The original Shadow Complex is a 2.5D platform-adventure game that became an Xbox 360 cult classic thanks to its fast-paced, exploration-heavy gameplay. Now, the title has received the remaster treatment, which gives the beloved game updated graphics, new hard-hitting contextual melee attacks, and Master Challenges. The PC game's plot and voice acting don't quite match the rest of the stellar package, but if you can overlook those ills, you'll find an excellent title that's well worth the $14.99 price. I reviewed Shadow Complex Remastered on PC, but it's also available on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.
Compare Similar ProductsCompare
Overwatch (for PC)%displayPrice%
Mojang Crown and Council (for PC)%displayPrice%
Doom (for PC)%displayPrice%
Need for Speed (for PC)%displayPrice%
Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare 2 (for PC)%displayPrice%
Deathsmiles (for PC)%displayPrice%
Superhot (for PC)%displayPrice%
Gears of War: Ultimate Edition (for PC)%displayPrice%
Lame Plot, Great Action
Shadow Complex Remastered follows Jason Flemming and his girlfriend Claire, who stumble upon a massive underground complex while rock climbing. After Claire's captured and mistaken for a spy, Jason makes it his mission to find Claire and discover the kidnapping faction's villainous motivations. The Peter David–penned story is lackluster, and the voice acting drags it down even further. In fact, after playing the game for a couple hours, I found myself caring less about the characters after each cut scene. Thankfully, Shadow Complex Remastered's gameplay more than makes up for its poorly executed narrative.
As is typical of a Metroidvania-style platformer, Shadow Complex Remastered tasks you with exploring the vast enemy complex, discovering new weapons and equipment, and backtracking to use those items in previously inaccessible areas. You have a map at your disposal and a hub in certain sectors to keep it updated. Despite sharing several core similarities with other Metroidvania-style titles, Shadow Complex Remastered boasts two unique gameplay elements: One is its 2.5D approach to gameplay, which lets you shoot enemies in the background; the other is your character's nimbleness on the ground and in the air.
Aiming and shooting with a mouse or a controller's right analog stick (as opposed to shooting with the trigger buttons in most shooters) makes combat reminiscent of old run-and-gun games like Contra or Metal Slug 3. On the topic of combat, Shadow Complex Remastered has melee attacks, too, which is unusual for the genre. Melee attacks change according to your activity. If you're running or dropping from above, your attack will be a swift punch combo or a flying kick, respectively. If you're hanging from a ledge, you'll grab an enemy's foot and pull the foe to his death. Melee attacks are a good way to keep surrounding enemies from noticing your presence and firing their weapons. Plus, it's just fun as hell. Moreover, discovering different scenarios to catch baddies off guard becomes addicting.
Baddies & Weaponry
Guns and other weapons can be used to blast open doors or structures that impede your progress. These structures are distinguished by color when your flashlight shines on them and can only be damaged if the appropriate weapon is in your possession and fired. For example, guns destroy orange objects and grenades dispatch green blockades. These weapons are found as your explore the complex.
Equipment is used to broaden your physicality through armor, the ability to grapple edges, or greater jumping ability. The more equipment you find, the more brisk the gameplay becomes. For example, once Jason acquires the jetpack, he can quickly hover though giant corridors, covering much more ground than running. Your gun is replaced each time you find a new one and increases either in range, firing speed, or clip size. You cycle through a pistol, submachine gun, fully automatic and other weapons, but they don't dramatically alter the gameplay. Unfortunately, new weapons replace the old, which means you never have a massive weapons cache to pick and choose from.
There are also pick-ups that increase the amount of ammo that you can carry, as well as others that increase your accuracy, precision, and stamina. It's greatly rewarding to find secret pick-ups when backtracking through previously cleared areas with a new weapon.
The enemy combatants include grunts with automatic weaponry and beefed up baddies with mini-guns that are relatively easy to take out. The only difference between the soldier types is the number of bullets that it takes to bring them down. However, when they attack in packs, which is frequently, they become a problem. Sometimes you can shoot an object in the environment, such as a gas canister, to take out entire sections of enemies, or you can throw a grenade at an unsuspecting cluster of them and watch them panic before they explode.
Boss battles take the shape of giant death machines that require a bit of puzzle-solving to emerge victorious. For example, you may have to shoot objects in the environment to inflict boss damage or progress through stages of the battle. The second encounter with the WSA2 Tarantula mech is a boss battle that requires both. You must shoot water valves to raise the water level in the room, which forces the mech to progress up the corridor to avoid malfunctioning. Boss battles become more fun and over-the-top as you progress through the game.
Master Challenges keep you busy after finishing the 10-plus hour campaign. It features situational levels where goals are set and must be accomplished in a timely fashion. High scores are earned and displayed on the leaderboards to compete with other scorers around the world.
Graphics, Specs, and New Features
Shadow Complex Remastered retains the beauty of the original. Outside environments are lush, and the complex's high-scaled rooms showcase detailed chrome machinery and high-end technology. In addition, the character models and graphics are noticeably more detailed and colorful in this remaster compared with the original release.
Even better, the game runs at 60 frames per second, outputs to 4K resolution, and features anisotropic filtering, as well as anti-aliasing options. The recommended system requirements specify a i5 CPU, Nvidia GeForce GT540 GPU, and 4GB of RAM. I played the game on high settings using an Nvidia GeForce GTX 960 and the gameplay was smooth.
Relive the Cult Classic
Although the story and voice acting won't hold your attention, Shadow Complex Remastered's tight, fast-paced action definitely will. The vast amount of upgrades found throughout the complex make revisiting areas to use them quite rewarding. If you missed out on this cult classic from the former console generation, Shadow Complex Remastered is the best way to play the game.