Shadow Complex is presented in 2.5D format; the game world is fully three-dimensional, but the player can only move in two dimensions, simulating the environment of a classic side-scrolling video game. Enemies can, however, move in any direction, and auto-aim is utilized to allow the player to fire at nearby enemies or objects both inside and outside of the 2D plane. The player can use the right control stick to aim with a laser sight. Gameplay in Shadow Complex was inspired by Super Metroid and Castlevania: Symphony of the Night. The gameplay takes many cues from Metroid: the player can move freely throughout the expansive game world, defeating enemies with a variety of weapons, and as they overcome challenges, they gain new abilities and weapons which allow them to reach new areas.
The game rewards the player with experience points as they complete objectives and defeat enemies. The player can gain experience levels, each level boosting basic attributes of the character. These experience levels grant the player skills such as improved gunfire precision or damage resistance. Special rewards such as revealing the full map and unlimited special ammo are granted at specific levels. When the player starts a new game, they will lose all the weapons and items that they have acquired, but will keep the character's experience level and any benefits they have already received from that experience.
In addition to the main campaign, a number of challenge levels, called "Proving Grounds", are available, generally requiring the player to make it to the exit of a room using a limited set of items and health. Players are ranked based on time of completion and any scoring objectives when they complete the level. Scores and other statistics from the main campaign and the training group are tracked via online leaderboards.
A remastered version and port was announced during the 215 Game Awards, to be released for PS4, Xbox One, PC.

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metroidvania for the call of duty crowd

One of the games that popularized the portmanteau "Metroidvania". Has exploration, equipment, backtracking, it's well made and still fun to play.

Revisiting this after 10+ years was a pretty weird experience, but a fun one overall. For a lot of the runtime I was thinking it was just okay, movement was nothing to write home about and the combat is pretty basic aside from the 2.5D aiming mechanics, but it really gets fun towards the end with all of the powerups you get. Your superpowered state in the end game is one of the best in the genre, up there with Super Metroid. Then the game just kind of ends abruptly, with a lackluster boss fight (as most of the bosses in the game are). That kind of killed my motivation to get 100%, which I was on board for with how fun it had gotten over the last hour or so. I think the pacing of powerups here could have been a lot better if it was more gradual and they gave you some of these upgrades earlier, and the game could have been a bit longer than it is. It's a shame they never made a second one of these because it's a really solid foundation.

A real cool dude Metroidvania with very satisfying combat where every shot felt like it counted. With the twin stick shooting style controls for the aiming it feels really natural to pop off enemies, especially with how it can target enemies in the background seamlessly. There's a good variety of both mobility upgrades and weapons you find in the titular complex which keep things interesting. The game is very polished and very slick, super enjoyable throughout. <3

a really fun 2.5d metroidvania that had a fun story with a likable nolan north protagonist

Finally, a really good XBLA game is finally out after waiting for what seemed like forever. Most people have dubbed Shadow Complex as a cross between Metroid, Contra, and Castlevania, but that isn’t true at all. Shadow Complex has its own unique take on the Metroid formula but perfects it. Yeah, I said it. Metroid gets very tiresome with the same upgrades in every game, the same labyrinthine levels, and a not so interesting story. Sure Samus is hot, but that doesn’t make Metroid feel the same with every iteration.
Shadow Complex has a not so complex story where you, Jason Flemming (yeah some name for a hero), goes out hiking with your new girlfriend when suddenly strange soldiers attack. They are a group called the Progressive Restoration and hope to change the world with the mind of some freaking weird. While the story isn’t anything special it’s the gameplay that is.
The game, first off, uses a flashlight system that is very interesting. Different blockades can only be destroyed with different weapons i.e. orange is bullets, red is missiles, purple is the foam gun, green is grenades etc. Some parts of the levels will really stump you unless you whip out your trusty torch and shit it around the room. Forget what color is for what weapon? No problem since you can pause the game and look it up in the weapon description screen.
Speaking of weapons Shadow Complex has some great ones. My personal favorite is the foam gun which allows you to stun enemies and get behind them or over them. Slowly throughout the game, you will also upgrade your machine gun to an eventual killer shotgun during the last part of the game. The game also shows some pretty cool enemies with giant mechs you have to fight, but the regular soldiers tend to be pretty generic.
When it comes to level design the game does kind of copy Metroid with the squared off map system, but it’s better. When you pause the game you get a blue line that shows you where to go and all you have to do is follow the squares and figure out how to get through each room. Not only are there weapons to get, but upgrades for your armor to get through levels. You get a jetpack, super boots (as I like to call them), a dampener which allows you to run at super speed. These upgrades are fun to use and essential to get through the game.
The puzzles in the game are really not that hard to figure out since most of the game relies on destroying parts of the environment with your weapons and finding these with your flashlight. Sure you have levels to pull, crawling through ducts, riding elevators, but it’s nothing that’ll make you scratch your head. I do need to mention the shooting mechanics however since you rotate your stick in a 360-degree manner and just point in a direction of an enemy (foreground or background) which is kind of weird at first, but you will get used to it.
When it comes to a show-stopping graphical showcase Shadow Complex has it using the Unreal Engine 3 should I say more? It’s great running around in a 2/3D world than hopping on a turret and shooting in full 3D. Shadow Complex is also the biggest XBLA game coming in at almost 900 MB. The audio is great with good voice acting, and great sound and music. I highly recommend this game to platform fans, shooter fans, and anyone looking for a well-spent $15. If you get bored with the single player go into the Challenge Grounds and test your skills against many challenges.