I bought Shadow Complex last Wednesday and I haven’t been able to put it down since.  If I’ve been hard to reach this past week, well the truth is out…. I’ve been glued to my TV trying to find all the upgrades, gold bars and passkeys.  Shadow Complex is easily one of the best XBL games I have ever played. Its establishes itself as a AAA, “Must Have” title along with Braid & Geometry wars.

If pacing is key, then Shadow Complex is the Key Master
The game is extremely well paced and balanced.  The game does a great job of mixing exploration and combat.  One moment you could be crawling through a dark cave and the next moment you could be engaged in an insane firefight with Restoration Army members. Needless to say but Shadow Complex never has a dull moment.  Once you load up the game it is really hard to stop.  The incremental improvements to your armor and weapons are very addictive and the ’save rooms” are so frequent that you often find yourself saying, “I’ll stop after the next save room”.  Funny thing is one rarely STOPS after reach the save room.  The curiosity of what’s in the next room always manages to keep you playing for just a little bit longer.

Got something to Prove?
Shadow Complex also has a separate mode called “Proving Grounds”.  This mode reminds me of Metal Gear Solid VR missions for the PS1.  This area features a separate play mode where you must get to a finishing zone with specific tasks you must accomplish.  One specific missions is called “RUN PLAYA RUN” and focuses on the ‘Inertial Damper Run Ability”.  This is a refreshing addition to the game and I commend Chair for adding in this extra content.  With the mission based structure of “Proving Grounds” and the amazing success that Shadow Complex has seen I can easily see more DLC for this area of the game.

Worth the Price of admission - $15
Another reason why Shadow Complex is an amazing game is because of the value that CHair Entertainment has packed into this game.  A full epic campaign, “Proving Grounds” and a LOT of replay value.  I would’ve easily paid $20 for this game but was surprised when it was announced at $15.  From the opening scenes you can obviously tell the production values for this game were very high.  It is definitely worth $15.  That’s like 2 McDonalds Value Meals….

Its the finer details in life
Everything said its the finer details that really made me love Shadow Complex.  Being able to carefully aim a headshot with your laser sight and  blasting him, while simultaneously seeing your headshot counter go up… “Priceless”.   Punting a little bomba machine into an enemy soldier and getting the “Make them Scream achievement”… Beautiful.   Seeing Jason swimming like a dolphin through water will shooting at enemies… Amazing.  Performing a classic Double Jumping over a rocket welding soldier and then HULK smashing his face with your fist? ..Fun times.  The attention to detail and the level of polish in the game is very high.  The animation is pristine and the game definitely lives up to the hype.

….shhh, don’t ruin the SECRETS!

During my first run through the game I found these strange items called “Gold bars” and “Passkeys”.  They seemingly do nothing as you collect them but halfway through the game you realized that collecting all 12 of each will unlock a “Secret”.  What’s the secret?  well my friend, you will have to get the game to find out…. but let me say, the “secret” was worth collecting all those items.

Despite being an awesome game, I still wish that the game had a few more features.

Multiplayer modes?
Imagine thwarting the Restoration with a close friend by your side?  It would’ve been cool if Claire could actually run around and shoot as well.  I can definitely see a lot of COOP opportunities for a title like this.  None of the Metroids or Castlevavnias have EVER incorporated a COOP campaign and I defintely think this can and should be done.  For example, It would be cool if Claire had a foam gun and assisted Jason in that manner…

Multiple Save slots

Chair dropped the ball on this one.  1 save slot?   In an age of hard drives I found this to be appalling.  Hopefully they can patch this.  I wanted to have 1 save slot for my 100% item/map, 1 slot for my 4% insurgent run and possibly an extra slot for my 1 hour speed run… ?  Does that sound fair?

less than EPIC Story

The full campaign takes less than 8 hours.  I got 100% map/item completion and I clocked myself around 7 hours.  Granted I’m a pretty good gamer, but it still felt short.  Castlevania: Symphony of the night is a game that had a long and satisfying “campaign”.  Chair made a huge deal on how the story was based on Orson Scott Card’s the empire and how Peter David wrote the script but I didn’t feel to drawn into the story.  In fact I was expected a stand alone section in the game that I could read but I was sadly disappointed.  They have terminals throughout the game and I was excited when I got to my first terminal because I thought it was shed some light on the story.  Unfortunately these info nodes just revealed a part of the map.   I can sum up the whole story in 1 sentence, ready?  “Jason Bailey stumbles upon a high tech rebel army while trying to woo a girl, and in the processes of saving her he thwarts the ARMY and saves the day by stealing their weapons.”  DONE.

Everything considered Shadow Complex is a master piece and not only sets a new precedent for XBL titles but also for future Metroidvania titles.  So Chair when can we expect some DLC or “Shadow Complex 2: The Empire Strikes Back”??