System Shock 2


Genre:   Action-RPG

Developer:   Irrational Games, Looking Glass

Publisher:     Electronic Arts

Released:   1999

PC Requirements:   Minimum: 200Mhz Pentium, 32 Megs of RAM, 4 MB D3D hardware accelerator, about 250 Megs of hard-drive space, 4x CD-ROM. Recommended: 266Mhz P2, 64 Megs of RAM, 8 MB D3D hardware accelerator, about 250 Megs of hard-drive space, 8x CD-ROM




by Drizzt

Around the time of doom, there was a game called “System Shock”, and although no hard-core have forgotten it, it seem to have only lain in the shadow of the aforementioned giant we know as “doom”.
This game actually required something more than just a quick trigger finger and offered not only an atmospheric adventure, but also something stimulating our small grey ones.
And with System Shock 2, we are once again invited to something resembling the adventure of our lives.

At the beginning of the game, the story is quite fuzzy and incomplete. All you know is that you are aboard the Von Braun, a new huge star-ship cruiser on its first voyage.
And something has gone very wrong.

Even at this time, you understand that this game has something exceptional to offer, as you have already gone through the process of creating a character (more about this later, though) and the first feeling you get is exceptional.

You are guided around the ship by a voice claiming to be a survivor in OPS-centre, and you have to put your trust in her.
There is quite a RPG-element in the game, and when you complete certain tasks you receive what is called “Cyber Modules”, which you can use at places to “upgrade” your skills or stats.
Very innovative and fun, not to mention the game would probably be impossible without this implement. And besides, it increases the number of times you can play through it, depending on how you experiment and create new kinds of characters.
You can basically choose from the beginning whether you choose to become a marine, a navy soldier or a member of the psi-operations.
Marines are, just as it sounds, the class for action-lovers as they use lots of weapons and can blast their way through the most, while navy is for players who like to play with computers and hacking system (hacking is by the way a big part of the game, which I also find interesting).
Lastly, psi-soldiers are using their “Psionic” powers as a weapon, and I suppose this is System Shock 2’s response on magic in other games, as they do not rely on usual firearms.

There is one thing you should know however, about this game. If you are the kind of person who can not handle excitement or be scared, stop reading now. This is the most scaring game in the history of games. It is scarier than all the resident evil games together.
Allow me to explain why in just a few words: You are never alone.
Enemies can be anywhere, you will never know where they are, but they are drawn to you if you make much noise, and even if you are very silent and hardly make any sign of being there, they will still be around, just waiting for you. You can never be sure if you are safe or alone, as they are almost always somewhere around you, and don’t ever make the mistake of supposing you are alone. As I said before, you are not.

The graphics may be quite a bit dated, but they work very well with the game, and give just the right feeling fitting a game such as this.
The sound is excellent as well, with background sounds always present, machines emitting noises as well as when enemies know you are around (but not the exact position), and this is all perfectly integrated.

Something also perfectly integrated is the control system and the way you manipulate the world. It is simple and very efficient, and sometimes it feels “Damn, it should be like this in every action game”.
And even if much is based in the game on logical thinking and story, the action sequences are also well implemented, with a simple kind of combat, but also easy to see how injured your enemy is, as well as it is fun, without feeling too stiff.

In System Shock, the story was a very big part of the game, and this has followed into the sequel, as it has a story in a time when action games build more on action and less on the “epic” experience of a game.
It may be a bit predictable at some times, but it is still something that I would like to see more developers creating; something you can actually understand, follow and find exciting at a time.

So what is the bottom line for this game, then? It is simple. A great game with many refreshing news to the action genre (a genre that does need refreshing games such as this) and also, what many other games lacks: A great story that makes you tremble with excitement.

Get this game if you are interested in sci-fi action aiming to scare you. Just remember one thing: Behind you…


Graphics: 8/10
Sounds: 9/10
Gameplay: 10/10
Story: 9/10
Replayability value 9/10

My Rating: 9/10


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