The Complex is an interactive sci-fi thriller movie from the publishers of Late Shift and The Bunker. After a major bio-weapon attack on London, two scientists find themselves in a locked-down laboratory with time, and air, running out. Your actions and your relationship with other characters will lead you to one of eight suspenseful endings.
So let’s go down the list of what makes The Complex compelling: phenomenal cast, complicated characters, a deep and rather dark narrative. No, it’s not a traditional game. No, it’s not a traditional film. But when it comes to interactive films, it’s a very solid effort worth several playthroughs to discover what you may have missed the first time. The developer even makes it easy to play again, offering a skip button for subsequent plays. There are some components that seem unnecessary, and some settings that could be improved upon, but The Complex is absolutely a game I will recommend again and again.
If you’re okay with having minimal interaction, enjoy making tough decisions, and love an interesting narrative, The Complex is certainly an experience to add to your list. If, however, you enjoy a game that will keep you engaged for hours, a little more hands-on or are looking for something that offers up a meatier narrative, this may not be your cup of tea. At its current price point though, this single-player title is more than worth the money.
Is The Complex worth it? It’s really hard to say. It’s not exactly an expensive buy at £9.99, and the addition of choices make it more engaging than a television episode or movie. At the end of the day, it’s basically a £10 movie rental with some button prompts added in. The best way to play it would be with a group of friends watching together, so you can argue over the choices and go for the path that feels best for you. Otherwise, there are better games and better movies available for the same cost.
The Complex feels like a moderately entertaining super-low budget science fiction film – the first time. After that, it becomes apparent that the “interactive” part of this interactive film is just fluff, until the very end. At that point, the game slams you into an ending that feels a bit unearned. The Complex is a fun enough way to spend an evening with family or friends, but don’t expect any longevity out of it.
Given the setup – clueless white scientist comes to terms with the consequences of her groundbreaking research – The Complex is a particularly vanilla flavor of dystopia that fails to inspire. These are uncomfortable tropes we’ve seen before, especially when it comes to expendable minorities and the guilt-ridden white people fretting over them. Even without the COVID-19 pandemic living rent-free in our brains, The Complex – despite its noble efforts – ends up feeling rather flat.
Credit to Michelle Mylett and Al Weaver (who play Amy and Rees, respectively) for serving what material they’re given here, credit too to Wales Interactive for supporting the FMV genre still. But the pull of multiple branching endings (technically) as well as a shallow relationship mechanic mark The Complex down as, while not terrible, a safe, sterile and sadly under-utilized effort.
There’s a place for FMV games like The Complex, but this effort is both poorly written and performed. You’ll tire of the cast long before you reach the release’s credits, and while the title does include various branches in its story, it generally feels like you’re on autopilot for the most part. If you’re desperate for a live action experience, the PS4 already has much better alternatives to this.