Shadow Complex Review(XBLA)

Posted: May 9, 2013 in Reviews
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Shadow Complex is a side scroller that puts you in the role of Jason Fleming, the typical average man about to attempt to stop a terrorist group. After his girlfriend leads him to their facility, she gets kidnapped and they both over time figure out the reason for the facility. The story is not very memorable and gets over-shadowed by the gameplay. The game will put you through many vents, rooms, sections, caves and bodies of water, all in search of weapons and gear to help him along on his way, and where the story fails, the cool upgrades and weapons make up for it.

There are many upgrades and collectables, the collectables are scattered in many locations, making back-tracking a must. The collectables found throughout will increase, health, armor, grenade count, and increases the ammo for the foam and missles, plus there are gold bars and passkeys to be found. Shadow Complex gameplay and upgrades are reminiscent of the original Metroid games, and that in itself is pretty cool. Each time a weapon is found, it is the only weapon that can be used, it’s a good thing the weapons get better as you go, and there is unlimited ammo for every gun.

The plot in the game is pretty generic, as Jason Fleming it’ll be up to you to stop a terrorist group from attacking America, and that’s about all that needs to be said. The voice acting is not that great either, at times it can be very spotty, a good story and decent voice acting would have made for an even better game. That being said each cut-scene can be skipped, for a later playthrough it’s a nice option to have. One good thing about the cut-scenes are the way they look, the graphics in the game are pretty good, some texture issues, but the game looks great overall.

The action is good, as you search through sections you’ll come across many armored enemies, some have shields and a large weapon, and you’ll fight many mechs as well. Not all enemies are intelligent, most seem to be generally unaware of their surroundings, you can throw a grenade at some enemies, and the guy on the scaffolding above won’t even flinch when it explodes, plus the enemies will just stand there starring at the grenade as it blows them up. Besides being unaware of their surroundings, they stand in one spot a lot during the action, allowing you to pick them off one by one. Killing enemies and mechs earns experience, there are 50 character levels and it can take quite a while to reach. Each level gained will either improve accuracy, precision or stamina, giving the game even more replay value.

One of the big problems is with the camera, the sections are large and there is no ability to adjust the camera. The camera problems will lead to the enemies being able to see you before they are even remotely close to being in view, and falling into groups of enemies because you can’t see what is below you. The stuck camera is also annoying because you can take damage from enemies you have no idea are even there, which wouldn’t be so bad if there was health regeneration. Enemies will also be in the background, and that has it’s own problems, mainly trying to hit those guys, sometimes the aimer will go for a box or a barrel beside you instead, but eventually it will snap to the enemy. Besides that aiming issue, the laser on the front of the gun can be hard to see when outside, and in certain sections of the facility.

There is no New Game+, but the 50 character levels will take a while to achieve, even if you find all the collectables. Each playthrough you keep your character level and some stats, but that’s about it, going through sections better than the last, can be rewarding however when it comes to experience points. There is also 4 difficulty levels to play through, Casual, Normal, Hardcore and Insane, if you need another reason to keep playing.

Overall, Shadow Complex is a very solid game, it has a decent length to it and replay value. The Metroid style gameplay is pretty cool, and the upgrades are very useful and fun to find. The game can be repetitive at times, generic story, the takedowns all look the same, and the enemies are not always the most intelligent, but the game is decent overall. If you are looking for a solid side-scroller, don’t care about the story, and enjoy decent action, this game is for you. It’s a good option if you have 1200 MS Points to spend.

Overall Score 8.5/10

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