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System Shock 2

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Linux
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Macintosh
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Windows
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4.1
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Description

In the year 2114, forty-two years after the events described in System Shock, a soldier joins the military organization Unified National Nominate (UNN), receiving the number G65434-2, and is shortly thereafter assigned to the military space ship Rickenbacker. This ship's duty is to escort the Von Braun, an experimental faster-than-light starship, on its maiden voyage. However, the next thing the soldier can remember is waking up in a cryo-tube on the Von Braun. It appears that both ships were infected with something so horrifying that nearly the entire crew was either killed or mutated into monsters. The soldier is contacted by a woman who identifies herself as the only human survivor. His first task is a rendezvous with this woman, for which he will have to traverse the monster-infested corridors of the ghost ship.

System Shock 2 is a hybrid of first-person shooter and role-playing game. In the beginning of the game the player chooses a career for the protagonist in the UNN. This choice grants bonuses to the protagonist's initial skills. Marines specialize in combat, navy officers can repair weapons and hack computer terminals, and OSA agents may begin the game with psionic powers. Notwithstanding this initial choice, the player may choose to learn any of these skills as the game progresses, spending acquired cybermodules to develop the main character in a RPG fashion.

As the hero traverses the corridors of Von Braun, he will have to avoid death at the hands of hostile creatures and robots on the way, acquire a variety of items, and complete missions to unlock new areas and advance the story. The game emphasizes survival rather than elimination of enemies; in many situations the protagonist is underpowered, and new enemies may appear in already explored areas.

Combat is done in FPS style, with both ranged and melee weapons. The ranged weapons can accept a few different types of ammo, each of them efficient against different foes, and can shoot in two firing modes. However, ranged weapons deteriorate quickly as the player character uses them, and will eventually break down after prolonged use.

Healing items, such as medical hypos and medikits, will save the hero's life, while other items will shield him from radiation, cure him from poisoning, or temporarily boost his attributes. The soldier can find armor to wear and implants which will amplify his skills, as long as their battery doesn't run out. There are also some alien items that the player has to research (which usually requires finding specific chemicals in the ship's chemical stores); researching weapons and items allows the player to use them, and researching enemies' organs makes it possible to deal more damage to them.

Apart from finding them lying around, items can be bought from "matter replicators" for nanites, the game's currency. Nanites are also used for cybernetic activities (hacking electronic systems), repairing broken weapons and improving them, healing the protagonist on surgery tables, and, after death, resurrecting him in special chambers found on most levels.

Cybermodules are received for successfully completing objectives or found during exploration. They are used to enhance the main character's attributes: the player can improve his strength, agility, endurance, as well as his cybernetics and weapon skills; psionic powers are also acquired in this way. Psi powers allow the protagonist to move objects from a distance, paralyze enemies, become invisible, etc. A special "psi amplifier" must be found in order to use them, and the hero spends "psi points" each time he uses a psi power.

Like in the first System Shock, much of the background story in the game is revealed by finding messages left by crew members before they fell victims to the mysterious infestation.

Screenshots

System Shock 2 Windows shoot him in the bum
System Shock 2 Windows A few dead Hybrids
System Shock 2 Windows The "stimulation units" on the recreation deck allow you to choose between different "pleasure models". Meet Sven.
System Shock 2 Windows a choice of training

Alternate Titles

  • "网络奇兵2" -- Chinese title (simplified)

Part of the Following Groups

User Reviews

Shockingly great Windows אולג 小奥 (168604)
Intense, pulse-pounding, and challenging. The essential survival horror game. Windows Steelysama (106)
One of the best games ever made Windows Black Death (6)
The greatest and most harrowing experience in games yet. Windows Shazbut (158)
Falls just a little bit short of genius, but amazing game nonetheless. Windows Zovni (9366)
Sadly overlooked fps/rpg Windows Terrence Bosky (5235)
Spooky Windows Baxter (38)
Play it coop, there's little original MP games out there Windows MichaelPalin (1195)
Scary, frustrating and unbelievably good. Windows Mattias Kreku (423)
If you don't think games have the power to scare you, I dare you to play this one Windows Jim Newland (53)

