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System Shock 2 (Windows)

91
MobyRank
100 point score based on reviews from various critics.
4.1
MobyScore
5 point score based on user ratings.
Written by  :  Shazbut (158)
Written on  :  Jun 02, 2002
Platform  :  Windows
Rating  :  4.4 Stars4.4 Stars4.4 Stars4.4 Stars4.4 Stars

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Summary

The greatest and most harrowing experience in games yet.

The Good

Ok, so I can do what most people did and pick out the individual aspects of the game. Which of course, is perfectly acceptable. Except this game transcends it's parts. The pure game experience is what it's about, the quality of the graphics and whatever just affect this and make the experience better or worse. I'll just mention some of these anyway: -The graphics have aged well generally. The lighting is still quite advanced and the look is very smooth. -The sound is the best in any game yet. I can't stress this one enough. Everything about the way this is structured audibly is peerless. The use of total silence, the haunting voice of The Many that drifts between speakers, SHODAN's bioelectrical crackle that accompanies hers, the squealing sound of many of the enemies...I could go on. Also the voice acting is really terrific. Dead serious, and cleverly changed when you know The Many has a hold on them. -The ship design is great. It looks the business, and the atmosphere created through the lighting and sound makes it believable. -It's an RPG. You can develop your character's stats. Albeit, not in a big way. -The AI is pretty intelligent.

So far, this game wouldn't be anything very special(ish). But it has a feeling and a magic that is impossible to describe. It's the genius of Looking Glass. The emotions that it brings out in you; fear, isolation, depravity, loss, paranoia...Ok, they may be the easiest of emotions to play with at this stage in computer gaming. We certainly can't do love yet. But they're so extreme it's incredible. It's a shattering experience, and there is no game like it. Plus; the immersion is SO great, you FORGET yourself whilst playing. You forget you're playing a game, you forget life. You are placed into this world and that is all that exists. If you ever feel really angry, play this game. It turns everything you feel into fear and survival. No game can do this except System Shock 2. Fact.

The Bad

Nothing is perfect. The stats system is not balanced well, some missions seem seperate and pointless in regards to the plot. The monsters are a bit cartoony. Rickenbacker was a little annoying to play and I wasn't to keen on the level design. And it doesn't build up to a huge crescendo at the end. There are tiny things that could annoy you but who cares? Given the quality of the gaming experience, any bad point seems like nit-picking.

The Bottom Line

It really IS genius because it has something that no other game has. Don't ask me to describe it. You can't ask a poet to explain every metaphor. Just play it. You won't forget it.