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Review Roundup For System Shock (2023)

A worthy upgrade of a veritable classic.


System Shock is one of the most influential games of the 90s, but its technical limitations and rough edges have made it difficult to revisit in the intervening 30 years. Nightdive Studios' remake of the game is now finally out, and judging by the reviews, it's a return to form, though it might stick a little too closely to the original's blueprint for true neophytes.

Over at GameSpot's sister site Metacritic, System Shock (2023) has a Metascore of 75, denoting generally favorite reviews. However, it's worth noting that 75 is the lowest possible score in that bracket, as a 74 would denote mixed or average reviews. In general, critics have praised the game's visual upgrade over the original, while noting that it does not overhaul the basic systems of the original as much as you might expect.

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Now Playing: System Shock Remaster Demo - 20 Minutes of Gameplay

System Shock is now out on PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X|S. It released on May 30 and costs $40. For more, check out the reviews linked below:

Eurogamer -- 4/5

"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." -- Kaan Serin [Full review]

GamesRadar+ -- 3/5

"But I feel conflicted by the fact that almost everything that lets it down stems from the original game, copied exactly and failing scrutiny under a modern lens. It leaves this feeling more like a Remaster+ than a remake. That might in part be due to my expectation of a modern reinterpretation over a straight replication, so temper your own expectations accordingly. Because of that, I'm almost inclined to recommend Nightdive's own Enhanced Edition of the original over this, as a fairer representation of the original game's intention and ideas. Okay it's old and clunky but what it does makes far more sense in the context of being the original, old, and clunky, rather than a completely new game built from the ground up thirty years later." -- Leon Hurley [Full review]

PC Gamer -- 80/100

"How do you change-up the game that first used the 451 code, the one that every immersive sim still uses to mark itself as part of the tribe to this day, without being accused of sacrilege and blasphemy? The answer, to the remake's benefit and detriment, is 'faithfully'. Nightdive's System Shock is still very much that game from 1994. It's a project that aims to upgrade, beautify, and smooth down some rough edges. There are a few new additions, but this is no sweeping overhaul, and it leaves most of the best and worst of the original game intact. I suppose it's only appropriate: SHODAN demands faith above all else." -- Joshua Wolens [Full review]

Polygon -- Recommended

"There’s always a discovery — a new weapon or a vending machine or a shortcut — or at least a useful lesson lying in wait. It’s easy to understand why people played this game and then became obsessed with it, why you can trace some people’s careers through the game. Ken Levine, who worked at Looking Glass when it making System Shock, certainly never stopped trying to make System Shock, eventually giving BioShock: Infinite an ending that suggests there are thousands upon thousands of variations on this theme." -- Gita Jackson [Full review]

Rock Paper Shotgun -- "Bestest Best"

"But if you’ve an appetite for space dungeoneering in the company of one of gaming’s most iconic and influential villains, you’ll find the remake cleaves close to that original pitch. This is the product of a team which, to its credit, believed in the 1994 proposition of System Shock and trusted it would still stand up today, in spite of a 30-year shift towards smoothing the player’s path. The result has proved them right. It transpires that our creepy, manipulative robot mother knows best." -- Jeremy Peel [Full review]

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