Hello insect (you'll get that reference later), welcome to System Shock 2, the successor to the massively popular original which is currently undergoing a remake by Night Dive Studios. With the game announced I thought I would introduce a game that isn't well-known anymore even though its better than many games today. Sit back hacker.
The basic storyline goes with you as a soldier enlisting for the UNN (United Nations Nominate) which was to prevent Earth's governments from influencing huge corporations run by the government. After you get aboard the Von Braun you are awakened from cryosleep with a voice telling you that something is horribly wrong. The individual tells you your skills and cybernetic abilities will aid you in your journey to the mysterious individual to help shut down the threat. It all begins in 2114, 42 years after the first System Shock event.
- Captain William Diego - Captain of the UNN Rickenbacker
- Dr. Marie Delacroix - Designer of the FTL drive for the Von Braun
- Dr. Prefontaine - First person to observe The Many’s biomass.
- SHODAN (Sentient Hyper-Optimized Data Access) - Rogue A.I. and primary antagonist from the first game
- Soldier-G65434-2 - The protagonist
- Janice Polito - Head scientist and computer engineer, close friends with Delacroix
- The Many - The artificial biological race indirectly created by SHODAN that has infected the crew and hijacked the Von Braun
- XERXES 8933A/A - The A.I. on the Von Braun
At first the controls are a polished version of the original game. But tweaking the settings allows for a modern version style of play. You will notice that leaning is an option in the controls, this allows the player to peek around corners for incoming threats. This is especially useful for looking for cameras. Security cameras will detect your movement if they are not destroyed fast enough. This will alert many enemies to your position and making it hard to survive. There are two HUDs, the “shoot mode” and “use mode”. “Use mode” is essentially your inventory where you can drag objects into the 3D space to interact with power-up stations and consoles. On the bottom right, there are different buttons that serve different purposes. The disc looking thing opens audio logs that the player has collected throughout the Von Braun. The blue rectangle card opens what access cards you have and tells you what areas you are able to access. The MFD opens all your player-specific skills such as strength, endurance, psionic, agility, etc. Dragging certain objects into the 3D view from your inventory will be necessary, you can’t just click where the object needs to be placed. This game will take a couple hours on your first try. It took me a good 12 hours my first time since I really didn't know what I was doing. This should help you a little, although I don't want to play the game for you, so you'll discover things on your own.
Skills & Upgrades
Strength - Affects melee damage and also inventory size up to 3 spots for every strength point
Endurance - Determines your hit points and resistance to toxins and radiation
Psionics - Investing more points into this allows for greater exploration of more psi powers and abilities, this may benefit you depending on your play style
Agility - Increases running speed and reduces fall damage, and reduces weapon kickback
Cyber Affinity - Cyber points will eliminate filled nodes during the hacking sequence, one point for one node, more equals less obstacles
Hack - Hacking allows you to turn off cameras and control torrents either to move past an area safely or clear a room of enemies
Repair - Repair allows the user to repair broken weapons, most experienced players denounce this as a useless skill since there are plenty of tools to repair weapons instead of wasting your skill points
Modify - Allows the player to mod weapons for upgrades such as increased clip size
Maintain - Allows the player to keep weapons at a fair maintenance level and keeping them breaking
Research - Research allows you to pick up enemy items and research them to gain perks like increased damage to that specific enemy.
