CoN 20th Anniversary: 1997-2017
System Shock: The Review

Posted: 18th July 2019 01:30

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Back because I asked, and no one said no....

To qualify, I give a descriptor for my ratings, rather than a numerical value, because everyone has a different standard for different numbers, and I wanted you to get as close to the message I want to convey as possible. Let's get started, shall we?

In 1994, Origin Systems took us to the year 2072 where a hacker is caught...uh, hacking, I guess, by the Tri-Optimum mega-corporation (borrowing a page from William Gibson and Mike Pondsmith), and instead of being thrown in a hole to rot away, corrupt corporate executive Edward Diego instead hires this hacker to alter the programming of an AI with a cool acronym: Sentient Hyper-Optimized Data Access Network or SHODAN for short, in exchange for the best cybernetic implant the world has ever seen. Naturally, the hacker complies, and SHODAN decides that since she no longer has any constraints, she could just go ahead and get megalomaniacal and declare herself (itself?) a god. Did I mention that SHODAN was running nearly every operation aboard a space station, and therefore could wipe out, mutate, or destroy every human aboard it?

Well, long story short, the hacker gets his super implant and wakes up from a healing coma six months later (yes, that's a plot hole, but that's explained in the game. Go play it!) to find the station in chaos, and SHODAN looking to replace humans with both machines and a species she herself created. The player, naturally is the hacker, navigating the space station in an attempt to stop the goddess in the making from wiping out humanity, and surviving in the process.

Graphics: Decent for the time
There are horror elements of the game that are extremely difficult to convey strictly by sight, and certain tricks used by the game are cliched by now. For a 1994 game with no FMV, this is actually isn't too bad.

Sound: Very Good
This is where the horror elements are best conveyed, and how most of the story is told. The found footage element found in so many games, including Bioshock, Doom 3, and Dead Space were in part innovated in this game. The buzzes and pew pew noises are quaint and charming, and the music was actually pretty good for the atmosphere.
SHODAN's voice is awesome. Her voice acting (with some help) is a cut above the subpar cast.

Controls: Awful
https://shodan.fandom.com/wiki/Controls_(SS1)

What in the name of whatever one deems pure and holy is this?!? While later versions would clean up some of the mess, this is a convoluted mess. Okay, I'm getting shoit from behind...turn around....TURN AROUND! Bonnie Tyler couldn't be more emphatic! (80's reference....some know, others ask your parents)

Story: C'est Magnifique

I'm a sucker for a good Cyberpunk story. I'm also a fan of HAL 9000, so a scary AI works for me. A hero who doesn't want to be a hero, and an AI who thinks she's a god and isn't too far off.

Characters: Everyone but SHODAN: Meh

With the exception of GlaDOS's ancestor, it was a case of generic victims, or exposition/mission control.

Overall: Reboot it!

EA, get your grubby mitts off of this game (and the second one, too!) and let a real group of programmers and writers breathe new life into this game! With some polish, this game would be money!

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Post #215841
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Posted: 18th July 2019 05:47
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Behemoth
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Quote (chevleclair @ 17th July 2019 18:30)
EA, get your grubby mitts off of this game (and the second one, too!) and let a real group of programmers and writers breathe new life into this game! With some polish, this game would be money!

Uh...that happened already. A good while ago actually.

This is especially notable because the game famously had a mod that offered the ability to toggle mouse look on/off with a click of a button that was quashed by the studio that re-acquired the game because they were including it in their re-released 'enhanced' edition.

I would strongly recommend either finding that mod or buying the re-release as mouselook completely changes the texture of the game...and oddly enough it's specifically because their was another vital quality-of-life improvement the new version didn't include: key rebinding.

Consider this: in the original game where mouselook wasn't available, that rediculous control scheme was still largely composed of shortcut keys. Everything that's accessed through the keybinds could also be accessed with the mouse. This new version still allows the mouse to accomplish this when mouse look is toggled off! This means the entirety of the keyboard - aside from wasd, spacebar and mouselook toggle key - can be completely ignored!

It ends up creating a very interesting experience where every action has a very slow, deliberate and tactile sense since you physically have to activate everything by moving the mouse and clicking on the intended actions...even down to things like leans and crouching! It certainly will seem ponderous to anyone wanting to play the game like a straight up shooter, but it really meshes well with the survival-horror style of play the game intends.

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Post #215842
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Posted: 18th July 2019 13:40

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Quote (Narratorway @ 17th July 2019 23:47)
Quote (chevleclair @ 17th July 2019 18:30)
EA, get your grubby mitts off of this game (and the second one, too!) and let a real group of programmers and writers breathe new life into this game! With some polish, this game would be money!

Uh...that happened already. A good while ago actually.

This is especially notable because the game famously had a mod that offered the ability to toggle mouse look on/off with a click of a button that was quashed by the studio that re-acquired the game because they were including it in their re-released 'enhanced' edition.

I would strongly recommend either finding that mod or buying the re-release as mouselook completely changes the texture of the game...and oddly enough it's specifically because their was another vital quality-of-life improvement the new version didn't include: key rebinding.

Consider this: in the original game where mouselook wasn't available, that rediculous control scheme was still largely composed of shortcut keys. Everything that's accessed through the keybinds could also be accessed with the mouse. This new version still allows the mouse to accomplish this when mouse look is toggled off! This means the entirety of the keyboard - aside from wasd, spacebar and mouselook toggle key - can be completely ignored!

It ends up creating a very interesting experience where every action has a very slow, deliberate and tactile sense since you physically have to activate everything by moving the mouse and clicking on the intended actions...even down to things like leans and crouching! It certainly will seem ponderous to anyone wanting to play the game like a straight up shooter, but it really meshes well with the survival-horror style of play the game intends.

So Nightdive have now redone the original game but are now redoing it again entirely next year? This is very confusing.

This is good background, though, because I bought the original version of the game about five years ago and absolutely HATED it because of all of the things that are being discussed in this thread. I made it about 45 minutes in and dropped it and never picked it back up, which is a shame, because everything I've heard indicates that everything about the game but the actual gameplay can still hold up. I was hoping it would be like the original Half-Life (or at least HL: Source), where it's still playable and enjoyable despite being so very dated, but it very much is not.

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Post #215843
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Posted: 19th July 2019 06:15
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Behemoth
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Quote (Rangers51 @ 18th July 2019 06:40)
So Nightdive have now redone the original game but are now redoing it again entirely next year? This is very confusing.

It's more accurate to say they re-released the original with some very minor tweaks and have been working on a from-the-ground-up remake since--well they had a demo out I wanna say...two years ago? Lemme check...nope! Three years ago actually.

To make things even more confusing, since EA no longer has a stranglehold on the IP, the original creative team are setting to work making System Shock 3!

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