Shadow Complex Remastered Review
Welcome to our CHEATfactor Game Review of Shadow Complex Remastered. We review the game and then factor in how the available cheats affect the overall game experience. For better or worse, our reviews will help you decide whether or not to use cheats when playing the game.
Epic Games and Chair Entertainment's classic Shadow Complex never really get's the recognition it deserves. Back in 2009 Shadow Complex was a surprise hit and the indie game to get for Microsoft's new(ish) console. But believe it or not, 2009 was a long time ago, would everything that made Shadow Complex great back then still make it a must play after all this time? Unquestionably yes. Shadow Complex Remastered channels everything that made the original great into a nice new package and what's better, it's absolutely free on PC for right now so there's practically no reason to not enjoy one of my favorite games ever this winter.
For the uninitiated, Shadow Complex is a metroid-vania style game that follows the story of Jason Flemming and his girlfriend Claire, who decides that it's a great idea to go exploring a series of mysterious caves the two discover. Spoiler alert: It's not, and Claire goes missing, forcing Jason to go deep into the underground military complex hidden inside the cave to find her. It's a simple plot really but it serves it's purpose in getting you into the complex and thus the meat of the game with little delay. To be fair, there were at least a few interesting story twists but don't expect them to be the main reason you're here, or you stay here.
No, that honor goes to just how well Shadow Complex recreates that Metroid action style. Shadow Complex moves at an almost blistering pace thanks to the writing of Orson Scott Card but the developers have handled it quite well. Moving from room to room with a great sense of fluidity feels just as great as it ever did here, and there's never a shortage of things to do. Do you follow the main story quest or go off the beaten path looking for new gear and weapons? Much was made upon Shadow Complex's initial release of the giant glowing blue arrow that always points you in the right direction. Does it hold player's hands a bit more than your average game? Sure, but if you're playing Shadow Complex right you're deviating from where the game wants you to go and exploring hidden rooms and pathways. Shadow Complex does this so well that I often that by following the main path I was more than likely always missing something.
What doesn't work in Remastered though is essentially the same thing that hasn't worked since the game's initial release, and they're really problems that have been prevalent in the genre for quite some time. Shadow Complex may move quickly but it's remarkably repetitive, facing off with the same enemy and boss types over and over again. Clear a room, solve a puzzle...move on and repeat. Shadow Complex's action is done remarkably well and clearing out a crowded room is still as rewarding as it ever was but if you're playing on a marathon session you can find yourself getting into a rhythm and forgetting where you are, an issue when the game's map only shows you where you have been and doesn't show you rooms you haven't explored yet, meaning you can easily get turned around and lost.
In terms of visuals, Shadow Complex Remastered luckily stands with some of the better remasters in recent years, getting a nice cleanup job. It still retains the look of the original, and you can tell that this is a game that originally came out just short of ten-years ago but it could have aged a lot worse and we've seen a lot of remasters that don't even look like they've been touched. I enjoyed the slightly dated visuals as it brought me back to playing the original. Also, it's got me excited to play the eventual sequel..hey, a guy can dream can't he?
It also has to be said that you may run into a number of problems installing the game, at least for now. You'll likely have to install it from the Epic Games client and to say it's not user friendly seems to be putting it lightly. Just searching the internet leads to a slew of problems that people have been experiencing since the game released including downloading the game but having no real way to launch it or just not being able to run the game at all. I did run in to some of these issues upon installing the game but Epic Games also has some workarounds on their website and have pushed more than a few updates to the game since it's launch, making it a lot easier to run.
I've been waiting for a Shadow Complex sequel since I completed the original game for the first time and while I may have to wait even more for that, the Shadow Complex remaster will more than satisfy my appetite for a good metroid-vania style action game. It may not change the opinion of anyone who didn't like the original but Shadow Complex Remastered is more than worth the free price of admission.
Joe started off writing about video games for small fan sites when he realized he should probably do something with his communications degree and didn't want to get into the grind of daily reporting. Joining the team in late 2008, Joe is the featured game reviewer for Cheat Happens, producing up to 10 CHEATfactor Game Reviews per month.
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