Saturday, August 22, 2009

Our Shadows have a complex | Shadow Complex Review

I've been tossing around several ideas in my head on how to best approach this review. So I've decided to write it for two separate audiences. The first, for anyone who's ever played Super Metroid (SNES) and/or Castlevania: Symphony of the Night (or it's many Nintendo DS brethren). The second, for those that have had no experience with those other titles, as a majority of them are well over 10 years old.

To those of you who've played Super Metroid and SOTN, Shadow Complex is the modern-day version of those games. Complete with 3D environments, high-def graphics, and 5.1 surround sound, but with the old-school 2D side-scrolling gameplay. This has been touted across the industry and other blogs since E3. It's this simple review that if you have played those, and enjoyed them, you will greatly enjoy this title.

But I'm not satisfied as just writing this off as a "if you like x, you will like y" review, no - I must give as much as I can do those who're not familiar with those titles, or those that may have forgotten the allure, the satisfaction of exploring the vast levels that make up the whole. Shadow Complex comes from Chair Entertainment, who recently were acquired by EPIC Games, and who've already had one success on Xbox LIVE with "Undertow" back in 2007. Powered by the incredible, but oft-used Unreal Engine 3, Shadow Complex is a richly detailed action adventure with more than 10 hours of gameplay rivaling that of most full retail titles. Set in the world of Orson Scott Card's bestselling novel, "Empire", you "fall into" discovering an underground base while searching for your girlfriend, (whom you've just met by the way).

Honestly, the story is a mild detractor, and likely the ONLY negative tick on this release. It's fairly laughable - but it's not the reason you're playing, and want to keep playing until you get to the grand finale. And while the voice-acting is actually pretty good, I kept getting confused if I was playing Prince of Persia or Uncharted, as the lead character is voiced by Nolan North, a voice who's lent his talent to almost every game I can think of in the past 10 years.

But the game itself is full of action, item-searching, secrets, character level-increasing, etc. It is constantly rewarding you with 17 unique power-ups, and more than 100 additional items and modifiers to discover. The boss fights, are large, and make excellent use of the environment in most cases.

Overall, Mashbuttons gives Shadow Complex a 10 out of 10 (Our first perfect score). You need to play this game.

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