Wednesday 15 May 2013

Why you should own System Shock 2

There might be a whole thing to be said here about the impact that this game had on my life back during a time when I was meant to be focussing on those things that "determine your future", but that isn't really important to what this game actually represents.

The game acts as the spiritual ancestor to nearly all current generation survival shooter games. It set the rules and shaped the arena in which later titles have been making their home. If you have ever enjoyed Fallout 3 or Bioshock, then you owe this game some gratitude. These games took a lot from System Shock 2, and then focusing on different aspects moved towards something else. It is still the purer form of these experiences. It is a balance between the limitations of Bioshock and the freedom of Fallout.

There are experiences in your game that will be uniquely yours. Tales that you will recount that will make your friends play through again to find the things that you found. At the same time there will be experiences that all players will share. The experiences, shared or otherwise, will thrive on tension. This is the game's stock and trade. As good as the story is, you will be driven forward by survival. System Shock 2 will at times be unforgiving. You are fragile and (very frequently) poorly equipped, while your enemies are not.

You will be pushed to conserve resources, and avoid conflicts for which you are not prepared. You will hide, and you will run. You will retreat to the defensive positions you have established, and lurk in the darkness to make your plans. You will stalk the enemy until the advantage is yours, and the derelict Von Braun will become your home. It can be harrowing.

This game is now available on Steam for the paltry sum of $10 (only $7 until the 18th of May). Be warned, System Shock 2 is more than a decade old, and it shows its age. While it was never a game that relied on its graphics, you might want to pickup SHTUP, which upgrades the textures, and Rebirth, which improves the models.

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