The Press Says

Meristation Windows Sep 12, 1999 10 out of 10 100
Electric Games Windows 1999 5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars 100
HonestGamers Windows Jan 14, 2004 10 out of 10 100
Game Revolution Windows Aug 01, 1999 A 100
Good-Evil.net Windows Mar 26, 2007 6 out of 6 100
RPGFan Windows 1999 92 out of 100 92
Power Play Windows Sep, 1999 92 out of 100 92
Retrogaming.it Windows May 22, 2008 9 out of 10 90
GameSpot Windows Aug 25, 1999 8.5 out of 10 85
JeuxVideoPC.com Windows Jan 17, 2005 15 out of 20 75

Forums

Topic # Posts Last Post
Which SS2 am I playing? o__O 34 Bertrand Godinot
May 20, 2008
Damn the Many... 5 אולג 小奥 (168604)
Apr 03, 2008
No spawn and no degradation? 10 Lumpi (197)
Mar 18, 2008
Just Finished, ITS AMAZING!! 21 beetle120 (2319)
Oct 07, 2007
System Shock 2 Expansion Pack on WinXP 3 dave solin
Sep 12, 2007
Can't quite understand what's so great here... 37 Donatello (384)
Sep 10, 2007

Trivia

Animations

In addition to using the Dark Engine, the game also uses some animations from Thief, most notably the zombified crewmen with the shotguns and pipes. They use portions of animation from the guardsmen in Thief, specifically when they walk around searching for your character, and when they run over to attack you.

Basketball

In Thief, part of the training mission included a little basketball court at the beginning of the game. In SS2, this basketball is carried over and is found up on a ledge on the 'street' level of the very first training mission. Go around the 'pillar' to the right of where you arrive on the street. You can mantle up to a sloped surface, and on the flat part of the ledge will be the basketball. Bounces very appropriately, too!

On the Recreation deck will be a basketball court, towards the last part to explore in the level. You have to be on the upper running deck to shoot, but if you make a basket with the basketball or even just clip the rim, you'll get a very funny email. Be sure to bring it up in your PDA, as it reads differently than it sounds.

Bugs (Spoiler!)

In a cutscene on Deck 4, the walls will drop away and a cut-scene will begin. However, you can still move around and if you fall off the platform that the room has become, you CANNOT get back up, short of killing yourself or loading your game! A neat little bug.

Cancelled Dreamcast version

There was going to be a Dreamcast version of System Shock 2, but it was cancelled

German version

The localized German version of the game was slightly modified for fear of banning. Some corpses were removed (e.g. a hanged man), and all blood was colored green.

Mods

The graphics for character models in the game was considered by many to be the low-point in the 3D Design. So some fans took it upon themselves to create unofficial high-res models which are known as System Shock: Rebirth and can be found at http://perso.wanadoo.fr/etienne.aubert/sshock/sshock_rebirth.htm

Multiplayer

There is a patch available for System Shock 2 which does not only allow adjustments of the respawning and weapon wear and tear, but adds a cooperative multiplayer mode.

Release

System Shock 2 was published by Electronic Arts instead of Eidos, which was Looking Glass‘ world-wide publisher at the time. This is due to the simple fact that EA held the copyright for the System Shock franchise -- the firm had acquired it with the purchase of Origin Systems.

Sales

Although System Shock 2 was rated a masterpiece by all major magazines, sales were only mediocre. Ironically, the game shared the same fate as its predecessor: Both games never reached a mass audience, partly because of bad marketing efforts.

Shodan

The voice of Shodan was done, as in System Shock, by Terri Brosius. She is the wife of Looking Glass Audio Director Eric Brosius.

Awards

  • Computer Gaming World
    • March 2000 (Issue #188) – Best Sound Design of the Year
    • November 2003 (Issue #232) – Introduced into the Hall of Fame
  • GameSpy
    • 1999 – Role-Playing Game of the Year
    • 1999 - Best Genre-Bender (together with Drakan: Order of the Flame)
    • 2001 – #12 Top Game of All Time
  • PC Gamer
    • April 2000 - #22 in the "Readers All-Time Top 50 Games Poll"
    • April 2005 - #39 in the "50 Best Games of All Time" list
  • PC Player (Germany)
    • Issue 01/2000 - Best Game in 1999
    • Issue 01/2000 - Best Action-Adventure in 1999
  • Power Play
    • Issue 02/2000 – Best Game in 1999
    • Issue 02/2000 – Best Atmosphere in 1999
Information contributed by -Chris, CaptainCanuck, George Shannon, Great Hierophant, M4R14N0, PCGamer77 and WildKard

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Contributed to by Kabushi (121084) and robotriot (8637)