Universal acclaim - based on 20 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 20 out of 20
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 20
  3. Negative: 0 out of 20
Buy On
  1. 100
    The first game was an undeniable classic that could easily be ruined in the wrong hands. We're here to tell you to pack those fears away in a box because this is the dream sequel.
  2. Bar none, the best FPS game to come down the pipe in quite awhile...By successfully blending the RPG and action elements, System Shock 2 has assured its place in gaming history.
  3. If playing games is more of a religion than a hobby to you, meet your new bible...System Shock 2 will scare the hell right out of you -- and you'll like it for that reason.
  4. 100
    Even with the amazing achievements in other areas of the game, one of the most under-appreciated, but ultimately useful, components of SS2 is its interface.
  5. Irrational Games and Looking Glass have produced one of the best games I've ever played. System Shock 2 is truly scary, smart, challenging, fascinating, and disturbing. I recommend it to any adventurous adventure player.
  6. 100
    Never has a game gripped my attention so completely, it was able to throw me from my chair while trying to dodge an attack, lean forward to be one inch from the screen, or throw my mouse off the table in an effort to get away from an enemy.
  7. It's scary, it's atmospheric, it has a great plot, and it rewards the thinking player more than the fragaholic.
  8. PC Gamer
    One of the most immersive, emotive, addictive, and just plain fun computer games we've ever played. [Oct 1999, p.122]
  9. Like RPGs? Like to be scared? System Shock 2 shows that a game can please you on a multitude of levels: visual, auditory, and emotional.
  10. The creators of the game must have had an affinity for the art of suspense because this game was a thriller all the way through. Top it all off with absolutely wonderful gameplay, be it puzzles or action, and you have the masterpiece that is System Shock 2.
  11. A gaming triumph...More astonishingly, they've created a system of classes and abilities that are so varied that there's a compelling reason to actually play through the game more than once.
  12. 90
    An amazingly well crafted example of the genre that combines raw action with horror and suspense to deliver a gameplay experience that is very different from anything else on the shelves.
  13. Simply put, the creepy atmosphere is incredible. Forget those survival horror games full of cheap scares and dark alleys. System Shock 2 manages to frighten without succumbing to horror contrivances. Considering this game is six years old, it truly is an achievement. [Aug 2005]
  14. Boy, did System Shock 2 suck me in and not let me go. It’s been two weeks since I got this game and I look forward to playing it every day.
  15. A frightening game to the point that I found myself having to take breaks from playing just to ease the tension in my shoulders.
  16. A hybrid game that effectively blends elements from a variety of genres into a thoroughly enjoyable and accessible package.
  17. Despite my grumbling about the artificial intelligence,...what I enjoy about System Shock 2 is the high degree of freedom you have in deciding what directions to develop your character.
  18. While not as incredibly rich and engrossing as "Half Life" (though, frankly, I got bored of that faster than I got bored with SS2), it is nonetheless a very solid game.
  19. There is only one major criterion System Shock 2 fails to hit. Graphically, it isn't so special.
  20. Utterly immersive in its use of character attachment and amnesiac story-telling, it is a game that will honestly give you the sweats...It's all about replacing your shorts every half-hour or so.
User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 566 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 25 out of 566
  1. Feb 9, 2011
    This is one of the greatest and underrated PC games of all time, simply terrifying to play with its unparalleled level of ambient horror thisThis is one of the greatest and underrated PC games of all time, simply terrifying to play with its unparalleled level of ambient horror this is the RPS that defined the genre and has set the standard for future games in this category. Dead Space/Bioshock/Deus Ex - all the others stem from SS2 and it's no surprise why.
    The gameplay is superior to SS1 and the sound and voice acting are some of, if not the best I have ever heard in my years of gaming. To me reviewing this in 2011 after playing it for about 8 years - this is the pinnacle of PC gaming and if you can get your hands on a copy and get it running then you are in for a world of horrific joy!
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  2. Cynewulf
    Nov 18, 2008
    Simply one of the finest games ever created. One of very few games that reduced me to cowering in a corner listening intently for any signs Simply one of the finest games ever created. One of very few games that reduced me to cowering in a corner listening intently for any signs of movement. The graphics may not be up to standard these days but there's no way this game should be marked down for that. Perfection! Rest in peace Looking Glass. Full Review »
  3. Feb 20, 2013
    Before we start. I was born in Nov. 85. and was about 14 when this game was released, I remember specifically playing this game with myBefore we start. I was born in Nov. 85. and was about 14 when this game was released, I remember specifically playing this game with my brother, and although never advancing beyond the first Deck, the game still gave me a lasting impression of it being an amazing game.

