System Shock

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System Shock (Xbox Series X) – Review

Why settle for being a low-life hacker when you can take control of the entire space station? That’s the kind of power you’ll wield in System Shock, a thrilling game developed by Nightdive Studios and published by Prime Matter. Get ready to dive into the world of high-stakes hacking!

System Shock is a first-person single-player shooter based in space revolving around taking down the big dog AI called SHODAN, who has become self-aware and is aware of what you are trying to do to her. She controls almost every system in the station, making her a real threat to mankind, and it is up to your hacking ability to terminate SHODAN and bring salvation to the people.

System Shock is a complete remake of the original 1994 game, undergoing a comprehensive transformation in graphics, sound, and music. The updated controls and new interface breathe new life into System Shock. While it retains some elements from the original, the remake is a testament to the game’s enduring appeal.

Starting the game, you’re met with a small cutscene and dropped into the main character in what appears to be his house, with no context of knowing what to do and looking around, you are left trying to interact with anything that moves, until finally when looking at his computer and begin to hack into the mainframe.

While in the process, you are raided by police who knock you out, bringing you to the next cutscene of being transported to another location known as Diagos Place. Given a life-or-death choice, you decide to help Diago by disabling safety measures put on SHODAN, setting everything in motion.

Once you finish your task, you are knocked out again and wake up in an unknown location, with mutants feasting on dead people, cyborgs who attack on site, and later on fighting armed guards under SHODAN’s control.

There are also many weapons to collect on your way, from simple melee weapons like a wrench to ranged weapons like a pistol to laser guns, and some cool grenades that do some massive damage, it gets pretty crazy pretty quick.

Although the game did try to teach you some things in the beginning, it wasn’t enough, making the overall experience quite confusing with items not giving a detailed view of what they do or how they helped, unless you open your inventory to take a detailed look. But when you’re under fire and grabbing as you go, sometimes you don’t have time to sit there and check as checking your inventory or accessing any task or puzzle does not pause the game.

I found out the hard way, not to mention the puzzles which are a real brain teaser which I wasn’t going to lose, as completing the puzzles opens up new areas to explore, and finding new intel from past workers on the station gives hints and directions as to where to go. It gets a lot easier once you get the hang of how the game works, but the first stages disappointed me.

Controls are only available with a controller utilising the most common layout for movement and shooting. Inventory management and puzzles are easy to use with a simple yet effective layout, making it quite smooth and easy-going, which I liked a lot.

The graphics in System Shock are next level compared to the original game. Smooth, well-detailed enemies with accurate shadows, and ranged and melee animations look exceptionally good. Great lighting from all angles and full colours make each minute played an enjoyable experience. Shading on enemies was very well done, with some enemies having pieces broken off them when hit, creating a natural 3D environment that sets the game in motion.

Sound in System Shock got a complete revamp with new music and sounds added from the original game, with epic fight scene music blasting in from all sides, to mellow yet effective tones when exploring or listening to enemies talking on the radio. Even having the original voice actor of SHODAN, not to mention the voice acting throughout the beginning of the game, with cutscenes feeling so full of emotion and intent.

Overall, I’m relatively happy with the experience of System shock. Although it was lacking in some areas, it stayed true to the original experience, which gave it character, but I felt it could have been managed differently, although it wasn’t all bad. System Shock brought a lot to the table, with incredible weapons, enemies to face off against, and challenging puzzles to get the brain working. I’d like to say the Developer team has done an amazing job bringing the original title to the modern era with beautiful audio and visuals paving the way forward. It’s definitely a game I will finish, after all, hackers don’t quit.

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The Good

  • True to the original
  • Well built
  • Beautiful graphics and sound
  • Unique story

The Bad

  • Lacks structure
  • Confusing intro with no context
  • Very minimal tutorial

Written by: TypicalCambieAU


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