“System Shock is the fully fledged remake of the groundbreaking original from 1994, combining cult gameplay with all-new HD visuals, updated controls, an overhauled interface and all-new sounds & music; it even has the original voice actor of SHODAN, one of gaming’s most iconic villains. Witness the rebirth of one of the greatest and most influential games ever created.”

Launch trailer

The mixture of nostalgia and quality of life.

In my personal experience, I have found the combat in the remake to be a bit of a mixed bag. Comparing it to the original version, it’s evident that this is where the most improvements have been made. I’ve adopted a cautious approach similar to how one would play in The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion. I tend to creep up on my targets slowly and deliver a decisive blow to their heads.

If the enemies aren’t immediately defeated, I engage in a back-and-forth exchange of blows while backpedaling. As different enemy types are introduced, this tactic becomes more challenging, but I manage by incorporating ranged weapons and delivering a final shot to finish them off.

One reason for my cautious playstyle is the scarcity of ammunition in the early hours of the game. This scarcity adds to the tension aboard the Citadel Station, creating a sense of resource management and survival.

It’s not my favourite map system, it wants to punish me šŸ™

However, it’s worth noting that playing System Shock with a controller can be a rough experience. While the game will be released on consoles, the controller support feels somewhat limiting. I look forward to future improvements in controller support, especially for console players. In my opinion, playing with a mouse and keyboard offers the most enjoyable experience for System Shock, as there is a lot going on that may be better handled with more precise controls.

System Shock on the Go – Steam Deck

The store page on Steam shows that the game is playable. I have spent approximately four hours playing it on this remarkable handheld device, and while the text appears slightly small, it remains readable.

I’ve made some minor adjustments to the settings to decrease the quality of shadows, allowing me to get some extra performance from the game. By adopting this approach and capping the game at 40FPS, I’ve been thoroughly enjoying myself.

How does it look and sound?

The visual and auditory aspects of the game are truly impressive. The term “nostalgia porn” aptly describes the experience, as it captures the essence of the original System Shock while incorporating modern enhancements. This makes it especially appealing to older gamers who can fully appreciate the faithful remake.

In recent FPS games, there has been a growing trend of meticulously detailed item collection and examination animations. System Shock follows suit, with exceptional attention to detail in these aspects. When you acquire a new weapon or item, the level of craftsmanship in the animations is truly remarkable.

It’s challenging to put into words, as we’re accustomed to certain conventions in how game worlds are presented. We expect to interact with doors to open them, use stairs to move between levels, or encounter environmental elements that break up the design of playable spaces. However, when you first gain the freedom to explore the space station in the remake, you’ll encounter two doors in front of you, with one having a button conveniently placed right in front. It’s almost like a heartfelt message from the developers, assuring players that they’ve handled this remake with utmost care and attention to detail.

Attack of the colours

Cyberspace: 90s wireframe to hallucinogenic

In your exploration of the Citadel Station, you will encounter terminals that grant you access to hack into the station’s systems. You must navigate through a transformed and mind-bending visual representation, reminiscent of a hallucinogenic trip, until you reach your destination. Along the way, you’ll uncover hidden doors and secrets, all while engaging in weightless combat against adversaries. It’s an exhilarating and surreal journey as you soar through the cyber realm, battling your foes.

A fantastic synth-wave soundtrack perfect for your everyday journey 

Once the soundtrack kicks in with force, you know you’re in for a challenging experience. When the music fails to exhilarate you, it keeps you vigilant as enemies lurk and make eerie sounds in the concealed passageways. The frequency with which I’ve startled myself while strolling down a corridor, fearing an unexpected ambush, is genuinely nerve-wracking.

Note: This could be because I’m more on edge or highly strung than most; some may go as far as saying I’m a bit of a pussy.

Having not personally played the original 1994 version, I’ve been exploring the game through Let’s Play videos on YouTube in anticipation of the remaster’s release. While I acknowledge that watching gameplay videos doesn’t replicate the same experience, I must say that I’m thoroughly impressed with the series and eagerly anticipating the remake of its sequel.

One aspect that has particularly stood out to me is the ability to customize the difficulty settings for different aspects of the game, such as combat, missions, cyberspace, and puzzles. This feature has made the game a true gem for me, allowing me to have two distinct playthroughs. On my Steam Deck, I’ve been enjoying a more relaxed experience, while on my PC, I’ve opted for a more traditional playthrough. I’ve made puzzles easier on both platforms since I struggle with them.

By comparing the footage of the remake with my own gameplay, it’s evident that Nightdive Studios has remained faithful to the original, striving to create an authentic remake. However, I can’t help but wonder what the final product would have been like if Nightdive had taken more risks and introduced innovative elements in this iteration of System Shock.

Nonetheless, I believe that this remake will succeed in satisfying both long-term fans and newcomers to the series.

8 / 10

Written by Colin.