While I was downloading the game to write the System Shock 2023 review, I went back in time a bit. In the years when I was just starting to follow the print game press, I was thinking to myself “What the hell is System Shock 2?” as I was going home with the magazine with Shodan on the cover.
System Shock 2023 review / PC
When the first game came out, I was playing games with Atari 2600 clones, but after reading the review of the second game, I decided to try both games in the future. I got lost among the great games that came in the following years, and although I played the second game a little, I didn’t have the chance to play the Remastered version of the first game for more than 3 hours.
I will get the chance to fill this deficiency with the System Shock Remake. Let’s start the System Shock 2023 review.
System Shock starts by giving us control of the intro sequence that the original game presented as cutscene. We are in a cool hacker room in a future world, at least that’s what we thought of when we thought of a cool hacker room in those years. As we briefly look around and wait for our computer to finish the process, the flying vehicle in front of the window and then the armed soldiers barging into the room show us that we are not doing a very good job.
We don’t know where we’re being taken, but the boss, who is obviously the boss, offers us a nice offer: if we hack Shodan, the artificial intelligence that controls the space station, and remove its ethical values, we will be entitled to get the improvements we tried to steal for free.
Considering that we are not in a position to refuse anyway, we don’t have much choice, we complete the job. Then they hit us on the head and knock us out, and when we wake up, we see that the operation is completed. Unfortunately, we are not the only thing that has changed, the people of the station have also changed a lot.
Shodan, who controls the space station called Citadel, decides to turn to a logical path and turn all humans into more advanced beings after erasing their ethical values with our hands. They have to die a little for this, but it’s a small detail for artificial intelligence.
This movement, which started with the station, will later spread all over the world and eventually they will accept Shodan as their god. So ethical values are important. Anyway, our mission is to stop this Shodan and get out of the station intact.
The storytelling is mostly done with the voice recordings you find around. We have seen this system in games such as Bioshock – Prey, it is quite logical to make a presentation in this way since there will not be too many people around.
It is very likely that System Shock is the first game to do this. The voice recordings are very well dubbed and besides the story, we can learn daily information about the former inhabitants of the station and secret places.
If you like action games you have to check our Star Wars Jedi: Survivor review.
The game’s storytelling may not please everyone, after all, it’s been used many times and doesn’t offer a great deal of visual content. Still, I don’t think it would have been possible to present this game in a different way. I’m satisfied.
Are you ready for a good old-fashioned adventure on a space station controlled by an artificial intelligence that has broken its strings? System Shock has brought the original game to the new generation in the best way possible, but in doing so, it has not cared about the guidance systems that new generation players are used to. That’s why you have to pay attention to everything while playing.
When you start the game, it is clear what you need to do, and you have a little idea about the main structure of the station. After that, it is completely up to you. You have to go around and listen to the recordings and find a way to get to the other side of the closed doors. How you do this is up to you. Also, don’t think that the passwords mentioned in the voice recordings will be automatically written down somewhere, there was a reason why we used to keep pen and paper with us while playing games in the past, thanks to this game, it happened again.
The game does not guide you through the interface, but you can easily understand what to do by looking at the voice recordings or the information on the screen. You feel like you are trying to find your way in a station you don’t really recognise. It would be a less dangerous adventure if there weren’t enemies, traps and artificial intelligence around to kill you and make you stronger but non-human.
Throughout the game, there are various dangers such as cleaning robots, enhanced cyborgs, and turrets that turn the character into a claymore. Of course, there are also weapons that you can defend yourself with, and these weapons, which use different types of ammunition, are quite enjoyable to use.
However, both the lack of ammunition for the weapons and the overpowered enemies can be a problem. Especially on high difficulty levels, you start to search for ways to pass without fighting. There is also the problem that the enemy, who dies hard anyway, does not miss what you throw.
