Grab the jaw-dropping Matrix Awakens tech demo before it’s delisted this week
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If you’ve wanted to experience the impressive visuals in The Matrix Awakens: An Unreal Engine 5 Experience and haven’t downloaded it yet, you’ll want to act fast — according to Unreal Engine’s website, it’ll be removed from the PlayStation and Xbox stores on Saturday, July 9th. After that date you’ll still be able to play and download it, but only if you added it to your library before the cutoff.

The Matrix Awakens, released in December 2021 for the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series S / X, is meant to act as a tech demo showing off the “power and potential” of Epic’s next-generation graphics engine, with its ray traced lighting and “metahumans.” It features digital replicas of Keanu Reeves and Carrie-Anne Moss, a car chase turret sequence, and a digital city that you can explore.

Image of a virtual Neo and Trinity from the Matrix, driving in a car wearing sunglasses.

Is it real, or an illusion? The answer is not as hard to figure out as the demo’s site implies it is.
Screenshot by Umar Shakir / The Verge

The main reason to play it is to see the graphics that Unreal Engine 5 is capable of generating in real time while running on the latest consoles. You can read my colleague Sean Hollister’s full write-up of the experience to get into the nitty-gritty of how well the visuals hold up, but here’s my TL;DR review: the Neo and Trinity models had moments of being convincing, until they don’t, and the explosions wouldn’t have been particularly impressive in an early PS4 game, but the virtual cityscape looked jaw-droppingly real to my eye. The experience, which takes up around 25GB of space on my PS5, also has some neat tricks that let you peek behind the curtains to see what the engine is doing underneath.

Epic didn’t immediately respond to The Verge’s request for comment on why it’s removing the demo from stores just a few months after releasing it. If you haven’t managed to get your hands on an Xbox Series console or a PS5, though, there is still some hope — I was able to add The Matrix Awakens to my game library on accounts that didn’t have any consoles linked, which would theoretically let me download it in the future. Again, it’s free, so if you’re at all interested in trying out the experience it’s worth getting it for the Xbox or PlayStation while you still can.

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