cannot be in combat.
must be able to "see" each other on their
clients. They must both be in each other's relevancy
cannot be involved in an ongoing duel or be considering
another challenge to a duel.
may only target each other.
Players cannot be invited onto a mission team.
Stay tuned for future PVP revelations as the beta
VS. TEAM DUELING
The second type of PvP action inside The Matrix Online
is a variation of the single character Dueling System:
the team vs. team Dueling System. The team vs. team
Dueling System allows groups of up to eight players
to challenge an opposing group of players to team
vs. team combat.
Team vs. Team system will closely resemble the player
vs. player PvP dueling system.
having experienced Enter The Matrix were at odds -
some thought the game captured the essence of the
series while others thought it lacked vision and inspiration.
The Matrix Online, a PC only online game in which
everyone will be jacked into this incredible "universe"is
set for release in 2004. When compared to what online
role playing games have been offereing gamers over
the last few years, MxO is an attempt to shake up
traditional beliefs. MxO won't be a slow paced RPG
complete with turn based combat, but will attempt
to enhance interaction during battle with the Interlock
following explanation is courtesy of Ubisoft] Interlock
is a system of choreographed animations that are created
together as a pair. Interlock allows characters in
the Matrix game to enact intricate combat scenes.
As characters battle, they can block, punch, kick,
dodge, and shoot. Combinations and other more complicated
"bullet time" maneuvers are all possible.
allows us to depict visually interesting and dynamic
combat encounters without needing complex inputs from
the player. Every very few seconds, the player may
provide inputs including target selection and tactical
setting. This is important because typical "twitch"
style fighting games are simply not possible over
typical Internet connections.
tactical setting is a three-button interface that
enables a player to choose one of three settings:
power, speed or defense. The setting determines what
kind of maneuvers a character will perform, based
on the list available to that character. For example,
when set to Power, the character will perform high-risk
but very lethal maneuvers. On Defense, the character
will try to block or dodge, waiting until attacked
and only then strike with reversals and other aikido-like
maneuvers. There are scores of different maneuvers
characters can perform and some are only unlocked
when certain ability levels are achieved.
the Interlock system has selected which maneuvers
each character will perform, the combat exchange takes
place. Several values are compared, and a final outcome
for that combat exchange is determined. Specific values
will include the characters' respective ability levels
and the tactical settings selected. Keep in mind that
all of this computation happens instantly and does
not stop the flow of the action. Players see a smooth,
continuous exchange of attacks and counterattacks,
not stilted turn-based gameplay.
inlcusion into the mythology of the Mx0 are the ability
codes. These are the programs that Neo or others could
download into their brains and instantly learn martial
arts or other interests.
characters are initially limited in their capacity
for abilities. Characters start out only able to contain
a limited number of beginner abilities. But as your
character advances, so does their capacity for abilities!
all abilities are created equal. Some abilities require
several prerequisite abilities before they can be
loaded into your character's memory. The more difficult
and specialized the ability, the more requirements
the Ability Code will have.
and mastering abilities will be a key activity in
the game, but it's just one small part of what will
make The Matrix Online a unique gaming experience.
So please visit the forums and contribute your thoughts
and opinions on this and any other subject you have
2004, the Matrix will become a reality as gamers everywhere
log into The Matrix Online to continue the saga of
the Matrix movie trilogy.
of The Matrix Online (Mx0) will inhabit an enormous
urban sprawl, which spreads for miles in all directions.
There are subways, nightclubs, skyscrapers, and dark
alleys that all seem normal on the surface, but beneath
this pedestrian exterior, a secret war is being waged
for the survival of humanity and machine alike. Here,
you and many operatives like yourself, will determine
who shall inherit the earth.
of weapons and dramatic martial arts maneuvers that
capture the "wire fu" Matrix experience.
Use devastating special moves and sneak attacks
including breath-taking bullet-time effects that
are intelligently generated based on player moves
lines by the creators of The Matrix continue the
Matrix story where the movie trilogy leaves off
and provide you with deep insight into the world
of the Matrix.
Matrix Online will engage you with special events,
missions, and monthly story cinematics, all of which
effect the action in the game.
full Rich World cityscape environment with traffic,
living neighborhoods and breathtaking skylines that
immerse players in the most authentic Matrix MegaCity
ever created (Using RichWorld technology).
robust mission system designed for maximum re-playability
and depth. Players receive missions from familiar
organizations in the Matrix, such as Zion and the
"Matrix style" clothing and character
customization options allow players to live a virtual
life that reflects the fashion of the Matrix movies.
create, or trade Matrix "ability code"
that provides incredible knowledge and skill to
your character. Unlike other massively multiplayer
games, ability code can be swapped out and exchanged
like trading cards, providing unprecedented flexibility
in the development of a character.
can tap into sources of "information"
in the game to create or steal code fragments. Code
can be used to create both special Matrix items
and special abilities.
Dev: Monolith Ent.
Release: Mar 2005
Players: 1- 8 (net)
Review by Vaughn
(OUT OF 5)