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  • Writer's pictureJonathan Ribarro

The Complex: Found Footage


At A Glance

  • Released: 8/18/22

  • Reviews: 7242, net very positive, as of 12/2023

  • English Reviews: 4495

  • Localized in: english

  • Had Publisher: no

  • Majority of reviews:

  • English ~62% 

  • Simp. Chinese ~9%

  •  Russian ~8%

  • Price: free

  • Review report

  • Negatives:  optimization issues for lower end devices, could possibly give motion sickness, some people weren’t scared/didn’t feel like anything else was present with them, 

  • Positives:   Seems like having no entity directly present made the game a better experience to explore, lighting was excellent, doesn’t rely on jumpscares, excellent atmosphere and uncanny environment, horror in the game gives you a deeper level of dread as opposed to others, 



Gameplay

  • Zoom functionality, sprinting, crouching, and walking

  • An elevator is at the far end of one of the areas that looks like a suburban house basement and takes you to an empty pool area

  • I was worried the elevator didn't do anything because there was no way to interact with it

  • Another elevator in the pool area leads somewhere else

  • Elevators are the level changers

Music

  •  Creepy song starts playing when entering some kind of gymnasium or dance studio

  • Low droning noise in the pool area


Sounds

  • Sounds are muffled as if coming through a bodycam or some kind of microphone, different but pleasant

  • Can hear the low humming of the lights overhead and stomping all over the rugs

  • Water sloshes when walking through it

  • Sounds sort of like someone playing with water in a bathtub

Art

  • A small VHS filter is on the screen, everything is realistic

  • There is a slight camera shake whenever standing still or moving, adds to the realism (seriously, consider camera shaking at every single point in future games)

  • Lens smudges add to the realism

  • Subtle differences in the world indicate areas the player should explore, or at least areas that are different from the normal dimly-lit moist carpet areas

  • Area with a white box in the corner is confusing, but liminally appropriate 

  • After walking through so many areas that look the same any geometry that looks even slightly off is fascinating

  • Crouching animation isn’t straightforward, less fluid and matches more closely to how one would move in real life

  • There are areas with differently colored lights that may serve to guide the player in a certain direction

  • A dance studio or large open area with wooden floors

  • There is an area that has an elevator which leads to open pools, like a sauna or spa

  • Second elevator leads to what appears to be an old musty hotel

  • New elevator leads to concrete area that appears to lead outside, bugs chirping and nighttime


UI

  • Options text is a little out of place, too clean, doesn’t match the theme well

Writing

  • The player falls into the Backrooms, warps in?

  • At the very end, the camcorder falls out of the Backrooms and the player is presumed trapped

Scare Factor

  • Very quiet and lonely, based on past iterations of the Backrooms you may be expecting jumpscares so your guard is always up

  • One of the areas changes into a place with tile walls, I feel like I’ve had a nightmare about it once

  • Walked for a long while and eventually looped the entire place back to the starting point

  • At the end of the hallway there appeared to be a circular shape that moved out of view, then subtle breathing begins

  • A radio can be heard nearby in the hotel area, first contact with something like this

  • Radio led to an elevator

  • Inside the radio elevator there was a metallic knocking once the door closed and it started moving

  • After the knocking the door slowly opened to a dark room full of chairs, really scared me because I didn’t know what to expect

  • Subtle breathing returned after exiting radio elevator, back in normal Backrooms

  • Breathing gets louder the deeper we go

  • Saw some wires? moving in the air in a maze-like structure, disappeared out of sight

  • Neighborhood is illuminated by red warning light and subtle breathing has returned

  • Music turns warped and more complex the further down into one house we go

  • Im leaving, too scary

  • The final elevator drops after not stopping correctly on the floor

Extra

  • Made with Unreal

  • The Backrooms already has a cult following outside of the game universes, and it seems like people are really hungry for these liminal space-exploring games where there may or may not be an unimaginable cosmic horror lurking around

  • On a personal note, I’d be very interested to know if this was procedural generation or all made by hand

Overall

  • Absolutely terrifying, even with 0 jumpscares and very few direct sightings of the creature

  • Reminded me of the worst nightmares I ever had

  • Taking place in deep, dark places where no one else was and where something far worse than a human was lurking

  • If this was done by hand then it was a large undertaking because everything is positioned so oddly

  • As always I feel the game should’ve been localized into other languages, especially because of how little text there was in the game

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