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Default System Shock 2 - On Difficulty: A Few Hours With System Shock 2

May 17th, 2013, 01:06
Rock, Paper, Shotgun has a new editorial of the first few hours of System Shock 2 from the perspective of a new player.
Shock 2 reveals just how potent and atmospheric it is to be pathetically weak. It creates a bleakness that’s unachievable by just painting your backgrounds grey-brown and having the gruff post-apocalyptic super-soldiers shout curse words as they trot ever forward. It’s a bleakness that’s not superficially aesthetic, but intrinsic, and overwhelming. I really am overwhelmed by it. My heart is heavy when I think about carrying on playing this obviously excellent game, knowing what an ordeal I’ll be putting myself through.

Where I’m left is divided on how I feel about that. Perhaps it’s my frame of mind at the moment, perhaps I’m getting old, perhaps I’m growing weak. But that just doesn’t strike me as the most appealing notion.

Yes, so jeer at me, condemn me, cancel your subscription and petition in the streets that I have the temerity to write about videogames. I deserve it. But I do want to stress that I’m not settling for the status quo.

System Shock 2, as incredibly difficult, incredibly intense, and incredibly unnerving as it is, has strongly reminded me of what I’m missing from games. Explained to me why I bounced off BioShock: Infinite like it was made of space-rubber. I don’t want everything reduced down to a left or right mouse button, binary choices along predictable skill trees. I loved Dishonored, but Dishonored was a piece of piss. I was a GOD in that game, a GOD amongst puny underlings, crushed beneath my might. And that was probably the major thing wrong with it. Games just aren’t difficult enough, are they? Sure, you can turn the “difficulty” up, but that just makes it harder to get stuff done – not actually harder. A difficulty level doesn’t change the philosophy of a game. So no, I confess, SS2 is over a line for me that I once never had. But it’s revealed a pathway I long to be walking down in more games. Just, maybe, not this one?

Except that I just went back and played a bunch more.
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Last edited by Couchpotato; May 17th, 2013 at 03:04.
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May 17th, 2013, 01:06
Hmm not sure what to make of this commentary. Trying to be edgy? Does anyone know what this means?

Explained to me why I bounced off BioShock: Infinite like it was made of space-rubber.
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May 17th, 2013, 01:13
In terms of dicculty that there is some friction but finally you get through with it anyways like you do with most modern games? It doesn't really have "edges".

I haven't played SS2 nor BS Infinite but after this article and the recent release on steam I am intrigued as I love choices and a high dicciculty in games.
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May 17th, 2013, 02:12
While not as good as the original IMO, SS2 is a very challenging and atmospheric game. If you can handle the primitive 3D graphics of the original (they haven't aged well) and the difficult and complex interface (once you get past the initial learning curve it's not too bad), I'd suggest playing the original first as you'll appreciate the second more.

If God said it, then that settles it!!

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May 17th, 2013, 05:08
Agree that SS2 is nothing compared the original though. System Shock was 5 times the game that SS2 was and even more atmospheric in my not so humble opinion. Also recommend getting a copy with full sound support as there were 2 editions and the one with vocals from Shodan were just plain eerie. But as Corwin says it the graphics make it hard to handle.

Was that the first game with leaning around corners? I remember that it was totally novel the first time I encountered it in the game.
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May 17th, 2013, 06:58
There are SS1 mods today that add the most needed functions for the game (configurable keys, mouse look support and multiple resolutions). These weren't around when I finished it the first time.

http://www.systemshock.org/index.php?topic=1719.0

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May 17th, 2013, 08:59
Originally Posted by figment View Post
Agree that SS2 is nothing compared the original though. System Shock was 5 times the game that SS2 was and even more atmospheric in my not so humble opinion.
Just a touch of hyperbole there.

It's certainly debatable which was the better game. Although SS1 was probably a little better for its time considering how far ahead it was of everything else in 1994.

Personally, I think they're both fantastic, but I don't like to compare them because they're different types of games. SS1 is more of an action-adventure to me, while SS2 is more of a RPG/shooter hybrid with survival horror elements.

I also notice that most people generally favor whichever game they played first.
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May 17th, 2013, 13:04
What is the best way to replay SS1 on windows 8 (64bit) at the moment? I have a CD-ROM version of the game on the shelf or should I just use SS1 portable with integrated mouse look, enhanced text and high resolution mod?
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May 17th, 2013, 15:27
I don't remember SS2 being very difficult. I mean you had to avoid alterattions at the very begining but it wasn't that difficult. Hum. Maybe I missed something. Anyways it was an ok game - not sure it really was the best of the best; I definitly prefered wizardry 8, aow-sm, half-life and a few others over SS2. SS1 i never played so no comments.
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May 17th, 2013, 15:46
Played SS1 and while I failed at the very end (seems like I threw away a recording with a code I needed) I liked the game a lot.
The Intro theme was awesome: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zV6EtVTPiZA

@you: I am one of the few people who can't understand why HL2 is hyped the way it is. I mean on the technical side, HL2 was great. But from todays perspective I find the whole game play horrible. A linear shooter, with lots of boring vehicle levels where you think with each stop "oh no, not another physics riddle…". Not that these would be more interesting in the non-vehicle levels…for me this game equals boredom. Played it the first time 1-2 years ago and didn't finish it as I was bored out. I'd rather play Duke3D, SW or even Duke Nukem Forever

Still waiting for the Wizardry series appearing on gog.com. Only played and finished 6 and 7.
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May 17th, 2013, 17:28
I liked SS1 better because of the level design first and foremost. It was non-linear in an almost perfect way and everything fit together with consistency, considering the various systems of a space station. I also think the story was better and SHODAN was the perfect antagonist. You have to give them credit for creating that bitch

SS2 was better as a shooter and had some RPG elements that added to the overall gameplay.
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May 17th, 2013, 23:21
Originally Posted by Dark Savant View Post
What is the best way to replay SS1 on windows 8 (64bit) at the moment? I have a CD-ROM version of the game on the shelf or should I just use SS1 portable with integrated mouse look, enhanced text and high resolution mod?
SSP, since it's all set up to go. If you start from the CD version you'll end up with something much like an SSP install, it'll just take more time and need more troubleshooting.
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