Remakes are becoming more and more common in the gaming industry. After the success of remakes like Shadow of the Colossus and Demon’s Souls, fans are clamoring for more of their favorite classic titles to be given the modern treatment. However, some remakes carry a little more weight than others and are trying to recapture something that was a little more special than simply a retro title that was pretty good. One such remake is System Shock Remake by Nightdive Studios.
Originally funded through a Kickstarter campaign, remaking such a legendary game has not been an easy task, as it carries with it a boatload of legendary pedigree. The Deus Ex and BioShock series, as well as 2017’s Prey, are all spiritual successors to System Shock and its sequel. As such, the series’ influence on the game’s development is undeniable. However, System Shock is also an excellent sci-fi survival horror game in its own right, meeting all the challenging and scary standards of the genre. It’s easy to make a critical mistake when exploring Citadel Station, and there are a few key tips players should keep in mind when trying to take down SHODAN.10 Save Constantly
There’s a mechanic to System Shock that hasn’t persisted in modern games. Almost every level of Citadel Station contains a Restoration Bay that is controlled by SHODAN, who use it to convert humans into cyborg slaves. Players need to find these restore bays and end their conversion process (done by pulling a lever somewhere nearby) in order to be able to respawn in that level.
The problem is that restore bays can be anywhere. Sometimes they are at the beginning of the level, sometimes they appear much later. Until activated, player deaths will result in a “Game Over” screen, forcing them to reload a save. Until the level’s Restoration Bay is found (and even then simply because it’s a good habit), players must constantly save to avoid losing progress.9 Keep track of quest items
Virtually everything players pick up from Citadel Station will take up some space in their inventory, with the only exception being keycards. The inventory works similarly to Resident Evil, with a grid system where different items require a different amount of space.
By managing their inventory, players will discard, recycle, and vaporize various items they no longer need. However, they can easily do this with quest items without realizing the mistake until it’s too late. Therefore, it is important to remember which items are quest items and to avoid destroying them. It’s worth mentioning that the game will prevent players from making this mistake on the lowest difficulty.8 Pick up (and empty) lost weapons
After players defeat a group of enemies, they often find that those enemies have dropped their weapons upon death. Even if these weapons are duplicates of something players already own – or are simply a weapon they aren’t interested in carrying around – they should still pick them up.
There are two reasons for this. First, these weapons often contain stored ammo, which players can empty from their inventory screen, adding that ammo to their reserves. Then, players can vaporize or recycle the now-empty weapon, turning it into a large amount of scrap metal or credits that they can spend along the way.7 Find a Sparqbeam
There are several types of weapons found in System Shock. Players will start with their trusty wrench, which is great for melee attacks. They’ll find a Minigun shortly after, which fires ballistic bullets. After that, if you look carefully, you might find a Sparqbeam.
The reason why this weapon is ideal early in the game is that instead of bullets it uses energy. Bullets are a finite resource, but as long as players locate a charging station nearby, their Sparqbeam can fire an infinite number of times. There is a Sparqbeam located in the Beta Quadrant of the Medical area on Level One, but these will also be dropped by most early game enemies.6 Vaporize Regularly
As stated earlier, players will collect all kinds of items as they progress through the game. Some will be quest items, weapons, ammo, or healing items. Others will be useless junk, which will be indicated by a red background. Any junk players collect – as well as items they no longer want or need – can be vaporized, which is done from the inventory screen.
Vaporizing will turn these items into scrap, and 10 scrap can be exchanged for 1 credit at recycling stations around the map. Alternatively, players can take items directly to the Recycling Station. After all, this is the 2070s, everything is recyclable. By highlighting the item in question, they can see how many credits it will earn through recycling, which will help them decide whether vaping it is worth it or not.
At its core, System Shock is a survival horror game. It has action and first-person shooter elements, but the scarcity of ammo and resources is undeniably a feature meant to encourage cautious and patient gameplay.
Because of this, players will find the ability to lean into corners invaluable. It can be used to take down enemies without alerting others, or simply explore an area without attracting attention. Either way, players should make it a habit to scout the next area before entering it fully.4 Get familiar with the Map
This tip might seem obvious, but the levels in Citadel Station are huge. Despite being confined to one main location, dozens of rooms and circular paths will welcome the player into each new area, and there’s usually no clear indication of which path will lead to progress.
As such, players will make constant use of the game’s map and should become familiar with both its layout and what its various symbols indicate. Not being able to remember where that last Recharging Station was can be a dangerous situation, and the map is the ideal tool to get out of it.3 Explore every corner
Another feature of the System Shock map is that it will indicate which rooms have been fully explored and cleared and which still contain hidden items or secrets. Not all of these items will be valuable, but many of them will be.
Therefore, it is worth exploring each area of the map in detail. Players never know when they’ll discover a pass to a new area, a new weapon, a hardware accessory, or any of the aforementioned recycling, recharging, or restoring stations.2 Save powerful weapons
There’s a mindset that modern games have tried (and failed) to discourage where players keep their best items because they might need them later. Inevitably, these players end up with a bunch of powerful items as they make their way to the final boss fight and never get a chance to use most of them. This is less of a concern on System Shock.
In fact, it’s good practice for players to keep their best items until they face a tough enemy. Often, players trying to take on this enemy with the Sparqbeam or other standard weapon will face an uphill battle. Switching to the best weapon they have will make those tough fights go much smoother.1 ammo match for enemies
There are a variety of ammo types that players will use on their journey through Citadel Station. There are kinetic and energy weapons, but each of them can be changed to deal damage in different ways and will be more effective against different types of enemies.
When encountering enemies, players must use their target identifier to determine the best ammo type to use, then switch to it before engaging in combat. As a general rule, organic enemies are weaker to kinetic weapons and robotic enemies are weak to energy weapons, but with ammo types like armor-piercing and incendiary bullets available, there’s a lot more nuance to be found in each encounter.
System Shock Remake was released on May 30, 2023 and is available on PC, with current and next-gen console versions planned for the near future.