The Complex isn’t billed by Wales Interactive as a game, but as an interactive movie instead. The company has built a reputation for this kind of experience over the last few years, with live action experiences such as The Bunker, Late Shift, The Infectious Madness of Doctor Dekker, and SIMULACRA. Some of those titles have been better received than others, so how does The Complex stand up?
The Complex is a thriller set around a multimillion research company, a military dictatorship, a super-secure lab, and a small team looking to cure a person after a bio-weapon attack on London – perhaps a tiny bit close to the bone considering current world events. Dr Amy Tenent and Dr Rees Wakefield are in a locked lab with Clare to solve this problem, while a wider cast are trying to find a solution from elsewhere. There’s a lot of story beats through this which can lead to eight endings, allowing for plenty of player agency through the story.
Michelle Mylett stars as the lead character Dr Amy Tenent along with Kate Dickie (who you’ll remember as Lysa Arryn from Game of Thrones) as Nathalie Kensington, Al Weaver as Dr Rees Wakefield, Kim Adis as Clare, Rachel Petladwala as Emily, and Okorie Chukwu as Parker Caplani. The Complex has been directed by Paul Raschid with the story overseen by Lynn Renee Maxcy. She’s worked on shows like The Handmaid’s Tale and Covert Affairs. In short, there’s some real talent behind this production.
This is a choose your own adventure style movie where you make choices for Amy to carry out at regular intervals. These could be basic choices like answering a call or not, to much bigger decisions that will affect people’s health. Alongside the choices you make is a relationship tracker that shows how much the other characters like or dislike Amy. These relationships also affect what kind of choices can be made and what scenes become available. Every choice matters when it comes to sustaining these relations, and you are not always going to please everyone.
Something like The Complex lives and dies by the acting and the story, and while there are a few moments that feel a little out of place or could have been delivered better, it’s main cast is very good overall. One moment really sticks out that initially didn’t make sense until put into the context of the whole story. Still, with the amount of choices to be made, there aren’t any real hiccups that will drag you out of the moment.
Each path you can take through the situation makes its way to a conclusion quite well, even if some of those ending come from left field and can seem a bit off for how you’re trying to play Amy’s character. Similarly, there are also a couple of unresolved moments regarding certain characters’ motivations for why they do what they do.
This being more of a movie production than a game, the set design is good and the lab looks like it would belong to a major research company, with some near-future technology thrown in for good measure. There are times where CGI is used and it’s noticeable for how it stands out compared to the real world set.
Of course, this is still a game in its own way, and part of the appeal could be in replaying it to uncover the different endings. Thankfully you don’t have to sit through the whole story each time and unlock a skip scene button for any scene that you’ve already watched. If a scene comes up that you have not previously seen, you do have to watch it. I mean, you’d feel a bit lost otherwise.