System Shock review - SHODAN steals the show in this faithful remake (2023)

A remake that closely follows the original classic, with a slightly different overall effect.

As a newcomer to System Shock, I'd like to take a moment and declare my undying love for SHODAN, aka Sentient Hyper-Optimised Data Access Network, aka the murderous AI villain who engulfs the entire remake. Literally. As a captured hacker onboard the Citadel space station, you've been asked to remove the "ethical constraints" from the station's artificial intelligence (that's SHODAN) in an obviously shady exchange. You get back your freedom plus a cool cybernetic implant, and the megacorp executive who's in charge of the operation gets to do evil things with the new ethically unconstrained station.

Things don't work out for either of you. Months pass by and you've woken up, still on the Citadel, but this time the humans have turned into bloodthirsty mutants, killer robots and cyborgs attack with a vengeance, and my beloved SHODAN runs the whole bleak party.

(Video) System Shock Remake Review-All difficulties, all systems detailed

The System Shock remake begins in much the same way as 1994's original game. Exactly the same events take place, but they've been rejigged. The opening cutscene to the original System Shock has this noisy, head-bopping beat playing in the background. The retro animation was kind of surreal, almost like it was straight out of a fever dream. The remake blunts some of that energy in exchange for something more palatable.

I'm focusing on the introduction because I think it's emblematic of the entire remake. Developer Nightdive's updated System Shock is a very faithful remake - sometimes shockingly so - recreating much of the Citadel's zig-zagging layout as it was three decades ago, but the original's somewhat intimidating quirks have been ironed out, replaced, or straight-up removed. That faithfulness means that System Shock (2023) doesn't quite stand up next to the many great games that System Shock (1994) inspired. Though it does mean that the classic's pleasures are now easier to enjoy than ever, made more approachable for a modern audience.

(Video) System Shock Remake - 15 Things YOU NEED TO KNOW Before You Buy

The overall structure here is the same, though. After adjusting a few difficulty sliders for combat, puzzles, cyberspace, and more - as you did in the original - you start the trek through the Citadel's steely levels in an attempt to thwart SHODAN's humanity-cleansing schemes. Emphasis on the plural, SHODAN's a crafty one. Sneaking under crawl spaces and across the labyrinthine corridors, you'll hop to destroy SHODAN's cameras, find access cards, flip switches to unlock newer areas, and eventually make your way up and back down the station's various floors. You're slowly unravelling and learning about these knotted environments as you go.

System Shock review - SHODAN steals the show in this faithful remake (1)
System Shock review - SHODAN steals the show in this faithful remake (2)

The first change that's immediately noticeable is, of course, how the Citadel looks this time around. Or rather how it feels. System Shock remake's environments have a decidedly darker, scarier look than they did in the original. Some walls still have a few blocky pixelated textures, recapturing that retro charm. So even when the remake isn't striving for realism, it still looks damn cool. Regardless, thick shadows, silvery pipes, and abrupt corners are everywhere in the System Shock remake, leaning into that horror-adjacent atmosphere very effectively.

Sound effects largely help with this as well. Taking a page out of Dead Space's blood-soaked book, you're never quite sure whether or not distant groanings are coming from the station's creaking parts, the grunts of nearby enemies, or your computer slowly overheating. The sometimes ear-splitting soundtrack is gone too, replaced by quieter ambient beats that incorporate a lot of clicking, clacking, and thumping synths - because it wouldn't be cyberpunk without thumping synths. And the end effect makes you stop, turn, peek out of corners, second-guess if you're truly alone in a room.

Even a run-in with the tutorial enemies - the hollow-eyed mutants - can be terrifying thanks to their inhuman stares. Most combat encounters actually instil a sense of fear thanks to tight resources and an even tighter inventory - which is on double-duty with Tetris-management. System Shock remake's shooting and whacking have been brought up to snuff and feel more like a modern shooter, but your general lack of supplies adds a tinge of survival horror scrambling. Cautiously matching the right bullets with the right foe can make all the difference, and your future self will thank you for saving ammo.

(Video) System Shock [Remake] vs Original | Direct Comparison

System Shock review - SHODAN steals the show in this faithful remake (3)

My inventory was usually lacking in either ammo, health-restoring items, or grenades, but never all three. So, as an immersive sim, there's normally a scrappy way out of difficult situations. Running low on ammo? Just chuck an EMP grenade at your foes, disable them, and run up with your wrench until they break apart. Combat almost always has you on the back foot, but this desperation can inspire clever thinking (or clever cheesing) and lead to some massive sighs of relief. Just how I like my horror.

