System Shock Review: A Masterclass in Modernization


Remember the terror? It’s time to reawaken those fears with Nightdive Studios’ haunting reboot of System Shock. The remake of this timeless sci-fi horror classic seizes you by the neural interface and doesn’t let go until you’ve shut down the rogue AI that once gave us all nightmares. With nostalgic 8-bit elements ingeniously woven into a starkly futuristic world, System Shock manages to blur the line between yesterday’s memories and today’s gaming expectations.

System Shock thrusts you back into the boots of that nameless hacker six months after a surgical procedure leaves him in a frenzied Citadel Station. The plot revolves around the hacker’s attempt to rectify the disastrous aftermath of liberating SHODAN, an omnipresent AI, into the realm of sentience. SHODAN wastes no time in turning the station’s inhabitants into grotesque creatures and robotic slaves, all while plotting a similar fate for Earth. With its vivid narrative and unrelenting tension, the remake respects the original game’s roots while adding fresh elements to reinvigorate the story for a modern audience.

The gameplay, while maintaining the immersive cyberpunk aesthetic, offers a blend of nostalgia and innovation. The game’s devil is truly in its details – managing resources, employing varied weapons, and utilizing health and stamina packs in a Tetris-inspired inventory setup enhances the strategic aspect of the game. One of the standout features, however, is the game’s “Hacking” system, which allows you to access new areas and reroute power in a cyberspace teeming with SHODAN’s minions.

However, the game’s shining star, SHODAN herself, is also the source of occasional frustration. Her unpredictable interference, spawning new enemies even after a thorough clearing, certainly amps up the challenge but can lead to sporadic spikes in difficulty. Moreover, the necessity to backtrack due to SHODAN’s control over station access sometimes results in confusion and slows down the game’s pacing.

Comparing this remake to its iconic predecessor, it’s clear that Nightdive Studios has made a considerable effort to keep the spirit of the original intact while catering to modern gaming sensibilities. While the game’s visual update may require some adjustment for old-school fans, the quintessential gameplay experience remains true to its source.

The remake of System Shock has done justice to its classic roots while innovatively breathing new life into it. While some game systems may appear a touch archaic to the contemporary gamer, its compelling storyline, atmospheric setting, and suspenseful gameplay make it a worthy successor. With a nod to the captivating voice acting of Terri Brosius as SHODAN, this game offers an authentic cyberpunk horror experience that effortlessly transports players into the terrifying depths of Citadel Station. Some execution glitches aside, the game’s pros far outweigh its cons.

The System Shock remake is a striking homage to a gaming masterpiece, maintaining its core essence while skilfully modernizing certain aspects. Balancing nostalgia with novelty, it serves as a thrilling ride for both seasoned fans of the original and newcomers to the series. Despite its minor misses, it’s an adventure that every sci-fi horror gaming enthusiast should embark upon.

RATING: 4.5 out of 5.0

System Shock is now available for PC.

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