System Shock 2 (PC) by Brian and James Puckett
Overrall Score - 9
One of the top ten of all time is back.
You probably have already heard this before. System Shock 2 OWNS. It is among
the best 3D shooters/RPG's ever. It is one of the best PC games ever. I will go
out on a limb and say that, after the patches, it is as good as Half Life, if
you only compare single player modes.
This is THE scariest game ever. If you were scared by Resident Evil, stay
away, the zombies of RE popping through a door or window now and then donít hold
a candle to the monsters of System Shock 2 stalking you through the dark corridors
of abandoned spacecraft that falls apart all around you. And the psychic power
blasting monkeys are pretty damned nasty, too.
In SS2 you play a soldier from one of the three military factions: OSA,
Navy, or Marines. The OSA are powerful psionicists, the Navy guys are the jacks-of-all-trades,
and the marines are, well, grunts. On your fourth year of training, you are assigned
to the first faster-than-light spaceship, the Von Braun, a joint effort between
the UNN and Trioptimum. Five months
later, and 67 trillion miles from earth, you awake from cryo-sleep to find a cybernetic
interface implanted in you, most of your memory gone, and almost everyone on the
ship dead. Fortunately, a Dr. Polito
is alive on Deck 4, and can guide you through your task of finding out what exactly
Shock 2 combines action, role-playing, and puzzle-solving into a beautifully horrific
game. It's one of the few games where, even though you can save anywhere
you want, you are actually afraid to die.
graphics are great. They're not incredible,
running on the somewhat weak Dark Engine last seen in "Thief", but the
level design and ambience more than makes up for it.
The lighting is also exceptionally good, and it creates an atmosphere of
technological chaos. The graphics do have some nasty faults though. The enemies
are trademark Looking Glass models: Oddly shaped heads, knobby hands, and really,
really odd movement animations. You also get some crappy low-res cutscenes. Why
game manufacturers blow all that money for rendered cutscenes only to have them
more pixilated than old .mpegís makes no sense to us. Get with the picture folks.
sound for the game was well done, but unfortunately it uses the inferior EAX API
and not A3D, which makes it easy to distinguish sounds from the sides, but not
from anywhere else. The voice-overs are standard video game fare: nice in places,
bad in other, need work overall. The music is well done, but at times the throbbing
techno beats seems inappropriate.
controls for the game, once customized, are incredible.
I wish all good RPGs were this easy to control.
Combat plays like a perfect blend of Quake and Metal Gear. Being able to
lean around corners is something that ALL first person shooters in development
need to implement now. I canít say how many times I have peeked around my monitor
when I desperately needed to look around a corner, which System Shock 2 makes
way the role-playing elements affect combat are something I wish to see more of.
Weapons break, security systems can be hacked, and those worms you see swimming
around in each other on the floor can actually be used as ammo for some weapons.
Using weapons, items, and objects requires skills, which are learned while earning
cyberunits to get upgrades during the game. The skills work well, but it gets
a little annoying when you canít use a gun just because you donít have the skill.
Any idiot can bust a few caps out of a 9mm, he might just not hit anything. The
guns also degrade far too quickly, if real guns would fall apart that fast the
world would be a much better place. Fortunately this has been fixed via patches,
which makes the game much more enjoyable for the somewhat less hardcore players.
plot is complex and intriguing, the atmosphere is eerie and immersive, and no
sooner do you get used to nothing happening than something jumps out at you and
scares the... well, just don't play much before bed if you plan on sleeping well
original was wonderful, and the sequel is even better.
It seems System Shock 2 has a place in the top ten games of all time, and
we can only hope to see more down the line. You are really missing out if you
donít buy this game.
a side note, when you're in training, and you begin your third year, before you
do anything else, walk up to the window to your left and just watch for a minute.
us on this one.
Copyright stuff: The phrase "World Gamer's Front" as well as this site and all of the content contained within is copyright 1999 James Puckett, unless it is a copyright already held by someone else. Authors other than James Puckett retain the copyright to their work.