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Initial Impressions: Shadow Complex
by Tyson Breen

Ever since it was announced at this years E3, Shadow Complex had been high on my list of anticipated games. The promise of a current-gen, Metroid/Castlevania style game by Epic Games, the studio behind Gears of War, had me squirming with excitement. Today, the game launched on the Xbox Live Arcade for 1200 Microsoft Points and I wasted no time downloading it and hoping in to the campaign.

Shadow Complex starts you off, not as the main character, but as a fully upgraded government soldier. After teasing you for a few minutes with the overwhelming power, in true Metroid fashion, you are stripped of all the power-ups and begin playing as the games hero, Jason. Out in the woods with his girlfriend, the couple decide to explore a nearby cave. Upon entering the cave - which turns out to be a large, technologically advanced complex (hence the game's title) - Jason's girlfriend is taken hostage by the occupants of the base. Jason does what any good boyfriend would do and infiltrates the base armed with nothing but a flashlight.

The controls are spot on in Shadow Complex, I found myself easily maneuvering the games areas. The only points so far where the controls have been an issue is when pin-point shooting is required, as the aiming sensitivity seems a little touchy. The game helps slightly with this problem by giving all of your firearms unlimited ammo, making missed shots less of a hindrance.

Like the games that its inspired from, a main component of Shadow Complex is finding secrets. I've been in every corner of the complex, searching for hidden power-ups, and from what I've found so far, it seems as though the designers have done a great job of evenly pacing the amount of unlockables for the player to find. From extra grenades, to health extensions, anyone who enjoys exploring in games should have a blast with Shadow Complex.

Graphically, Shadow Complex is fairly good. While not overly impressive in comparison to some disc-based games, Shadow Complex rises to the top of the pack when looking at other downloadable games. Using Epic's own Unreal Engine 3 technology, the visuals in Shadow Complex will surely not disappoint.

I've only played a few hours of Shadow Complex, but it has already given me the impression that it is a quality product. Even while writing this post I am itching to get my hands on the game again and continue to explore the large world that Epic has created. Expect a full review of Shadow Complex on GGTL in the near future.


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- Tyson Breen

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