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The Matrix Online: Too Little, Too Late?

Genre: It’s Not That Bad Matrix MMOG Publisher: Sega Developer: Monolith Platform: PC Metacritic Metascore: 69

I always thought that The Matrix Online, solely from a marketing perspective, was a day late and a dollar short. The reason is because it was released in March 2005, well after the new films were released. The second and third Matrix films were, for a lot of people, letdowns of Jar-Jar Binks–ian proportions, so it took some of the edge off the hype for the Matrix games. Marketing is all about timing, particularly with a licensed product and by the time The Matrix Online shipped, public interest had faded.

It doesn’t help that the genre is simply bloated to the point of absurdity right now (with many superior titles). Regardless, if you are a big-time fan of the Matrix, you should note that I think the 69 Metascore is way too low (and why I mention it here at all). The game has improved a lot since its release as patches and upgrades have improved the experience considerably, but I think you still need to be a Matrix-head to get the most out of it, and it’s a fair question to ask: How many of them are left?

Matrix Online Q&A

Here’s a quick (admittedly tongue-in-cheek) FAQ to help get you acquainted with the world of The Matrix Online before diving in.

Q: I want to be Neo! Can I be Neo?

Q: I want to fly like Neo.

Q: I want to be The One, like Neo.

Q: I want to drive a car.

Q: I want to be an Agent like Mr. Smith.

Q: I want to go to Zion and get funky like in the movie.

A: No, No, No, "see p. 218" (don’t make me smack you), No, No, and No (thank God).

Q: Is there player versus player combat?

A: Sort of, but it is limited to dueling (both must agree to fight) and not outright stalking as in some other games. However, there is also something called OvO combat, which stands for organization versus organization. If you log in to a "hostile" server, when you reach level 16, you’re officially open to attack by rival organizations.

Q: Is there a role-playing server like in World of Warcraft?

A: As of this writing, the only "unofficial" role-playing server is Linenoise. If you choose to play on that server, you are expected to play in a very Matrix-y sort of way and always try to stay in character. That means no shouting that you just got back from Ozzfest.

Q: Why should I bother with MxO? I’m not made of loot, ya know.

A: Two things: The combat is pretty darn cool and the world events help to continue the Matrix saga as characters from the movies, as well as new characters, continue the story, with you potentially playing a role.

Although published by Sega, Warner Brothers and Sony Online Entertainment (SOE) picked up the rights from Monolith to operate The Matrix Online.

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