04 February 2010
Shadow Complex - XBLA
Downloadable content is a hallmark of this console generation. Some critics say the proliferation of game add-ons and arcade titles is picking the pockets of gamers. I'm not one of those critics. No one is holding a gun to your head demanding you buy that Gears of War armor for your avatar.
The truth is this console generation has featured the best gaming bargains of all time. What began with The Orange Box continued in The Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena. Shadow Complex is a downloadable game that offers more thrills than many recent full releases. Anyone who has ever spent $60 for 7 hours of gaming (I'm looking at you Wolverine) will happily drop $15 on this excellent title.
The game clocks in at about 7 hours, depending on how thorough you are. After that you will likely start over from the beginning to see how quickly you can beat the game. There's also a Proving Ground option that offers timed challenges. That's a lot of gaming for a little price.
The side-scrolling shooter (think Metroid) honors the old-school style of gameplay while offering a truly next-gen presentation. The graphics are first class. The level design is excellent. The gameplay - save for some slight targeting issues – is rock solid. It's no surprise that Epic Games has released yet another excellent title for the Xbox 360 - they're made for each other. What is surprising is how much quality is packed into this little download. You start with only a flashlight and a pistol, but you'll be a cyborg killing machine by the end of the game. The weapons are ingenious and fun, but they don't overshadow the exploration angle. Your flashlight will reveal tons of secret passageways, weapons and gadgets.
You'll have a hard time putting this title down. I've got a stack of games I'm trying to get through right now but I put them all aside when I downloaded "Shadow Complex." There's something to be said for a rock solid game that offers players a decent story and an end in sight. I am reminded of the old days when you would be rewarded for finishing a game with the simple satisfaction of knowing you did it. "Shadow Complex" is such a game. It will not bore you. It will challenge you. And, once you beat it, you'll probably come back again.
By Victor Paul Alvarez