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System Shock 2
System Shock 2
Information
Developed by Looking Glass Studios
Irrational Games
Published by Electronic Arts
Nightdive Studios (Re-Release)
Release Date August 11, 1999
May 10, 2013 (Re-Release)
Platform(s) Windows
Mac OS X
Linux
Genre First-Person Shooter
Role-Playing Game
Science Fiction
Horror
Immersive Sim
[Source]

System Shock 2 is the sequel to System Shock. The game was released on August 11th, 1999. It was originally designed as a standalone title (Junction Point) with no relation to the previous game. Story changes were made when Electronic Arts (who owned the System Shock franchise rights at that time) signed on as publisher. Like its predecessor, it did not sell well, even though it received positive reviews.

Despite being obscure and hard to find for many years, System Shock 2 is now available for purchase on Good Old Games (GOG), GamersGate, and Steam.

Plot

See Also: Citadel Station Aftermath

The story begins in 2114, 42 years after the events of System Shock. After joining the United Nations Nominate, the protagonist, SOLDIER G65434-2, is assigned to UNN Rickenbacker, a military starship. The Rickenbacker is escorting Von Braun, an experimental Faster-Than-Light starship on its maiden voyage. As the Rickenbacker does not have an FTL system of its own, the two ships are attached together for the trip.

A few months into the journey, the ship's respond to a distress signal from the planet Tau Ceti V. A rescue team is sent to the planet surface where they discover strange eggs. The eggs infect the rescue team and integrate them into an alien communion that calls itself The Many. The infestation eventually overtakes both ships.

The soldier awakens in a Cryo tube on the MedSci Deck of the Von Braun with amnesia due to a computer malfunction. He is immediately contacted by another survivor, Dr. Janice Polito, who guides him to safety before the cabin depressurizes. She demands that he rendezvous with her on the Operations Deck of the Von Braun. Along the way, the soldier battles the infected crew members. The Many also telepathically communicate with him, attempting to persuade the soldier to join their collective.

After restarting the ship's engine core and purging an elevator shaft, the soldier reaches Deck 4 and discovers Polito is dead. He is confronted by SHODAN, a malevolent Artificial Intelligence that devastated Citadel Station in the previous game. It is revealed she has been posing as Polito to gain the soldier's trust.

She goes on to mention that she is responsible for creating The Many, the results of her bio-engineering experiments on Citadel Station. The Hacker ejected the Grove that contained her experiments to prevent them contaminating Earth, an act that also allowed part of SHODAN to survive the events of the first game. The Grove crash-landed on Tau Ceti V. While SHODAN went into forced "hibernation", The Many evolved beyond her control.

SHODAN issues an ultimatum to the soldier, stating his only chance for survival lies in helping destroy her rebellious creations. SHODAN informs the soldier that destroying the Von Braun is their only option, but he must transmit her program to the Rickenbacker first. While en route, the soldier briefly encounters two survivors, Thomas Suarez and Rebecca Siddons, who flee the ship aboard an escape pod.

With the transfer complete, the soldier travels to the Rickenbacker and learns both ships have been enveloped by the infection source, a gigantic mass of bio-organic tissue. The soldier enters the biomass and destroys its core, stopping the alien infection. SHODAN congratulates the protagonist and informs him of her intentions to merge real space and cyberspace by subverting the reality-altering mechanics of the Von Braun's Faster-Than-Light drive. The soldier confronts SHODAN in cyberspace and defeats her.

The final scene shows Thomas and Rebecca receiving a message from the Von Braun. Thomas responds, saying they will return and that Rebecca is acting strange. Rebecca is shown speaking in a voice similar to that of SHODAN, asking Tommy if he "likes her new look", as the screen fades to black.

Gameplay

See Also: System Shock 2 Controls

Like its predecessor, gameplay in System Shock 2 is an amalgamation of the role-playing game (RPG) and first person shooter (FPS) genres. The player uses melee and projectile weapons to defeat enemies, while a role-playing system allows the development of useful abilities. Navigation is presented from a first-person perspective and complemented with a heads-up display that shows character and weapon information, a map, and a drag and drop inventory. Backstory is explained progressively through the acquisition of Audio Logs and encounters with ghostly apparitions.

The game begins with the player choosing a career in a branch of the United National Nominate, a military organization. Each branch of service gives the player a set of starting bonuses in certain skills, though he may thereafter freely develop himself as he pleases. Marines begin with bonuses to weapons, Navy Officers are trained in Hacking and Repairing, and O.S.A. Agents get a starting set of Psionic Powers.

