System Shock 2 Image
Metascore
92

Universal acclaim - based on 20 Critics What's this?

User Score
9.1

Universal acclaim- based on 446 Ratings

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  • Summary: Like System Shock 1, there will be persistent levels (i.e., drop an item on one level, and you could go back later to retrieve it), gameplay elements like logs, inventory, skills, persistent world, leaning, hacking, rpg elements, multiple weapons and enemies, and a compelling storyline.Like System Shock 1, there will be persistent levels (i.e., drop an item on one level, and you could go back later to retrieve it), gameplay elements like logs, inventory, skills, persistent world, leaning, hacking, rpg elements, multiple weapons and enemies, and a compelling storyline. Unlike most other first person shooters, the purpose of System Shock was not to kill everything in sight; nor was it a "find the key to move onto the next level" game. The plot was always present, but not so confining as in traditional shooters - there was almost always more than one task to accomplish. Levels were realistically designed and had logical reasons behind them. It is the principle of System Shock 2 to continue this game design. [sshock2.com] Expand
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 20 out of 20
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 20
  3. Negative: 0 out of 20
  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. 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.
  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. 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]
  5. 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.
  6. A frightening game to the point that I found myself having to take breaks from playing just to ease the tension in my shoulders.
  7. 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.

See all 20 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 90 out of 97
  2. Negative: 3 out of 97
  1. TheHacker
    Aug 14, 2006
    10
    System Shock 2 received a lukewarm market reception and suffered from the closing of its development studio shortly after release. Despite System Shock 2 received a lukewarm market reception and suffered from the closing of its development studio shortly after release. Despite the obvious troubles Looking Glass were experiencing financially, System Shock 2 was released to universal critical acclaim. And rightly so. Every element of this Science Fiction FPS/RPG is so close to perfection it is almost a religious experience to behold. [***SPOILERS***] Your journey through the halls of the Von Braun on her maiden voyage gone awry is one of wonder, excitement, trepidation and outright terror, all convincingly fit into an RPG that was (for its time) uniquely set in the first person without feeling shoehorned. Character building is balanced, rewarding and essentially requires enough thought and planning to satisfy RPG fanatics without being inaccessible to fans of the more arcade style FPS genre. The interface is clean, clear, informative and functional. Each item has a complete text file attached giving its history, stat requirements and method of use, giving a sense of depth to the System Shock universe and even filling many story gaps from the previous game. The storyline is rich, detailed and full of the kind of incidental information that makes the Lord of the Rings feel like a living breathing world. As mentioned above, each and every item, from weapons and health items to potted plants and bottles of whisky have their own lovingly crafted place in the overarching plot of the System Shock world. Gameplay is closely linked to the main story and follows as a direct sequel to the original game in a manner that would make most Hollywood script writers embarrassed of their work. Each morsel of storyline, sparingly fed to you throughout the game, is like a treasure uncovered, another piece of the jigsaw slotted into place. Coupled with satisfyingly cerebral and often intense combat in both the ranged and melee departments, it still stands out as one of the most well crafted FPS games in existence. Sound is a standout feature, with an attention to detail more acute than is given to entire games. The low hum of machinery, the various computer noises, the inane chatter of the ship's droids and the tormented ramblings of your ill-fated crewmates will all conspire to build a tension so thick that it becomes almost unbearable. Much of the story is told through audio logs from dead or missing crewmates and the voice acting must be heard to be believed. If even one quarter of the games released today had this quality of voice acting, the gaming industry would be a much better place. The single drawback of System Shock 2 is in the graphical department. Whilst the concept design of the Von Braun, the items and the creatures which inhabit the ship are of exceptional quality, the Dark engine didn't allow the game to be a shining example of graphical prowess, even at release. That said, everything is functional and well made, but the low number of polys on the characters is a drawback, however small. System Shock 2 is easily one of the best games ever produced in this world or any other. Smart, tense action backed up by a surprisingly deep character development system makes this the ultimate 'thinking man's shooter' and will be no doubt held in the hearts of gamers as an overlooked gem for many years. Expand
