The Matrix Online Gets Plugged In
Warner Bros.' November release is the new reality

When the whole object is to question reality, can the end of The Matrix: Revolutions really be an ending? That's the spirit driving The Matrix Online (MxO), slated to be released to computer gamers this November from Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment and Sega of America.

The massively multiplayer online role-playing game developed by Monolith Productions (No One Lives Forever, TRON 2.0) takes place directly after the events in The Matrix: Revolutions motion picture from last year. Conceived as a fourth installment, the MxO story line comes from the series' creators, the Wachowski brothers.

The MxO world is an immersive cityscape environment with traffic, living neighborhoods, and stunning skylines. With the promise that player actions will have a significant effect on the game world and its evolving story line, MxO features a robust mission structure. In the game, there is an uneasy competitive balance between the humans, machines, and rogue programs (Merovingians), and players can go their own way or serve the interests of one of these factions through missions.

If a player acquires sufficient knowledge and a good enough reputation, his or her character can become a captain and can then form a crew with access to its own hovercraft. Possession of a hovercraft opens up new character features and abilities, plus the opportunity to form factions (guilds) with other crews.

The series' signature martial arts fighting elements will make up a large part of the action in MxO. Using the Interlock system, players can manage and choreograph their own fighting moves. By honing their techniques, players can develop specialized combinations and movements. And at critical junctures of a fight, bullet-time slow motion kicks in for added dramatic effect. For folks looking for a little insurance in combat, dozens of weapon types will be on hand.

Characters in MxO are also highly customizable in form and costuming. In addition, different ability-code sets can be assembled and downloaded prior to missions. Ability codes are either found or created, and they can be traded between players. Players can tap into sources of information during gameplay to create or steal code fragments. Code can be used to create rare Matrix items and special abilities. And clothing options aren't just for show--different clothing choices permit specific augmentations.

Players who are not combat driven can craft (program) Matrix code. Since the entire environment is essentially software, nearly every weapon, ability, or clothing item can be coded if the correct resources and ability levels are present.

So for those gamers who think they can create a better Matrix than the Wachowski brothers, MxO is their opportunity.

BY GEORGE T. CHRONIS



 
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