Thursday, March 8, 2007

Matrix Online Newb Review

Welp, I downloaded the Matrix Online and tried it out yesterday, and I did the Storyline Missions for Zion until I ran out of 'em, and I got to level 9, so here's my Newbie Yard Review.

Its a lot like City of Heroes, to start out with, except everybody is a Matrix Guy with machine guns and kungfu moves and techno lightshow powers and leather jackets, and not a Super Hero.

And there's loot everywhere, not just on the corpses, you go through the mission areas and poke around in people's houses and rob their safes and desks and file cabinets for loot.

And the combat system is slower paced, because its all these body throws and stuff and you have to wait till the last round is finished before you can try to execute something else.

I ran all over the city, and I only lagged a couple times, so its not a super laggy engine or anything, I mean, it seems like it runs way smoother than the ground game in SWG, and only a little less smooth than the way I remember CoH (which was pretty damn liquidy) but I think it feels laggier than it is, 'cause its got a system where you run faster in increments when you level up your attributes or get magic shoes that add five percent to your run speed or use bullet time powers or whatever, so you don't start out at full speed, y'know, and even though that's not necessarily bad, 'cause I can see how it makes chases in pvp more interesting, it does make you feel kinda like yer being smothered if yer a Quake Guy that's used to Ice Skating around.

All in all it was pretty damn cool and not sucky and buggy on any technical engine level like I thought it was gonna be, the graphics are cool and the city looks realistic with rain and fog and stuff, and its not horribly awkward or anything, there's a lot of configution stuff that lets you change the way you control your character, so you can set it to be mostly like Quake and EQ, or mostly like Shadowbane where you click to move, or whatever.

One of the bad things is that I couldn't get it to recognize the fourth and fifth mouse buttons, and I'm kinda used to using those, so that sorta sucks, but it wasn't using the mousewheel button for anything, so I made that my autorun for now, even though I hate using that damn mousewheel button 'cause I got one of those fancy mice that let you move it right and left and it just creeps me out heh.

Anyway, the coolest thing about the game is their advancement system.

Each character has a giant library of programs he can load to configure himself for different things, but you have a limited amount of memory for loaded programs that increases as you level, and you start out with a minimal set of programs.

And you can either buy or craft your own new programs to add to your library and fill it out.

Program crafting is its own branch of your Library, so when I want to make programs to add to my library (after decompiling worthless loot from the Matrix), I have to go to a phone booth and unload all my fighting stuff and then load all my programming stuff, to make the best use of my limited memory.

And then, after I'm done making new programs for fighting or whatever, I unload all my program crafting programs and load up all my fighting stuff, including the new stuff.

The Programming branch of the library has a bunch of stuff that can be used in combat, too, its got Pets, where you summon a digital machine gun guy or a karate guy to fight at your side, but its hard to do that AND be really far down the martial arts or firearms branches at the same time, with your limited amount of memory, so you sorta have to pick and choose and specialize a little (although its not like the pve is so hard that you are forced to do that).

Still, it doesn't cost anything to switch your guy around at a phone booth, and the more you play, the more you fill out all the trees with new programs, there's no limit to how much you can do that aside from having the supplies and money and pre-requisite programs, so you are free to play around with all sorts of crap like Spy Powers and Martial Arts while you fill out your Library of Potential Stuff You Could Do, its pretty frickin' cool, and it helps keep it from getting boring.

And its got cool loot too, machine pistols and cowboy hats and gym shoes and sunglasses with all sorts of combat bonuses, and you can make all that junk with crafting too, although I didn't bother with any of that, I never even looked at their auction house, y'know, my guy looks like a baggy pants fisherman vagrant with a stocking cap, a fat white sweater, and bum-gloves, and that's good enough for me.

The people that play the game were pretty cool to me, but that's what you'd expect in a low population game, y'know.

Oh, and I like the combat, even total noobs get to headbutt dudes to death and roundhouse kick the bad guys in the nuts and do body throws and stuff ahaha.

The interlock thing can be a little frustrating though, 'cause once two guys lock on each other, if you are the third guy, yer sorta stuck hanging back and firing your guns into the fight, and if you aren't loaded out for gun-fighting that's kinda sucky, although there's moves to break interlock and stuff that I ain't any good at using 'cause who the hell is gonna use that junk on their first day when they run around soloing heh.

The missions are all in the format of the movies, where you are a Special Agent guy inside the Matrix, talking to an Operator in a spaceship in the Real World who gives you missions and mission updates, y'know, like Rescue the Red Pills or escort wounded agents to Hardline Telephones so they can escape the Martix and stuff, its pretty cool, but then again, the movie was a lot like a good video game with a bunch of missions, so it sorta all fits together pretty well.

Even the character creation and tutorial missions is heavy on the cinematic Matrix stuff, where some dude is targeting your dude to pull him out of the matrix, and then they're teaching you combat in a Construct, and then the Oracle gives you a cookie, the whole nine yards, man.

Anyways its a lot more complex than CoH, but it still feels a lot like a Matrix version of CoH, so its all good.

I can see how you'd get bored of the game once you tried out all the super powers and combat moves and stuff, though, 'cause there ain't really anything to do after that 'cept mess with the other players or something I guess, but seems like I'm levelling slow as hell and there's tons of shit I wanna try so it definitely seems like its gonna be worth the twenty bucks, man.

I definitely don't think the Super Jump in the Matrix is gonna be as good and smooth as the Super Jump in CoH, 'cause the Regular Jump is horrible to control, but its got a lot more depth in other places to make up for it, y'know, like loot and that cool Program Library Advancement and Reconfiguration Thingie, and its got the Nintendo Wrestling feel, that's fer sure heh.

Ex-bouncer can't really play games where you spend all your time hurtling through the air and smashing into stuff 'cause he's got that motion sickness thingie anyways.