So the other day, like most people who bought Shadow Complex last Wednesday, I beat Shadow Complex. No, I don't have 100% or all the achievements but I'm pretty damn close. A few of the hidden things are kind of frustrating, but I kind of like how the frustration of having to explore the whole map is reduced to almost nothing once you have all the upgrades for your suit.
That final little cutscene is embarassingly awful, though. I thought about posting in regards to the ongoing controversy over the game's links to author Orson Scott Card and his political views, but I think many other bloggers here have said things about the issue far more eloquent than I. I will say this to those who haven't played Shadow Complex: regardless of your opinions on Card, it is important to note that the game itself is virtually devoid of politics. While the villains are the radical left-wing "Progressive Restoration" from Card's novel Empire, all of the significance of that is totally removed from the game, even the term "progressive", which makes me wonder why they bothered with linking the game to Empire in the first place. For me, personally, this is a good thing since I hate OSC's writing, but for those expecting something of a side-story to the novel, it isn't.
Putting all of that aside, though:
Like most people I was disappointed that the game was so short, but I also kind of expected it since it was an XBLA game. PROTIP: For those of you who enjoyed SC but have never played Castlevania: Symphony Of The Night, do yourself a favor and immediately buy it from the arcade marketplace. You will not regret it. (at least, I don't think you will, and if you do, you can draw a picture of me and throw darts at it for recommending it. Yes, I know you don't know what I look like, just be creative. I have dark brown hair, just be accurate to that)
So, I had my interest piqued in Wolfenstein since everything I had heard about it sounded cool and despite everyone bitching about the multiplayer, I didn't care since I enjoy well-made single-player FPS games moreso than the multiplayer aspect.
Long story short: GET THIS GAME. Wolfenstein kicks all kinds of ass. It's a very well crafted, well developed, super intense shooter that is probably one of the best single-player focused FPS titles I've played since Bioshock. It isn't perfect, but it's pretty damn close. It's been awhile since I have played an FPS where it felt like the developers spent weeks or months working on each level trying to make it as intense and involving as possible, not to mention atmospheric. (for example, the Farmhouse mission which is one of the first missions you can take after the initial intro portions of the game) It rejects being a "realistic" WWII shooter, obviously, in favor of taking the classic route of giving the Nazis supernatural powers and all sorts of crazy stuff, and it just makes the whole experience better. The decision to not have a traditional health system also really streamlines the pace of the game, while still making it challenging.
Most mainstream reviews have bemoaned the fact that the multiplayer doesn't live up to the expectations of fans of Enemy Territory, and that alone seems to be getting the game lower than normal scores, ignoring just how solid and focused the single player is. I'm also puzzled by some of the mainstream reviews saying things like the game gives you the "illusion" of free roam, when it isn't. While, yes, Wolfenstein may not be as free roam as something like, say, Far Cry 2, fact is you still have options as you play. At any one time you have a choice between at least two missions (Sometimes three) and if you don't want to involve yourself in one of those, you can always kill some time looking for secrets in the city or going back into previously played missions to get all the gold and secrets you can. It may not be "Free roam" on a gigantic scale, but certainly it's nowhere near as linear as the average FPS. I think this game is not getting a particularly fair shake in the media, and Raven deserves a lot of credit for coming back to this franchise and trying something a little different rather than just a generic, bland FPS designed solely to cater to multiplayer gamers. So, I LIKES IT and there's a good chance that you might too if you're not already playing it.
My only gripe so far is the weird loading glitches when entering some of the interior locations like shops and safehouses. Many people are reporting problems with this and also crashes. I haven't had it crash, but on occasion the game will freeze for about 5-8 seconds when you go into certain locations, then keep going. There's already been one patch, presumably to fix online issues, but hopefully this will be addressed in a future patch. read