When Chair Entertainment released Shadow Complex in 2009, it served as an adoring homage to Super Metroid and Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, reminding us that those classic trappings were still relevant in a modern age. Seven years later, and without a proper sequel to its name, Shadow Complex Remastered once again exemplifies just how sturdy this framework can be.
All of the elements that made Shadow Complex such a beloved hit have stood the test of time. Exploring the Restoration mega-structure's many nooks, paired with a constant upgrade cycle that opens up more of the map, makes for a thoroughly engrossing gameplay loop. The sense of empowerment as Jason turns from vulnerable prey to a supersuit-wielding agent of destruction is the kind of satisfaction that only comes out of hours of incremental progress. Even little, blatantly borrowed elements from Super Metroid like the graph-paper map carry a classic charm.
This is a Remastered version, though, and in that respect, Shadow Complex Remastered is lacking. It has updated the engine and upgraded the visuals, but those modifications are slight. The white sheen on pieces of armor looks nicer than it did before, but characters' faces still look sunken and off-putting. Their eyes, in particular, appear to have been pushed a little too deep into a clay model. All of this was passable in the middling days of the last generation, but now it's simply jarring.
Aside from that, the Remastered version is content-light. It holds the base game, along with its Proving Grounds challenges and a few new Master Challenges, but that's all. As is often the problem with reviving such recent games, it simply doesn't pack enough new content to draw back veterans. This problem is componded on Xbox One thanks to its backwards compatability. I had the original version sitting in my library long before receiving the Remastered version for review, and aside from the visual tweaks the two are nearly identical.
All that said, Shadow Complex is a game that demands experiencing at least once. While those who played through multiple times and unlocked every secret the first go-round might not be especially compelled to do it again with such bare-bones revisions, it's a perfect vehicle for first-timers. If you haven't played Shadow Complex before, it's absolutely worth armoring up now.
This review is based on an Xbox One download code provided by the publisher. Shadow Complex Remastered is available on Windows PC, and will be available on Xbox One this week. The game is rated T.
Shadow Complex Remastered
- The core of Shadow Complex is still excellent
- Visual upgrades look particularly nice on armor
- A lack of new content for Remastered version
- Faces still look sunken and strange