Press Start Review: Shadow Complex

Sometimes people use 2.5D as a gimmick… They just want to show off how good their visuals can be, but they don’t take advantage of the different styles of gameplay it can give you, or how it can drastically affect the player’s perception of their surroundings. If you’ve read my review of Deadlight (basedgamer.com/review/2123review/Deadlight) you’ve seen an excellent example of the use of the technique. It can create an air of tension – you can only move right or left, up or down, but the enemies can come in from the SIDES.

MADNESS.

So it is with Shadow Complex Remastered; but instead of creating an air of confusion and fear, it just makes the gun fights that much better. Sure there are dudes coming at you from all sides, but now they pop up in front of the screen and hide behind boxes in the distance and try to snipe you. You can see them walking up and down the hall, and you can try and sneak by them while they’re walking away. Or shoot them in the back of the head. You know – heroic stuff.

The combat on the whole is pretty great, but there are times when I was trying to aim at a guy in front of me, and I suddenly was shooting at someone in the background, because I had the reticle in the wrong place. It’s a metroidvania, so of course you have a variety of weapons at your disposal that you can use to attack enemies or gain access to new areas… and yes, there is a lot of backtracking. The map is really not that large when you think about it, but there are so many doors and passages and what not that you can crisscross (gonna make you jump jump) all over the place and back again. Surprisingly, this only got a bit tedious during the end game when I was trying to collect everything I could before the final confrontation with [REDACTED] when I [NOPE] and then [UH UH] with that rubber nose. That boss battle was weird, seriously.

The storyline is… there. It’s simple, it’s kind of silly, and its only there so you can continue through the game without you just going through an underground complex murdering people for no reason. It’s funny at times, doofy most of the time, and the dialog is pretty… not good. The Vas try their best with it, but some things just aren’t salvageable. Not to say it’s bad. But it’s a Commando (1985) level plot. Generic White Male #54 with a past gets caught up in a thing and randomly has to save the world. This isn’t why we’re here.

We want to run around, collect tools and weapons, open locked doors, find power-ups, and blow stuff the hell up.

And yes, Virginia, there are rocket launchers.

Rating: Stayed up 3 out of 5 hours past bedtime

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