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System Shock Review

(Image from Steam Game Page)

Although the original System Shock from 1994 was groundbreaking in many ways, few people remember it now. Not only did it need a powerful computer, but it was also simple to bounce off of it – it was frightening, with intricate controls and a convoluted, labyrinthine, and multi-level layout. The remake’s makers attempted to make it more accessible while staying true to the original’s underpinnings.

As a result, the “new” System Shock follows the same concepts and tells the same tale as its renowned predecessor. Again, we assume the character of an unnamed hacker who, following a botched attack on the TriOptimum corporation’s digital infrastructure, is presented with an impossible choice: spend the rest of his life in prison or take part in a covert operation on the Citadel space station. The length of his stay is primarily determined by the initial arrangement. You may select the difficulty level on four main parts of the game: combat, mission, cyber, and puzzle. The pleasure will be richer in shooting sequences, provide more tough riddles, or require more engagement in the adventure layer depending on the settings we select. As a result, categorising this game is challenging.

Exploring the various floors of the Citadel, decimating creatures, solving riddles, hacking, and locating and listening to hundreds of audiologists is always entertaining. We may also improve our character and obtain weaponry in the game. However, when the two versions are compared, the differences are readily apparent. The new System Shock employs the Unreal Engine 4 physics engine, three-dimensional models and textures were produced from scratch, controls and gameplay were upgraded, and a new soundtrack was included. However, a filter has been applied to the game, making it look visually comparable to manufacturing from the age of the first PCs. All of this, like in the original, is seen in the first person.

(Image from Steam Game Page)

Fortunately, the remake includes several enhancements that make the game more appealing to current gamers. The most significant and visible update is the addition of complete mouse capability. We may now simply reload the gun with the “R” key or switch to another with the mouse wheel, making the battles considerably faster. Furthermore, shooting and commanding the character during battles is no longer as difficult as it was years ago. However, the fighting paradigm is not without flaws. While we may now lean around the corner, I miss being able to block and avoid assaults. Shooting, on the other hand, is simply proper – flat, unsatisfying, and unable to distinguish between different weapons. Fortunately, cyberspace fights have been entirely overhauled; the geometry of the site is much more clear, and the firing does not drive you insane. However, it remains my least favourite aspect of fun.

Exploration, which was the original’s worst headache, is somewhat improved. A more diversified and rich visual style is quite beneficial; as a result, distinguishing spots are much simpler to identify. The ability to activate automatic rotation of the minimap is also new. You may also add your own markers to the map, although this option does not function for me. The map also has a small, uninteresting character indication and signatures that are so little that the letters blur together and make reading impossible. Discovering the station’s secrets still requires you to carefully read the messages and listen to the audiologists, and the structure of the Citadel is vast, making it easy to get lost. Furthermore, the game does not make it easy to memorise the codes, which are scattered throughout each level. So there is no option to take a long vacation from playing – if you want to accomplish this title, you must dedicate yourself entirely to it.

(Image from WhatIfGaming)

System Shock has various technological issues as well. Although I played at 140 frames per second most of the time, when new opponents showed on the screen, the game may drop down to 90. Furthermore, in one room, the frame rate went below 10 FPS every time. The game also crashed on occasion, but each time it was necessary to start and dismiss the menu to restore normalcy. I can’t leave out a fairly typical scenario, which is most likely the outcome of the designers’ optimization method. Well, it appears that the game simply remembers the type of vanquished opponent and the location of his death, but not the actual position of the body. As a result, every time we visit the site of the previous conflict, all of the bodies fall to the ground in front of our sight. This might result in erroneous collisions of objects, which can provide amusing results. 

Despite a few hiccups, the new System Shock remake is an excellent remake. The Nightdive studio’s founders were able to eliminate practically everything from the game that had previously rendered it inaccessible, while retaining the features that attest to its distinct personality. Nonetheless, it is not a title for everyone. To avoid being discouraged from having fun, you must unlearn practically everything that games have taught us over the previous dozen years or so.

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