Proves, that DLC games can be really good.

User Rating: 9 | Shadow Complex X360
Microsoft's "Summer of Arcade" is coming to an end and so is the summer sadly, but there's one more game to be released, and that is Shadow Complex, which got a "glitchy" revelation at E3. The game certainly has a lot of promise for a Xbox Live Arcade title, does it keep it's promise, or will it bug out like at E3?

Story
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You play as Jason Fleming, him and his girlfriend Claire are going hiking, however when they explore some caves, they accidentally find a secret base, belonging to an organization called The Restoration. With Claire kidnapped, it's your job to find her, and find out what their up too. Considering the story is actually a prequel to the novel "Empire" and is leading up to "Hidden Empire" (both written by Orson Scott Card) and that the game's story is written by Peter David, who wrote comic books and Star Trek novels, the story is disappointing. There's not a lot of it, there's not enough character development and there's not anything memorable to see. Overall, the story feels rushed and half finished.

5.0

Gameplay
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The gameplay is a 2D shooter, with some 3D parts in it. Generally though, the game is also a platformer, as you have to jump from ledges to ledges, crawl through air ducts and other stuff, in order to advance further into the game. You start out with only a flashlight, but you soon get climbing gear, weapons and special parts of a special armor, which is needed to get too some areas. The game let's you earn experience from exploring areas, finding items and other stuff, while it doesn't really do anything special, it makes things, just a little bit more rewarding.

The whole game takes place in The Restoration base, which is really big. Much like Castlevania, you have a map that slowly becomes visible as you explore new areas, and there are also a lot of secret rooms that contains all kinds of upgrades. Exploring the big base and finding all the secrets is actually fun and very rewarding too. However, it does mean that you have to back track a lot, and with no means of quick transportation to some spots, it means you will get to see some areas more than once.

The game has it's share of problems though. The boss fights are easy, you can just throw grenades at them and you'll quickly be over with them, so they don't provide much of a challenge. The aiming is flawed too. Since the game is a mix of 2D & 3D, enemies will appear in the background, and while you can aim at the people in the background, it does become a bit frustrating to aim there sometimes. In some cases though, it can become a bit frustrating and if you try and aim with grenades, they'll most likely fall through the ground or object.

And there's more, the A.I are just dumb. They'll notice you sometimes, but other times, you can just quietly walk past them without them even shooting at you. Even if you jump behind their bags, after they've noticed you, they might just stand still. Other problems include problems with getting the next object to highlight and maps to appear, but it only happened once.

The single player isn't long. It shouldn't take more than 4 hours, if you just go through the game without looking for secrets. If you want to look for all secrets, expect 6 hours at the most. After the game, there are also Proving Grounds, which is a series of challenges you have to do. For a DLC game, Shadow Complex actually has a lot of value, and it insures that you'll play through the game more than once, and still discover new things.

9.5

Graphics
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The graphics is actually pretty good..... For a DLC, but that still doesn't mean the game ain't beautiful. The backgrounds looks nice, especially the river and the character design is also good. There are minor issues like clipping and one instance of frame-rate drops, but beyond that, this is a beautiful game.

9.0

Sound
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The sounds in the game are standard, so there's nothing special. The music fits the game well and the voice acting is actually pretty good.

9.5

Overall
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If Shadow Complex was released as a retail game, then it probably wouldn't have gotten a great review, but as a DLC, the game is undoubtedly the best so far. With it's beautiful graphics and rewarding gameplay. The small amount of bugs and the story does prevent Shadow Complex from becoming a classic, but the game offers a lot for just $15. It's fun, rewarding and it proves, that DLC games, really can be good.