Last-ditch struggles are right in line with the game's tone, but compared to other modern immersive sims, combat can occasionally come across as stilted. You're not given the plethora of options you might expect from an Arkane game, for example, so once you're fully loaded on supplies, a lot of encounters devolve into long-distance shootouts. Which is all well and good, though it doesn't inspire the consistent creative problem-solving that truly makes an im-sim sing.

Those im-sim-isms do come out to play in the way you discover and chart the maze-like world, happily. Most levels are a series of interwinding corridors and you're pretty much free to tackle these knots from any direction. Naturally, plenty of doors have been locked, either by SHODAN, faulty wiring, or a lack of access cards, and the remake trusts you to detangle everything. Seriously, a complete map of any level resembles what I imagine Area 51 floor plans look like.

System Shock review - SHODAN steals the show in this faithful remake (4)
System Shock review - SHODAN steals the show in this faithful remake (5)

That freedom leads to plenty of satisfying a-ha moments. While you can't chain stealth kills or throw out plasmids, you can find a way to disable respawning drones. Or maybe you want to prioritise unlocking the level's respawn point for yourself. Or perhaps you want to find a crawlspace to side-step a precise enemy completely. The game gives you plenty of freedom in the order that you tackle objectives, opening up opportunities for decisions and discoveries, big and small.

(Video) System Shock Remake Coming Soon Trailer | Nightdive Studios

System Shock remake's structure is largely unchanged from the original, and (again) this can be freeing, yet some of those vague objectives usher in annoyance. You see, progress is regularly tied to access cards, levers in specific rooms, and other items of interest but the game rarely puts special focus on these. So I'm split between loving the process of deciphering objectives through environmental cues and emails, and feeling frustrated when running laps around indistinguishable corridors, only to finally find my key on the body of a long-dead enemy.

Oh, and cyberspace is back. These were the abstract areas in the original where you'd float through a confusing space and shoot at colourful shapes. Now, they're neon-tinged abstract areas where you shoot at colourful angry faces. They're a fun and unexpected distraction, and while these shootouts aren't the highlight, I'm glad they're still around. Cyberspace is odd and helps this remake retain some of that weirdness from the original. Actually, come to think of it, there are a lot of weird things here - from the mutants moaning "I'm hungry," to a mournful audiolog dedicated to a crew member's cat.

System Shock review - SHODAN steals the show in this faithful remake (6)
System Shock review - SHODAN steals the show in this faithful remake (7)

Overall, there are some new and old annoyances in this remake, mixed in with some new and old pleasures. And the crux of those pleasures comes from SHODAN, a villain that's so delightfully wicked and creative, it almost makes the whole game. The AI literally is the whole game. Citadel and SHODAN are now one and the same thing - think of the Citadel as the body and SHODAN as the brain. That means when you're stalking through the station, you're also walking through SHODAN's innards which creepily reframes all the visible pipes and creaking noises throughout the place.

System Shock leans into this horror, hard. Audiologs constantly remind you about this relationship between technology and our environment, from the enemy cyborgs that repeat "nothing" in a monotone voice, to SHODAN itself. The maniacal AI is always there. It is the ship, and it'll celebrate your small victories with deadly traps, sly remarks, and hidden alternate plans. I was constantly surprised by the way SHODAN manipulated the world, either by disabling a bridge from under me or by opening up doors to more baddies.

(Video) DON'T Ask If You Should Buy The System Shock Remake. Just Watch This | REVIEW

And, oh boy, the voice. It cracks and contorts in genuinely unsettling ways. Weird static effects sometimes make it sound like it's crying, or someone else is screaming. Inflections simulate curiousity, small moments of joy, something vaguely human. Quickly followed by casually ultraviolent threats. And every ugly part of this station is a reminder of the greed needed to create something so evil. What a marvel.

SHODAN is what makes parts of this game truly special, even with some warts. Thankfully, the original's impenetrable Excel sheet menus are gone. But Nightdive doesn't take the Capcom or Square Enix approach with this remake; they're actually pretty uncompromising in their mission to update the original. As a result, there aren't any wildly dynamic abilities or playful ways to move around the station (a la Prey) that some newbies might expect. But ultimately, the System Shock remake faithfully recreates a classic, retains most of its appeal, reframes everything with a horror tilt, and as a result, makes it more playable for everyone.


What happened to System Shock remake? ›

A final delay into 2023 was announced, and the game was released for Windows via Steam,, and Epic Games Store on May 30, 2023. Versions for Linux, macOS, the PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S are planned, as promised in the initial Kickstarter campaign.

Where can I play System Shock? ›

System Shock: Enhanced Edition on Steam.

What is the budget for System Shock? ›

Due to System Shock being seen by the media as a Doom clone upon release, it undersold. Irrational sought to make Junction Point extremely different from Doom, with RPG elements and a detailed storyline. After 18 months of development and a budget of $1.7 million, the game was nearing completion.

