The Matrix Awakens
Hitting the cinema in 1999, The Matrix changed the landscape of action movies. With its groundbreaking visual effects, slick combat sequences, and banging soundtrack, the film resonated with a generation. Whilst the sequels were disappointing, many are looking forward to the fourth entry to the franchise, Matrix Resurrections, which drops later this month. Acting as a hype piece for the upcoming film and a showcase for the Unreal 5 engine, Matrix Awakens is a glimpse into an incredible future.
The tech demo starts with Keanu Reeves speaking to the camera. The close-up camera angle highlights the astounding accuracy of the facial capture. We see the actor instantly de-age, shifting back to Neo from the original release. The quality of this is in line with some of the CGI we experience in movies. This is further heightened as the characters multiply to show the number of character models that can be present on-screen at once.
Rivaling Matrix Reloaded’s Highway Chase
Quickly, the calm switches to a frantic and intense car chase with the agents. Stylish, free-flowing camera work that dives under cars and over bonnets captures the fluid nature of actions scenes synonymous with the franchise. As IO, a new character from Matrix Resurrections, you will then take out cars by shooting the tires. At this point, you will essentially just be holding the trigger and marveling at the glorious visuals on display.
Explosions spew a myriad of particle effects and metallic parts that is seriously impressive. As you vanquish cars and agents, a Matrix-style graphic accompanies the achievement. The signature green code engulfs the defeated characters and pulls them out of the Matrix, which is a perfect way to anchor the demo with the universe,
Following the cinematic car chase, you are free to explore an open world. Whilst there isn’t loads to do, the environment is stunning and gives insight into the future of the medium. The iconic green filter adorns the aesthetics, giving a dystopian feel to the streets. Ray tracing is evident with puddles and buildings reflecting the world, creating jaw-dropping visuals. This is heightened with the ability to enter a free-camera mode to inspect the minor details within. You can also adjust the settings to change the time of day and the aperture of the camera. This alters the atmosphere of the demo and amplifies the various moods that can be easily created.
In addition, you can steal cars and race through the traffic. Putting the pedal to the metal and crashing, damages your car in a realistic manner. The physics in place makes this incredibly satisfying and I can’t wait for it to be implemented in future titles.
Enter the Matrix
The Matrix Awakens tech demo is a short but impressive game that succeeds on various levels. Not only has it made me excited for the upcoming film but it has also successfully introduced a new character. As well as this, the demo clearly shows the power of Unreal Engine 5 with its life-like character models, cinematic sequence, and open world. Will we see more developers working on Unreal Engine 5? If it looks like this, then I hope so.
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