Standard - Most important combat skill since most of your early weapons will fall under this category. Having a higher level allows you to use more standard weapons
Energy - Energy weapons fair best against robots and other mechanical enemies
Heavy - Allows the user to gain access to weapons like the grenade launcher that can take large groups of enemies
Exotic - Major disappointment, exotic weapons are introduced way too late in the game but allow you to use very powerful weapons
O/S Upgrades (Player specific upgrades that rare to find)
Strong Metabolism - Damage from toxins and radiation reduced by 25%
Pharmo-Friendly - Extra 20% benefit from all Hypos
Pack-Rat - Three extra inventory slots
Speedy - 15% increased movement speed
Sharpshooter - Each non-psionic ranged weapon deals 15% more damage
Naturally Able - One time bonus of 8 Cyber Enhancement Units
Cybernetically Enhanced - Allows two implants at once
Tank - Hotpoint’s increased by 5
Lethal Weapon - Melee damage increased by 35%
Security Expert - +2 hacking skill to security computers (needs at least 1 point of the skill)
Smasher - Allows for overhead melee attacks
Cyber Assimilation - You are able to extract repair module from destroyed robots
Replicator Expert - All items in replicators cost 20% less
Power Psi - Psionic burnout no longer damages you
Tinker - Nanite cost for weapon mods is 50% cheaper
Spatially Aware - Automap for each level is filled in
Talon M2A3 Handgun (Standard 1) - Probably the best weapon until you get the assault rifle
Single shot and burst mode available
Anti Personnel Bullets - Increased damage against fleshed enemies
Standard - All around weak damage for all units
Armor Piercing - Increased damage against armored units
Shotgun (Standard 3) - Plenty of ammo and good for killing anything with the right ammo
Single shot and triple shot modes available
Slug Round - Standard rounds
Pellet Rounds - Extra damage to fleshed units at a very close range
M22 Assault Rifle (Standard 6, Strength 4) - Best weapon in the game, hands down
Single shot and automatic modes available
Same ammo as pistol (see above)
Apollo H4 Lazer Pistol (Energy 1) - Fairs well against mechanical units and okay against flesh units
Regular shot and overcharged shot available
Rechargeable energy as ammo
Laser Sabre (Energy 4, Agility 3) - If you can, use this instead of the wrench when you can
EMP Rifle (Energy 6) - Only useful against robots
Regular shot and overcharged shot
Rechargeable energy as ammo
TC-11 ‘Brick’ Grenade Launcher (Heavy 1) - Very powerful weapon used to take out groups of enemies
Normal (explodes on contact) and bounce (bounce then explode) modes available
Fragmentation Grenades - All around damage
Incendiary Grenades - Damage bonus against flesh units
EMP Grenades - Anti-mech ammo
Proximity Grenades - Explodes when something enters its radius
Disruption Grenade - Small explosion, huge damage
Stasis Field Generator (Heavy 3, Strength 3) - You can’t kill anything, just freeze things in place for a short time
Single target and AOE modes available
Prisms as ammo
Fusion Cannon (Heavy 6, Strength 3) - Want to kill yourself? Here you go, tight quarters = suicide
Normal mode and death mode which fires slower projectile but more damage
Prisms for ammo
Crystal Shard (Exotic 1, Research 4) - Strongest weapon in the game, unless you have the points invested already, use the laser saber or wrench instead
Viral Proliferator (Exotic 4, Research 5) - Stick to the pistol
Fires anti-human rounds and anti-annelid rounds as different modes
Annelid worms as ammo (must use a beaker to collect worms on the ground then use as ammo)
Annelid Worm Launcher (Exotic 6, Research 6, Strength 3, Agility 3) - Don’t even. Fires yellow heatseeking projectile into a target
See Viral Proliferator for modes and ammo
Wrench - When ammo is low, use this
Black Ops Psi Amp (Psi 1) - Boost your stats and your killing skillz!
Uses Psi Points as ammo
Light Armor - Available early on, use it ASAP
BioHazard Suit - Stops same damage from toxins and radiation
Powered Armor - Strongest armor but needs a constant power source or the defense it provides is gone
Standard Armor - Standard armor gives +30 defensive bonus compared to the +50 bonus of Powered Armor, doesn’t need a power source which is a plus
Heavy Armor - Although it requires 6 strength, it gives a +40 defense bonus
Annelid Armor - 20% defensive bonus, +2 PSI ability (drains PSI points), and gives 30% radiation/toxin resistance. Last armor encountered and not the best since you can still die from 2-3 hits
- ALWAYS destroy security cameras, this will save you about 2 minutes of going through hell trying to fight off 20 enemies, which in this game is hard even on the easy difficulty. If you do get caught by a camera, try to get to a console to hack the system and shut them down.
- Save OFTEN, this game has no auto-save so make sure you save often.
- KNOW your PSI abilities and what they can bring to the table. Need a hypo that is far away and an enemy is around the corner? Use Psi Pull. Investing some time to look at all the possible abilities will help your strategies.
- LISTEN to the audio logs. They story is entirely told through the audio logs, so make sure you listen to them as they also provide information about how to advance to the next level.
- Open the in-game map and select Minimap.
- Hold down “space” or whatever you have jump bound to and press forward at the same time to literally climb onto crates that are to high to normally jump onto.
There are only 2 known easter eggs in the game. On the third year of your training in the beginning of the game, look to the left instantly and you’ll see a dancing robot. This video shows how to do the basketball easter egg since it requires lots of detail.
Want to play System Shock 2? Here's a guide on how to download mods to create a HD version of the game and give a new life to the Von Braun.
System Shock 2 is one of my favorite games to date even though it is 17-years old (older than me, jeez), and provides hours of fun and a mystery that will boggle your mind. You can find it on Steam and GOG. Make sure you are on the lookout for System Shock Remastered and System Shock 3! If you have any questions, please feel free to ask below!