Review – The Complex

I reviewed a little “interactive movie” in 2018 called Late Shift by Wales Interactive. While being a good movie in its own right, with decent acting and an interesting plot, it had very limited gameplay. It reminded me a lot of old interactive FMV titles for the Sega CD and 3DO. It was a step above something like Wurroom however, as the limited gameplay featured in Late Shift felt impactful towards the entire progression of the film. Wales Interactive is back at it once again with a very similar title, but instead of a crime drama, they’re bringing us a sci-fi thriller, The Complex.

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Do you want a Metal Gear plot? Because that’s how you get a Metal Gear plot!

I’ll talk about the “gameplay” right away because, once again, that is not exactly The Complex‘s main focus. This is yet another interactive movie, in which you basically watch live action cutscenes and occasionally decide between one of two outcomes in order to progress with the plot. Thus, all my previous complaints regarding Late Shift‘s limited interactivity and issues regarding its replayability are valid in here once more. Watching the movie is the main focus in here. Choosing between scenario A and scenario B is a secondary focus. I need to point out, however, that the developers and the writers behind The Complex have managed to come up with more interesting branching paths that affected the plot in much more effective ways than those in Late Shift.

With that being said, it’s time to stop being a game reviewer for a second and pretend I’m a film critic for once. There’s no other way to tackle The Complex than by analyzing how good of a movie it is. I wonder if this review can be added to Rotten Tomatoes?

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This is the complex. Notice how they forgot to erase the building’s actual name during post-processing?

The Complex takes place in a near-future version of London, in which a big pharmaceutical company called Kensington is about to unveil a revolutionary nanocell-based technology that will allow people to have their tissue regrown automatically. Basically allowing humanity to travel to other planets without the need of a doctor. The technology is the brainchild of one doctor Amy Tenant, portrayed by the Mila Kunis doppelganger, Michelle Mylett. One of the company’s interns gets infected with a prototype batch of said tech, starts convulsing and literally crying blood inside a Tube train, and is transported to the titular Complex for further investigation. Amy is then dispatched alongside a former colleague (a really unfunny comic relief, by the way) to the same place, and a ton of conspiracies, betrayals, and even a few action scenes ensue.

As a movie itself, The Complex is better acted than Late Shift. It sounds a lot better as well, with some decent ADR and even a clever usage of complete lack of sound in one particular scene. It does look sharper as well, not only because the sets are well-built and somewhat colorful without ever looking cheesy, but also because you can clearly notice that the filmmakers had access to fancier cameras. This is both a blessing and a curse, as the sharper images are more pleasing to the eyes, but they also contrast poorly with the low budget CGI effects that are scattered throughout the movie. There are a few instances in which you’ll see some larger drones flying through the sky, and they look like PS1 vehicles in front of a real person. At the very least, the filmmakers used a convicing real-life prop when the vehicle was landed. Some green screen effects ended up looking like the flying scenes from the older Superman movies.

I also need to point out that The Complex‘s setting is way too coincidental with the current events happening around the world at the time of writing. A good chunk of the setup revolves around the scare of a pandemic and a person being held in quarantine, which is a scary coincidence when we’re all currently inside our homes due to the Covoid-19 crisis. I am fully aware this statement will mean little in a year or so, but I felt it was important to point out.

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Going out for groceries during a pandemic.

My thoughts regarding The Complex are very similar to the ones I had regarding Late Shift. Although better than its predecessor when it comes to its production values, setting, and overall plot, it still suffers from its limited gameplay and replayability. It’s an interactive movie, not a full-fledged video game per se. It’s good for one, maybe two playthroughs. Were this a title on Gamepass, I could easily recommend playing it at least once, but actually purchasing it right now for its current pricetag would be like buying a Blu-ray and only watching it once. It’s a good movie, just not a very rewatchable one, even with its multiple endings.

 

Graphics: 8.5

The quality of the cameras used in this movie is much better than the ones used in Late Shift. The environments are more colorful and varied. The only problem lies on the quality of the special effects.

Gameplay: 6.5

The gameplay still revolves around choosing between two options in order to progress through the story, but the improved script meant that the choices I made felt more impactful.

Sound: 9.0

It features better overall sound effects and ADR than Late Shift had. Not having a ton of narration also helped in this case. Some of the actors deliver great performances, while others, including the protagonist, can often sound a bit too amateurish.

Fun Factor: 6.0

The Complex is a much more interesting movie than Late Shift, but it still faces the same issues regarding replayability, abrupt editing, and limited gameplay.

Final Verdict: 7.0

The Complex is available now on PS4, Xbox One, PC and Switch.

Reviewed on Switch.

A copy of The Complex was provided by the publisher.