I’m not that much of a fan of remasters. The uncharted games are among my favourite ps3 games but I have no interest in buying them again for the ps4. They may look better and run smoother on a more powerful hardware but the games looked and ran amazing on its original console so I don’t have the need to double dip on that.
It’s different for games that didn’t look so hot back in the day because of hardware limitations, and the fact that they usually come in some interesting bundles is a pretty neat deal but, if something is going to sell me into buying a remaster, is not owning the original game. And that’s exactly the case of Shadow Complex. A game I didn’t have the chance to play for being a 360 exclusive but now I did.
Shadow Complex: Remastered is an updated version of the original 2009’s xbox exclusive Shadow Complex. The game is a 2.5 D metroidvania kind of action platformer.
The game will have you infiltrating into a secret (mostly underground) military base, shooting down mercenaries and a varied kind of different sci-fi weaponry. Like all metroidvanias, the game has a clear enphasis on exploration. The world is branched up nicely and the game offers plenty of rewards to those who take their time to divert from the usual path, mostly in the shape of weapon and health upgrades.
Also, as the game advances, your character will come up with new gear that will let him open certain doors or blow up certain rocks. Opening new ways for your character and making the traversal of the game’s world more varied and free.
The game’s 2.5 D approach will have you stuck moving on a 2D plain but the game fully embraces its 3D rendering by having the enemies using full use of the depth in the environments. Sometimes they’ll be far away in the background but your character will automatically aim at them if you point on their vertical location with the right stick. It’s not the most intuitive system but it gives the shoot-outs a more dynamic look.
In Shadow Complex you’ll be playing as the Nathan Drake impersonator, Jason Fleming. The son of a military man as he spends his weekend backpacking with his girlfriend in the mountains. Soon they’ll encounter some caverns and deeper in them, a strange underground complex manned by numerous mercenaries with high-end technology. The girlfriend gets unsurprisingly kidnapped and its your duty to save her.
It may sound like a very old-fashioned premise and it certainly is. Along the way the story will get into some twists and turns but even those are pretty predictable.
The game’s visuals aren’t something to brag about. They look crisp and clean but the polygonal count on the enemies and the environment are certainly of a last gen indie title. It doesn’t help either that the artistic designs feel a little generic. The game does run smoothly though.
As for the sound department, the game’s music is pretty good. Nothing too out of the ordinary but very fitting with the rest of the game.
Things I liked
- Tight Controls: Your character controls are as responsive as they get. Along the game you’ll be getting new abilities and weapons and each one is well implemented into the gameplay so you’ll never feel like you’re fighting with the controls.
- Level Design: A vital portion in a metroidvania game. The way the environment is connected with all the different paths and secrets scattered within the world is really good.
- 3D integration: This was mentioned already some lines earlier. The way the levels were designed so that you could traverse it all in 2D while giving the spaces a 3D depth is very well done. You’ll see enemies patrolling deeper in the background and if they see you they’ll trigger a shoot out in which they’ll take position. The way the aiming is implemented into this system certainly isn’t flawless but it makes the shootings more interesting.
Things I didn’t
- Story: The story’s premise was very silly, something you’d expect from a game from the 80’s and that would have been good for a tongue-in-cheek kind of approach but that’s not what you’ll get in Shadow Complex. The story is predictable and not very interesting at all.
- Animations: They look pretty dated. There isn’t the kind of blending between them like you see on more recent games, instead your character seems to snap from action to action like a robot. It does help the responsiveness of the controls though and I’d certainly take that over animations that look fluid but controls like ass. Even then, it still makes the game look a little cheap.
Who’d like this?
The game certainly feels like a 2009 game but a great game nonetheless. Shadow Complex really nails the most important aspects of the genre it plays in so, even if certain things could be improved, the overall experience is still worth playing. I would recommend it to any metroidvania fans.
<If you want to get a glimpse of the game in action, you can check it right here>