Who is making the system shock remake? ›

Nightdive Studios CEO Stephen Kick and director of business development Larry Kuperman were on hand to speak to the final leg of development for the System Shock remake and share their thoughts on the homestretch of the game's launch.

Are System Shock and BioShock related? ›

System Shock, the game to which BioShock is considered a spiritual successor, fits the bill of BioShock in space in almost every way. The two titles have similarities from their atmospheres to elements of their plots and even those plots' execution in-game.

Will System Shock 2 be remade? ›

There is currently no release date for System Shock 2: Enhanced Edition, but those who preordered the System Shock remake will get the updated version for free at release. Disclaimer: GameSpot and Fanatical are both owned by Fandom.

Do Shockwave games still work? ›

Starting on October 8, 2019, Shockwave player for Windows will no longer be available for download. Adobe is no longer accepting ETLA and EULA agreements for Shockwave effective on April 9, 2019.

What is the alternative to Shockwave games? ›'s top 5 competitors in April 2023 are:,,,, and more. According to Similarweb data of monthly visits,'s top competitor in April 2023 is with 958.6K visits.

Is System Shock 1 and 2 connected? ›

System Shock 2 is the sequel to System Shock. The game was released on 11th of August, 1999. It was originally designed as a standalone title (Junction Point) with no relation to the previous game.

What games did System Shock inspire? ›

System Shock was a foundational game for a lot of reasons. It introduced a first-person semi-RPG adventure that would go on to inspire elements of BioShock, Half-Life, and so many other story-heavy shooters.

Is System Shock a horror game? ›

System Shock review – you versus a murderous AI in revived sci-fi horror classic. Originally released in 1994, System Shock is best known through the games it inspired. Its blend of first-person shooting, sci-fi roleplay, and survival horror made it a touchstone for Deus Ex, BioShock, Dead Space and Prey.

How many System Shock games are there? ›

System Shock is a science fiction video game series originally created by Looking Glass Technologies. It consists of System Shock, System Shock 2, and the 2023 System Shock remake. A third main entry, System Shock 3, has been announced.

Is System Shock remastered release date? ›

What consoles are the system shock remake on? ›

System Shock remake publisher Prime Matter and developers Nightdive Studios have stated: “Console editions of System Shock will release on PlayStation 4/5 and Xbox One and Series S/X in due course; more details will be shared in the future.”

What system is RE4 remake on? ›

The highly anticipated Resident Evil 4 remake is now available on PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X|S, and PC. Originally released in 2005, Resident Evil 4 quickly earned the title of one of the best video games ever made and with this new remake RE4 easily retains that title.

Are all 3 BioShock games connected? ›

2013's BioShock Infinite took players to the flying city of Columbia, leaving behind the underwater city of Rapture seen in BioShock 1 and 2. However, a major confrontation at the end of Infinite ends with a brief trip to Rapture, revealing that every BioShock game so far takes place in parallel universes.

Did BioShock inspire Fallout? ›

Bethesda's Todd Howard shares details on a cut Fallout 4 vault that was inspired by BioShock. The Fallout games feature some notably strange lore, a byproduct of the time they were created and the sort of roleplaying that defined the earliest entries.

What ocean is BioShock in? ›

Rapture is an underwater city, located in the north Atlantic Ocean somewhere between Greenland and Iceland. It is only accessible by a system of bathyspheres.

How many hours of gameplay is System Shock 2? ›

When focusing on the main objectives, System Shock 2 is about 13½ Hours in length. If you're a gamer that strives to see all aspects of the game, you are likely to spend around 22½ Hours to obtain 100% completion.

What is the exotic weapon in System Shock 2? ›

There are three Exotic Weapons that can be found in System Shock 2: the Crystal Shard, which is the strongest melee weapon in the game ; the Viral Proliferator, a powerful biological weapon against Annelids ; and the Annelid Launcher, an enemy-seeking projectile thrower.

Will there be a System Shock 3? ›

System Shock 3 is the upcoming third entry in the System Shock series, developed by OtherSide Entertainment. The game will be released on PC and other platforms. The game is currently in an unknown state, it has not been cancelled, but OtherSide Entertainment is no longer involved with the project.

Should I remove Shockwave Player? ›

Security. Some security experts advise users to uninstall Adobe Shockwave Player because "it bundles a component of Adobe Flash that is more than 15 months behind on security updates, and which can be used to backdoor virtually any computer running it", in the words of Brian Krebs.

Is Shockwave games safe? ›

This site has earned the following certifications. TrustedSite actively monitors this site for security issues such as malware, malicious links, and phishing. No issues were detected on its most recent security check.

