Sadly overlooked fps/rpg
System Shock 2 is similar in gameplay to the Thief series and Deus Ex. Like Thief, it behooves you to remain unseen and unheard. Otherwise, beasties will come a-runnin'. Especially if a security camera spots you. Like Deus Ex, it plays as a first person shooter with an integrated role playing system. So why is this game overlooked? Bad marketing I guess.
You play as the sole survivor of a horrific accident in deep space. From the beginning you have the option of being a gun-toting marine, mechanically minded naval officer, or a psi-enhanced black op. Using these skills, you will uncover the mystery of what happened to the ship's crew, fight apologetic human hybrids, and explore a huge spaceship.
This game is genuinely scary, in a Resident Evil meets Aliens sort of way. The class options do offer some variation in gameplay even though the game doesn't branch. Also, while the major "quests" are straight-forward, there are various ways of accomplishing them.
The level design is terrific. I really felt like I was in a working spaceship. The different monsters were interesting and scary. I liked how you could upgrade your character.
Finally, the inventory interface is very clunky at first, but soon becomes manageable. Really. No really, it does.
In the future we can build ships to travel the stars, AI's to run them, etc, but it is impossible to get good lighting. This ship is a feng shui nightmare! It wouldn't be bad if you had a flashlight or flares, but gamma correction seems to be the only option.
Also, the weapons system is funky. You cannot use certain weapons until you have advanced your character's knowledge and physical ability to some extent. This makes sense for alien artifacts, but any drunken 15-year old can use a shotgun without first studying. AND (a big and) weapons break down left and right. You can barely squeeze off a magazine without having to do major repairs to your weapon. Luckily you can make it through most of the game with an all-purpose crowbar.
Finally, while the psi-dude character class differs from the navy and marine, the navy and marine guy ends up very similar at the end.
The Bottom Line
This game is a must for fans of the Thief series and those who enjoyed Deus Ex. It is a well-thought out action adventure game, that pits you against a fantastic sci-fi baddie!