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Reviewed: System Shock 2
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Developer: Irrational Games / Looking Glass Studios
Genre Type: RPG/FPS
Price: $49.95
Required System: P200, 32mb Ram, 4mb Direct3D Accelerator, 200mb HD, Win95+
Reviewer's System: PII300, 64mb Ram, TNT, Win98
Related Games: Thief
Overall Rating:
Author: Chris Kim       Date: August 27th 1999
Page: 4


 
Final Breakdown

Gameplay:

Absolute gem is what will sum up what this game plays and feels like. The best way to describe this game is a RPG game with a hybrid of several FPS things tossed in with a FPS view. The most noticeable feature about this game is that the game is not combat based, but rather focuses on the feat of accomplishing various tasks to get the player around the Von Braun and escape alive. Just like RPG games, a major set of inventory is set where the player is given several options on what to do with the various items, statistics where the player is given various skills such as strength and agility, modify/repair/maintain skills to weapons which let the user do various things to the weapons. Those are just a few of the skills available to the player while in the game. More so than just regular RPG game, all combat is in real time via the FPS perspective, however, unlike a FPS game, combat is not all simple with blasting ammo and shooting. Rather, combat must be planned, time, and must contain strategy involved, simply running up and trying to bash the enemies will not work and using up all of the awesome weapons will deplete the stash of ammo which the player might have. A lot of interaction between the player and Polito with emails on how to get past certain situations is awesome. The game can also be played from either of the three classes, Marines (strength and weapons), Navy (agility and hacking), or OSA (PSI skills). The environment is so immersive that the game must be played to get the true experience out of it. This is the first game that has ever scared the heck out of me.

Graphics:

Environments are very well rendered and look excellent. The creepy lighting effects of the walls, lamps, and other light bearing structures give off earie glows which adds even more to the creepy environment. Blood stains and dead human bodies were a very creepy addition. Pipes, walls, turrets, cameras, all have a lot of detail and look extremely realistic. Computer interfaces look impressive, what a player would expect a futuristic computer console to look like. However, the game has a few faults in the engine. The graphics resolution is limited to a 1024x768x16-Bit Color Depth which by today's standards, is a bit small and color resolution is quite limited. With implementation of 32-Bit Color, the game really could have look astounding. The models of the hybrids are, however, very unimpressive. The body movements are quite realistic, but the shape and modeling of the hybrids don't stimulate. The body doesn't appear to have any dimension to it, and the faces look like a scare crow with the pointed nose. The explosions are also not too impressive. But overall, the graphics do please.

Sound and Music:

Another crucial part of this game is the sound experience. Sound plays a huge part in how immersive and awe inspiring experience the game provides. With support for both major 3D sound API's, the sound engine is souped up. The soundcard which the game was tested on is the Xitel Storm Platinum which is an A3D 2.0 enhanced Aureal Vortex 2 chipset based soundcard. The sound is very impressive, from the voice acting to the actual sound effects of gun shots, hybrids chanting, logs, and emails. The sound is positional extremely well thanks to use of the 3D sound API's and provide an even more invigorating gaming experience. True sound effects make moans and monkey screeches really coming from a location either behind or to the right which make the player actually feel like they are in the game. Electrical sparks may trigger events to the player which they will be distracted by some monsters or another figure. The music also is very appropriate at times, some locations a techno sound track is given, while at other times it is dead silent, pumping the adrenaline level even higher of the player.

Multiplayer: N/A

Unfortunately, multiplayer is not found in this game.

AI Intelligence and Difficulty:

Adding actually intelligent AI was important to this game because there are no multiplayer options what so ever. And the AI is very strong in the game. The AI engine actually seems to utilize the fact that the player can hide in the shadows and creep around if the player moves around very quietly going undetected by enemies. Player alerts are extremely important in the game such as sound warnings, explosions, and taunts. Hybrids, humans that were raised from the dead which were killed earlier with a zombie body in between, are relatively dumb, they will not notice a huge bullet shot in their body until it's almost too late. The method of attack they have is just to run up and beat the living daylight out of the player. Other stronger units include the cybernetic monkeys who have psi powers and large maintainence robots who have gone haywire because of SHODAN controlling the Von Braun ship. The game is an extremely difficult game because of the fact that the game is not a simple run and destroy everything game. Certain things are better left unharmed and undetected, otherwise expect massive failure to the missions. The difficulty is also adjustable with four different settings, easy up to impossible, which really is impossible. The enemies are super charged, AI is much smarter, and extremely difficult to play.

Controls and Interface:

Having almost complete freedom is quite different for a FPS or RPG game. This game offers the player to move about with complete freedom, while still restricted to the one view. The player can look completely up or down, and all aiming of the weapons must be controlled by the player. This will be a major burden for some players as they are used to having the weapons auto shoot or aim. But this freedom provides for a better realistic gaming experience. The inventory is also not as nice as it could have been, the player cannot move around or change their position while in the inventory screen allowing the player be exposed to danger while using the inventory.

Overall:

Impressive game with extremely impressive gameplay, graphics, sound, and AI. The game is a winner, the experience is extremely immersive and should not be missed by any gamer. However, the lack of multiplayer and nice interface may turn away some gamers, the game offers a ton of replay value with the different characters available. A patch will be release that will add Co-Op multiplayer so some gamers may want to wait out for that, never the less, System Shock 2 has to be one of the best games to come across the GU desks.

Glide Underground Editors Choice Award
Pluses (+)
  • Immersive Game Experience
  • Well Rendered Environments
  • Unique Game
  • Awesome Sound Interface
  • Impressive AI and Very Hard
  • Minuses (-)
  • Interface Takes a While to Adjust To
  • Some Graphics Are Not Too Nice
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    Added:  Friday, August 27, 1999
    Reviewer:  Chris Kim
    Score:
    Page: 4/4

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