Should I keep Adobe Shockwave Player? ›

Shockwave player has reached end-of-life, effective April 9, 2019. Adobe will stop updating and distributing Flash Player after December 31, 2020.

What is the most powerful Shockwave? ›

Simple, says a new study: They create one of the largest shock waves in the universe. Located about 730 million light-years from Earth, Abell 3667 is a galaxy cluster in chaos.

Which is better Shockwave or laser? ›

The two modalities are similar in that they both can help improve blood flow and promote growth factors to damaged tissue. They differ in that while they both influence inflammation, laser generally helps reduce it, while shockwave increases it.

Is Shockwave faster than sound? ›

In particular, shock waves travel faster than sound, and their speed increases as the amplitude is raised; but the intensity of a shock wave also decreases faster than does that of a sound wave, because some of the energy of the shock wave is expended to heat the medium in which it travels.

Can you play System Shock 2 with a controller? ›

Arkose: System Shock 2 only has partial controller support. The mouse is required for the inventory and other interface interaction unless you use other workarounds (e.g. Xpadder). Anyway, to make your PS3 controller available for this and other games, download MotioninJoy and follow the steps to set it up.

What engine does System Shock 2 use? ›

There are four different versions of DromEd: for Thief: The Dark Project, for Thief Gold, for Thief II, and lastly for System Shock 2, commonly called "ShockEd." DromEd for Thief: The Dark Project and Thief Gold use the same version of the Dark Engine and therefore can open levels created for each game, although Thief ...

What engine is System Shock 2? ›

Will System Shock remake be on PS5? ›

When will the System Shock remake come to Xbox, PS4 and PS5? System Shock remake publisher Prime Matter and developers Nightdive Studios have stated: “Console editions of System Shock will release on PlayStation 4/5 and Xbox One and Series S/X in due course; more details will be shared in the future.”

Is System Shock 3 canceled? ›

The websites used for System Shock 3 have since been taken down. Warren Spector was involved with the game, but has since left and has not worked on it since 2019. As of 2023 there are no new updates on the game.

Is System Shock playable? ›

System Shock remake is playable “from beginning to end” but devs “want it done right”

Was Dead Space supposed to be System Shock 3? ›

While Redwood Shores created games based on James Bond, Lord of the Rings, and The Godfather, Wanat said the desire to make something original was fervent within the studio. And Resident Evil 4 was the catapult they needed. So Dead Space isn't System Shock 3.

Will PS2 games ever be on PS5? ›

If you own a PS5, it is possible to play certain PS2 games on your console. Sadly, you won't be able to play disk-based games since those are not compatible with the console. This means that if you have a stack of PS2 game disks at home, you can just keep them as a collection – a relic of the past.

Can you play crash trilogy on PS5? ›

Relive all your favourite Crash moments in their fully-remastered graphical glory and get ready to put some UMPH in your WUMP! To play this game on PS5, your system may need to be updated to the latest system software. Although this game is playable on PS5, some features available on PS4 may be absent.

Will PS4 games upgrade graphics on PS5? ›

With the advanced graphic capabilities of the PS5, you may be wondering, “Do PS4 games look better on PS5?”. While some PS4 games may have an upgrade patch, allowing for improved visuals and gameplay on the PS5, most PS4 games will look the same whether you play them on the PS4 or PS5.

Are System Shock 1 and 2 related? ›

System Shock 2 is a 1999 action role-playing survival horror video game designed by Ken Levine and co-developed by Irrational Games and Looking Glass Studios. Originally intended to be a standalone title, its story was changed during production into a sequel to the 1994 game System Shock.

Is System Shock an immersive SIM? ›

Immersive sims are generally compared to games developed by Looking Glass Studios. The first such game generally considered an immersive sim is Ultima Underworld: The Stygian Abyss, and other examples include Thief and Thief 2, System Shock and System Shock 2, as well as the first Deus Ex.

Why was Dead Space 3 a failure? ›

What made Dead Space 3 the worst in the series was how far it deviated from its original identity, trying to meet EA's ridiculous sales quota. Had Dead Space 3 been its own game and not a sequel, it probably could've stood up on its own.

Why was Dead Space banned? ›

Survival horror Dead Space has been banned in Germany, Japan and China, according to comments attributed to Electronic Arts community manager Andrew Green. Consumer website Destructoid says that according to Green, the game is banned in all three countries, presumably over concerns over the high levels of violence.

Why was Dead Space 3 a flop? ›

Dead Space 3 didn't sit well with long-time fans. The combat-heavy gameplay and expanded environments felt more like Lost Planet 4 than Dead Space 3. It completely lost its identity and disappointed fans who were anticipating a frightening, sci-fi horror experience.


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