From Wales Interactive, Red and Black films, Good Gate Media and Little Jade Productions comes a unique completely live action interactive sci-fi thriller. The Complex.
Now you may know of the widely popular and appraised episode of Black Mirror called ‘Bandersnatch’. In that episode you have the power to choose the outcome of the story through interactive choice options. However, this is not a Netflix show. Wales interactive are no strangers to this form of interactive live action films. Their last game the BAFTA award-winning ‘The Late Shift’ allowed you to take control of the main characters choices and craft a story with different outcomes and endings.
So what makes ‘The Complex’ different from ‘The Late Shift’ and Netflix’s ‘Bandersnatch’? Let’s take a look.
The story begins in the war torn country of Kindar. You are introduced to the main character of Dr. Amy Tennant. You are treating two patients Talos and Dima who have been infected by a chemical attack. Here you face your first few choices. You can either be compassionate to your patients questions or honest. The next choice is a tough one. Who do you save?
Now for an opening this sets the tone of the story immediately and teaches you the simplistic game mechanics straight away. Now I don’t want to ruin the story in anyway because it’s something you will want to experience first-hand. So here’s a synopsis from Wales Interactive.
“After a major bio-weapon attack on London, two scientists find themselves in a locked-down laboratory with time, and air, running out. With choose-your-own-adventure style gameplay, your actions and your relationship with other characters will lead you to one of eight suspenseful endings. Having treated the victims of a chemical attack in the totalitarian state of Kindar, Dr Amy Tenant (Michelle Mylett) is a leader in the advancement of Nanocell Technology. Now, in London, news breaks of a blood-vomiting civilian whose identity is far from coincidental. Reunited with an old friend, Amy is trapped in an impenetrable HQ of laboratories—a womb of scientific advancement with a perilous secret.”
Now what sets this game apart from its predecessor ‘The Late Shift’ is the new additions to its game play. Yes ‘The Complex’ and ‘The Late Shift’ both follow a simple choice option to open up new scenes. Yet underneath, the choices you make in ‘The Complex’ have meaning. First off is Relationship tracking. Throughout the game you will meet and interact with a cast of characters. Depending on the choices you make during these interactions will either strengthen or weaken your relationship with them. Your relationship scores are calculated from the start of the game right through to the end, impacting on scenarios that take place, even having major consequences on the games ending scenes. To put it bluntly, every choice you make matters. Which is absolutely fantastic. My first playthrough I made choices that are completely different to my 10th. By having this system in the game it really helps the player to connect to the characters. Making you care. Which in turn reels you in more and more into the story, making you want to play the game over and over again. Which is good as it has replay value.
The second new addition is personality tracking. From the stats menu you can see a breakdown of Amy’s current personality. But what does this mean? Well. Every decision you make and every interaction, your characters personality is being tracked. So when it comes to the end of the game you are rewarded with your playthroughs personality trait. There are five personalities in total. Openness, Conscientiousness, Extraversion, Agreeableness and Neuroticism. After my first playthrough my character was classed as Neurotic. That was down to the honest choices I made. Again this system made me want to playthrough the game again, changing the choices I made every step of the way.
The Complex is a visual delight. The film making here is to be commended. In the past games that have attempted this style of live action gameplay have come out looking cheap as if you filmed it with your next door neighbors video camera. (Sorry The X-files game) But here the game is very cinematic. From the lighting, Editing, Cinematography and it’s colour grading, you can tell the love that was put into this production is conveyed immensely on screen.
Now there was a slight issue in terms of the sound for this game. Not a big issue, it was easily fixable, however I would have imagined this to have been fine-tuned before release. This is to do with the sound mix peaking a lot throughout the game. During my first playthrough the sound coming out of my speakers almost sounded distorted due to the sound mix over peaking, and that was with my Tv’s volume turned low. The easy fix to this (and I recommend you do this before you playthrough) is to go onto the games settings, go to the volume adjuster and bring it down from 100% to 45%. Doing this little fix stops the audio mix from peaking and allows you to enjoy the game in full.
The game features a great cast of characters. From the Main character of Amy Tennant, the humorous and intelligent Reese Wakefield, to the CEO Natalie Kensington. Each character adds something to the mix. Yet the best thing about this game and what really sells it to me (above the story and the stellar soundtrack) is the outstanding performances from the lead actors. Michelle Mylett, Al Weaver, Kate Dickie and Kim Adis. They really brought their charters to life in their portrayal. Even the supporting cast deserve an applause.
Overall, ‘The Complex’ was a delight to play. I was a massive fan of ‘The Late Shift’ and was excited for what Wales interactive had in store. The Complex’s compelling story, innovative gameplay and brilliant performances really added to that perfect mix of escapism that we all really need right now. Mix that with the joy of discovering 9 endings and 196 scenes to find and you are in for an enjoyable time.
I’m happy to give ‘The Complex’ a perfect 10/10. It’s been a long time since I have enjoyed playing though a game which has kept me coming back for more. Wales interactive, I look forward to what you have in store in the future.
For now though. Please stay at home. Play Games. And Stay safe.
This review is based on the Xbox One Version of the game.
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The Complex is an interactive sci-fi thriller movie, coming to PC, Mac, PS4, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch 31st March 2020.
Product Currency: GBP
Product Price: 9.99