    System Shock 2 is a Sci-Fi Survival Horror game, it all starts on the ship The Von Braun, which is a type of research vessel, and the most advanced ship the human species has manged to build, you get interrupted in your cryo sleep by another survivor, and told that the ship is under some kind of attack. Even today the game manages to make you feel like you're on a space ship, running down corridors down in engineering to fix something, or rummaging around in a cargo bay for clues. And the game doesn't use levels, as such, you often have to go down to lower levels after you've been other places, and if you research objects you'll often try and remember where the last Chemical Storeroom was. You're on a desolate ship with Aliens that hate you, and want you dead, and an AI that won't hide the fact that you're but a puppet or insect to her, doing as she demands. You do hear from survivors every now and then, but it's far in between, and most of the time you just feel like you're working with someone who just hates you a little less than the creatures who wants to kill you do.

    I always have 2 fears when playing old games, one of them is graphics, is it so bad that I'll be taken out of the experience? And the second is gameplay, nostalgia is a hell of a thing, and shows us how deceptive our brains can be. I always try and be objective atleast. Imo this game stands up just fine on gameplay, mouse and keyboard just works, and even some of the more different ways of doing things feel natural, like right clicking to interact with things, there's no hand holding, but I was very rarely so lost that I couldn't find my way eventually, although some of the levels for me were a lot of brute forcing just walking back and forth, so that can be frustrating.
    One thing I honestly loved was how much of a panic I was in when I saw a spider because I knew I didn't have enough anti Tox syringes to save myself if I got bit, it caused me to go into such a panic I would just flee and do something insanely stupid, and I don't even have arachnophobia. The combat is the most dated probably. Even the biggest creatures can pretty easily be defeated using melee weapons, although you do have to step back a few times.

    One of the things that completely freaked me out as a kid was the fact that you heard the tormented voices of the infected, saying: I'm sorry! or Kill me! As they were hitting, or shooting you, just the idea of being possessed and doing things you normally wouldn't was a really spooky thing, there's a lot of cool things like that, like you'll hear them speak as they are looking for you, and it seems clear they are very aware of your presence. The music worked really well too, it was weird sometimes when I went through a door, and the music changed to something completely different, but I still really liked the soundtrack, and there was something about the music in the Hydroponics area that made my heart pumping. And Shodan just sounds cool every time she speaks.(Looloolooook at you, hahahaaacker!).

    Ok this is a bit of a cheat, didn't play it with it's original graphics, I got a texture mod, as well as some model updates, and environmental mods(Plants, goo etc.), and with these mods the game looks great, it's not perfect, but it's a lot better than triangle hands, and square and flat faces. The game looks old if you don't have any mods on it, it might be charming, but the mods I installed didn't make the experience less epic, or scary.

    I rarely find myself compelled to play games like crazy, it has to have an interesting story. I got Bioshock after I heard it was basically an alternative take on System Shock 2, but I honestly couldn't be bothered after a while, and I wasn't at all as captivated as I was during my play through with System Shock 2. The game isn't perfect, I hoped there would be a few choices towards the end, but other than that, the game shows that games back in the 90's were onto something, something that's been missing in most recent games.
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