  2. Feb 9, 2011
    10
    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!
    Expand
  3. JohnLama
    Mar 3, 2008
    10
    This is such an easy review, it's the greatest game ever made. If you haven't played it, get it now! Don't think I've overThis is such an easy review, it's the greatest game ever made. If you haven't played it, get it now! Don't think I've over hyped this game, you can't it really is that good. If you are a game developer reading this, please, please play this game and learn from it. We don't need another boring shooter with no atmosphere and a plot to fall asleep to. We need a System Shock 3. Expand
  4. Jul 14, 2013
    10
    System Shock 2 is simply one of the greatest games ever!
    It's VERY atmospheric and it's an only FPS game in my Top5 list of all times
    System Shock 2 is simply one of the greatest games ever!
    It's VERY atmospheric and it's an only FPS game in my Top5 list of all times
    (others are: Heroes 3 wog, X-Com 1/2, Master of Orion 2 and Civilization series).
    10 out of 10 -
    Strongly recommended!
    Expand
  5. Jul 15, 2013
    10
    System Shock 2 is everything I look for in a game. Great gameplay, great story, nice graphics, great soundtrack, great atmosphere, uncanninglySystem Shock 2 is everything I look for in a game. Great gameplay, great story, nice graphics, great soundtrack, great atmosphere, uncanningly amazing voice acting. The player models are a bit "ugh" but aside from that the graphics are quite good for the time it was released. The one thing I didn't really like about it was that the default controls really suck. W is forward (as usual), but A and D were turn left and right, respectivly, and S was crouch, whereas Z and C were strafe left and right, respectivly, and X was backward. Of course, this can be easily changed, so it is but a minor annoyance.
    The thing that first hit me about this game was the tutorial. Most of the time, the tutorials in games are crudly done (Half-Life) or very vague (Ghost Recon) if existant at all (Day of Defeat). System Shock 2 takes tutorials to a whole new level. It's very thorough and fits into the storyline like a cute glove. And if you're on your second playthrough, you can skip the tutorial completely. However, if it is your first time playing, you really should play it. This is not just another FPS. This is unique.
    So how much is this worth? More than Steam is selling it for. If you don't like RPGs, you wouldn't like this. If you only play modern games because "GWAFIXXXXX", stop it for this game. You can't just not play it.
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  6. Apr 3, 2012
    9
    I'd consider this one an underground classic. SS2 introduced RPG elements to the FPS genre before it become trendy years later, so in thatI'd consider this one an underground classic. SS2 introduced RPG elements to the FPS genre before it become trendy years later, so in that regard it was ahead of its time. The main drawbacks are that I can't get the game to run on any version of Windows newer than XP, and the weapons are unbalanced (all you really need is the Assault Rifle, provided you have enough ammo). Aside from those negative points, you can hack computer terminals and turrets, kill aliens and rip out their organs to research their weaknesses, get more intel on the game plot through emails and audio logs, and acquire psionic disciplines (akin to magic powers, but a Psi-Amp is required). Bioshock's resemblance in gameplay is no coincidence. It's also worth noting the survival horror element of the game - it's a creepy atmosphere all around. It's like a cyberpunk Resident Evil. Overall, I consider System Shock 2 to be a cult classic in the gaming industry. A must play at some point in your life. Expand
  7. ShawnDarichuk
    Jul 9, 2008
    0
    This game is broken to the point of being unplayable. I don't get a gun when I start, I'm told that I can't even use the gun IThis game is broken to the point of being unplayable. I don't get a gun when I start, I'm told that I can't even use the gun I just found (because people in the military don't know what guns are), and my only weapon is a wrench. Wow, isn't that fun.
    Easily the worst PC game ever made.
    Expand

See all 97 User Reviews