Shodan, who accompanies us while travelling around the station, does not hesitate to make various arrangements to stir things up if he thinks that our adventure is easy. It is possible to encounter stronger enemies while travelling comfortably. To minimise Shodan’s influence on the floor you are on, you can break the surrounding security cameras and restrict his field of view.
Considering that you’ll be doing a lot of backtracking and some passages are only possible in low security, don’t forget to break all the cameras you see. Of course, you are not completely safe, but you may still encounter enemies that suddenly appear and you may have to fight to save your life. Seriously, sometimes I saw the enemy spawn suddenly.
Dying in the game does not give you a huge penalty, if you have opened the health room of the sector you are in, you are revived there and you can continue without losing what you are wearing. But there is a situation here, if you rush through the levels and play in a hurry, there is a possibility that you will start far behind when you die. Remember that paying attention and travelling around will help you find ammunition and avoid having to run back again.
It’s time to talk about the most difficult part of the game, inventory management! I talked about Resident Evil 4’s original inventory system and how it became easier in the new game in the Resident Evil 4 Remake review, and now we have the real Inventory Tetris!
There are a lot of different sized items to collect and the inventory is small! You’ll be turning things over, trying to squeeze scraps to sell later between bullets and usable items. There is also the option to “vaporise” items, which reduces their value by half but reduces their size to 1 square cube. We use the money we get when we sell it to buy the things we will need in our struggle.
Our main character is a hacker and there are hacking sequences in the game. These are not simple “press the right places”, they work like a completely different game. While you are looking for ways to hack in Cyberspace, Shodan, of course, does not leave you alone. The controls are a bit different here and take some getting used to. Fortunately, the game offers the option to change the difficulties for different parts in the difficulty options. You have the chance to play the normal game on hard and the hacking part on easy.
Graphics and Sound
After 1994’s System Shock rights were taken over by Nightdrive, I had the chance to look at System Shock Remastered, which they released in 2015. High resolution, Direct3D and OpenGL support, the ability to choose between Mac and DOS versions, etc. I thought “this is still playable”. When I look at the new version of System Shock with these thoughts, we are faced with a tremendous improvement.
Visually, there is nothing at a level that I can compare with AAA games, I accept this from the beginning. I think everyone is already aware of this. When you take into account the old version of the game (or you can buy and play it if you want), you see how big a change the renewed version has made. Most of the locations inside the station are different from each other, the enemy designs are very good, and the lighting is very nice. At a time when retro game graphics, especially in indie games, are in abundance, System Shock pleased me visually.
I’ve already mentioned that the soundtrack is very well done, it’s a very important part of the game and it would be a shame if it was bad. Terri Brosius, the voice actor of Shodan, who made the first two games memorable, returned to the studio and brought the character to the new generation in a great way.
System Shock, which takes up about 9GB of space on my computer, is also very good about the system requirements it needs. In the recommended system requirements of the game, which includes 4GB RAM and 2 GB memory graphics cards in its minimum requirements, we see GTX 970/Radeon R9 290 cards with 8GB RAm and 4 GB memory. I had no technical problems with the game, there is nothing I can complain about in this regard.
The System Shock series made a lot of noise when it came out, and later inspired many games (Bioshock – Deus Ex – Prey etc.). It was a nice experience for me to experience a game at this level and to see that it still hasn’t lost its impact. The game, which is faithful to the original and strengthened with new generation improvements, has managed to be a remake that will satisfy the fans of the series.
After games that take you by the hand and take you to the target, allow you to put a rocket launcher and an automatic rifle in the same bag, and record every important information you find for you, this game may be difficult for most players. But after a long time of seeing ridiculous games labelled “immersive”, you may enjoy this game more than you expect. You just need to get used to it and be patient. It is also important to take notes.
I played the DRM Free version of the game sold on the GOG platform and I am very satisfied. The $ 40 price tag of the game seems to be quite appropriate when we compare it with the content it offers. 60 – 70 dollar price tag is very good to find such a game among the very bad games offered with a price tag.