A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
Basic good-vs.-evil story; message is surviving against extreme odds.
Positive Role Models
You're a hacker trying to clear your record, atone for hacking jobs. You may be morally gray, but not much known about you, your motives apart from escaping.
Ease of Play
Controls can be complex, slower to respond; better with controller, but you still need to use keyboard, on-screen tips. Game comes with guides, but still a learning curve.
Violence & Scariness
Players use weapons such as laser swords, pipes, guns, lasers against mutants, robots, cyborgs. Some blood, corpses, decapitated heads shown, but pixelated visuals reduce impact.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that System Shock: Enhanced Edition is a downloadable sci-fi survival horror game set in space. Players fight their way through mutants, robots, cyborgs, and other threats with a variety of weapons, including lead pipes, guns, and lasers. Though there's some blood and players do stumble across corpses or decapitated heads, the impact of the violence is limited due to the pixelated graphics. Players may find themselves frustrated with the controls, which haven't been adjusted in any way from its release 21 years ago. Even with tips, there's a steep learning curve with this game due to the sheer amount of information on-screen.
Is It Any Good?
This classic survival horror action game has received a few cosmetic tweaks, and it's still loads of fun more than two decades after its release. System Shock: Enhanced Edition has returned to bring a new generation of players to Citadel Station to face off against one of gaming's most notorious villains. SHODAN and the twisted creatures on her station are just as unrelenting now as they were in 1994 when they initially terrified players. System Shock was unique because players never interacted with another human being; instead, you received information from logs and emails from deceased station members, which increased the sense of isolation. It forced players to interact with the concept of cyberspace in virtual mazes to unlock doors or gain additional info. Plus, it was creepy -- even now, the sound of skittering or clicking as you wander the abandoned halls of Citadel is enough to make your hair stand on end. It's the mix of action, puzzles, and atmosphere that makes System Shock an incredible game experience.
The Enhanced Edition delivers this gameplay with a boosted resolution and wide-screen presentation, as well as fixing a number of bugs that plagued the original. But it also brings some of the items that complicated the original in the first place. The controls are still quite clunky, especially after 21 years of improvements that make navigation of a 3-D space much more natural and realistic. You'll still feel like a lumbering tank moving through each level instead of an agile person running for your life. This also plays into the second issue with the game, which is that the learning curve is still very high. You're presented with a ton of information on the screen related to your inventory, your health status, your objectives, and soon. