System Shock 2 is the sequel to the 1994 hit. It is a name that still sends shudders down the spines of veteran gamers who remember its unique gameplay, discordant sound, and gripping story. The game was revolutionary, a hybrid with FPS, RPG, and survival horror elements all blended together.
Games like System Shock 2 are more common nowadays but it was groundbreaking at the time of its release back in 1999. Combat is with a variety of melee and ranged weapons, all in first person. Players upgrade their abilities as the game progresses, they are also able to choose from three different starting classes. The scarcity of ammunition and the need to repair weapons ensures that players must be careful with expenditure and search each room thoroughly.
Awakening with amnesia, the player finds themselves the sole survivor aboard an abandoned ship. The backstory is only uncovered through encounters with apparitions and by acquiring audio logs. The game is playable for both those new to the series as well as veterans. The three starting classes provide different skills. The Marine class is focused on combat, the Navy Officer on repairing and hacking, while the OSA agent starts off with psionic powers.
The classes encourage different playstyles but a player is free to build and upgrade their character however they wish. The nature of the game ensures that a mix of support skills and combat is needed to succeed.
System Shock 2 might seem dated when compared to games today but its influence on modern gaming cannot be ignored. Ahead of its time, it was not a commercial success at its time of release but both Prey and Bioshock can be counted among its list of spiritual successors. It’s also be mentioned as an important influence for games such as Doom 3, Dead Space, and the Deus Ex series.