System Shock Enhanced Edition - Wonderfully Fun And Flawed

System Shock Enhanced Edition - Wonderfully Fun And Flawed

Good Old Reviews is back to replay System Shock! But does the Enhanced Edition still hold up?

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I played System Shock for the first time a couple of years ago (SS Portable to be exact), and I was shocked how rich it is despite all of its clunkiness. Sometimes background monitors showed door codes instead of just mentioning it in datalog, sometimes I was searching for a certain corpse with the help from a image of an unique face from a log to find an important item I needed to proceed, multiple different minigames to bypass locks, etc....

Many say that modern games are being dumbed down and that might be exaggerating, but I do wonder why - now that we have the technology and processing power - complex and mechanically rich games like System Shock are so few and far between. (If System Shock played like old Thief games with leaning and crouching, it would be almost perfect.)

I hope this ends up bringing back Terra Nova too. Not as rich or immersive (or as well known) as System Shock, but a great take on the FPS/mech genre (though power armour rather than full on giant robots)

Windknight:
I hope this ends up bringing back Terra Nova too. Not as rich or immersive (or as well known) as System Shock, but a great take on the FPS/mech genre (though power armour rather than full on giant robots)

http://www.gog.com/game/terra_nova_strike_force_centauri

I always liked the original SS better than SS2. I replayed SS1 two years ago, and SS2 last year, and still feel the same. SS2 is a whole lot "scarier" than SS1. The sounds of those whimpering monkeys put me right on edge every blasted time! But it was hard... TOO hard I thought. In the end I could never play SS2 without cheating. It felt more like an "RPG puzzle" where the real gameplay was figuring how to play the game without gaming the system. You had to juggle WAY too many "plates" in the air at the same time, and felt more like work than play.

On the other hand, the original SS1 felt more like a classic RPG. Quests and missions and puzzles, problem solving, and an amazing inventory system where you could "hack yourself" to be a better player. But it didn't punish you for picking the "wrong way" to play the game.

SS2 certainly holds up better on today's systems I think, graphically and atmospherically. But SS1 was just a heckuva lot of FUN. There were scary elements of SS1, but I don't think it was intended to be a horror game like SS2.

Wilco86:
I played System Shock for the first time a couple of years ago (SS Portable to be exact), and I was shocked how rich it is despite all of its clunkiness. Sometimes background monitors showed door codes instead of just mentioning it in datalog, sometimes I was searching for a certain corpse with the help from a image of an unique face from a log to find an important item I needed to proceed, multiple different minigames to bypass locks, etc....

Many say that modern games are being dumbed down and that might be exaggerating, but I do wonder why - now that we have the technology and processing power - complex and mechanically rich games like System Shock are so few and far between. (If System Shock played like old Thief games with leaning and crouching, it would be almost perfect.)

There is leaning and crouching in System Shock 1 (and 2, not surprising since 2 is made in the same engine as Thief 1 and 2). You can peek around corners which allows you to survey an area before moving into it. Crouching serves more as a navigational function. The game doesn't strictly have stealth features though, so your not going to ghost your way around the station.

System Shock 2 had a more functional stealth system though it's more suited to avoid specific encounters, not for ghosting entire areas... also the last few areas of the game become a bit of brawl, so you shouldn't neglect offensive weaponry. If you invest in PSI you can also get an invisibility "spell" that could make those late game areas a lot easier, but your going to want to have some skill with the pistol at least (I love my Wrench and Pistol playthroughs... very tense).

As for your question... unfortunately complex systems aren't easy to market. As a general rule of thumb, the more things the player is forced to concern themselves over the fewer players there will be to enjoy it. On the flip side, complexity can easily slip into contrivance if not handled well.

As far as major AAA games are concerned Deus Ex Human Revolution is about as complex as they will get... but if you are willing to explore other areas of the industry you can find games like EYE: Divine Cybermancy (which is imperfect and often convoluted, but worth a glance). The recent Alien Isolation, if you can stand a slow paced horror game, has a very strong System Shock feel to it too, at least atmospherically.

Ragsnstitches:
There is leaning and crouching in System Shock 1

Yeah, but it was so slow I hardly ever used it to check if I could safely enter a corridor or room. (And to elaborate, I did finish SS1. SS2 also, but much earlier.) "Push 'E'. Move mouse cursor. Do the lean. Try to straighten the view. No, don't crouch! OK, now everything is in default position. Push 'E' and we're ready to go forward."

games like EYE: Divine Cybermancy (which is imperfect and often convoluted, but worth a glance)

I did play this a while (after Jim Sterling mentioned this in his PC gaming video), but ultimately it was a bit too vague in my taste. Worth a try, though, and still somewhat refreshing experience.

Playing it right now. The introduction of mouse look is a huuuge improvement over the classic clunky controls.

Played it originally ages ago when it was new. And back then it was quite impressive for the time. The leaning and crouching was ahead of it's time when it came out. But the controls back then weren't fully thought out, and was quite the chore to control your character.
The mouse look movement massively improves this, and makes the movements quite a bit more intuitive.

And Gog.com did a very nice job updating the game to get it working in Windows. Tested on Win 10 and runs flawlessly. Also running with Coolsynth VirtualMIDI with Arachno SoundFont for improved music quality.

My apologies for the double post. I didn't notice that there was a newer and more relevant thread about System Shock. My original post has been deleted and copied over to the current discussion.

 

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