After years of uncertainty and anticipation, System Shock has made its triumphant return and this remake is even better than I could have hoped. This Unreal Engine remake carefully straddles the line between modern and retro gaming, delivering a heartfelt interpretation of a classic. To give a better sense of what developer Nightdive has accomplished, we’ll compare the remake to the original, explore its history and share some thoughts on performance too. This might be one of the best remakes ever made.
System Shock was originally developed by Looking Glass Technologies, a small Massachusetts studio known for its innovation. They pioneered a genre now known as the immersive sim, where players are plunged into a world where choices matter, problems can be solved systematically and thinking outside the box can be critical to success. The original Ultima Underworld games contained the genesis of this idea, but System Shock would be the studio’s masterpiece. If you’ve ever played Bioshock, Prey 2017 or Deus Ex, among many others, you can thank System Shock for paving the way.
System Shock’s release in 1994 may have come as a shock to players who had discovered first-person gaming through Doom and Wolfenstein, but beneath the clunky interface and abstract visuals lay a game unlike anything else on the market at the time. Facing off against the AI Shodan, you’ll explore the many floors of Citadel Station non-linearly, unravelling the mystery through audio logs and emails – a fresh concept at the time.