The player can upgrade his skills by spending "Cybernetic Modules" which are obtained as rewards for completing objectives or by searching every nook and cranny of the ship. Skills are enhanced by spending Cyber Modules at devices called "Upgrade Units". Rare "O/S Upgrade Machines" allow special, one-time upgrades (e.g. permanent health enhancement). In-game currency called "Nanites" may be spent on items at vending machines known as Replicators. "Quantum Bio-Reconstruction Machines" can be activated and reconstitute the player for 10 Nanites (or for free on Easy difficulty) if they die in the same area. Otherwise, the game ends and progress must be resumed from a save point.

The player can Hack devices such as Keypads to gain access to various areas, or Replicators to reduce their prices. When a Hack is attempted, a mini interface with grid of green nodes appears ; the player must connect three in a row to succeed. Optionally, electronic "lock picks" can be used to automatically bypass security of any hackable device.

Various weapons can be found throughout the game, they are classified as Standard (Pistol, Shotgun, Rifle), Energy, Heavy and Exotic (alien) Weapons. Non-melee weapons degrade with use and will break if they are not regularly repaired with maintenance tools. Different ammunition types exist which are more effective to various types of enemies. For example, organic enemies are vulnerable to Anti-Personnel Rounds, while mechanical foes are weak against Armor-Piercing Rounds. Because ammunition is somewhat scarce, the player must use it sparingly and carefully search rooms for supplies. Additionally, players can Research unknown items and enemy weaknesses, by sampling their organs and combining chemicals found in storage rooms. Software upgrades can be found to help with Research. Psionic Powers can also be learned, such as invisibility, fireballs and teleportation.

Weapons

Standard Weapons
Energy Weapons
Heavy Weapons
Exotic Weapons

Psi Disciplines

Main article: Psionic Disciplines

Psi Disciplines/Powers are divided into five Tiers:

  • Tier One - Tier One Powers cost 1 Psi Point to use. Tier One Ability increases your maximum Psi Points by 2.
  • Tier Two - Tier Two Powers cost 2 Psi Points to use. Tier Two Ability increases your maximum Psi Points by 4.
  • Tier Three - Tier Three Powers cost 3 Psi Points to use. Tier Three Ability increases your maximum Psi Points by 6.
  • Tier Four - Tier Four Powers cost 4 Psi Points to use. Tier Four Ability increases your maximum Psi Points by 8.
  • Tier Five - Tier Five Powers cost 5 Psi Points to use. Tier Five Ability increases your maximum Psi Points by 10.

Multiplayer

The game also features a cooperative multiplayer where two to four people can play the game together.

Characters

Soundtrack

Many of the tracks are not named, but are rather named after their respective level.

  1. Irrational Games Logo
  2. Med Sci 1
  3. Med Sci 2
  4. Engineering
  5. Hydro 1
  6. Hydro 2
  7. Ops 1
  8. Ops 2
  9. Ops 3
  10. Rec
  11. Command 1
  12. Command 2
  13. Command 3
  14. Credits
  15. Intro Cutscene
  16. Cutscene 2
  17. End Cutscene

Versions

System Shock 2: The original version.

System Shock 2: Enhanced Edition: A tweaked re-release of the game, to be available on Steam and Good Old Games (GOG).

Media

Images

Videos

Modding

Main article: ShockEd

There is a strong modding community built up around this game. Some of the most known mods are the SHTUP mod that offers highly detailed high resolution textures and the Reborn mod which changes models and skins.[1]

Trivia

  • Based on the date stamps on Audio Logs directed at the player and describing events contemporaneous with the gameplay, the game takes place largely on July 11th and 12th, 2114 (Friends and Enemies, Last Words). The landing party from Tau Ceti V appears to have returned around June 20th, 2114 (All Work, No Play). Other logs suggest the player underwent his surgery on or before July 6th, 2114 (What Gives?), but probably not much earlier than June 25th (Strange AI), given it was SHODAN who ordered it (Rebirth and Salvation). This indicates that the player's healing coma lasted between 4 days and 3 weeks.
  • A Sega Dreamcast port was originally planned with a short demo released, but was eventually cancelled.
  • Some have compared the conflict between SHODAN and The Many, and the fact that you are a cyborg in the middle to themes found in games like Bioshock. However, the game doesn’t focus on that idea much if at all (outside of visuals) and is used differently than those other games.
  • Localized German version of the game was heavily censored to avoid being banned. All blood have been turned green and some bodies (like the hanging corpse in MedSci Deck) have been removed.

See Also

External Links





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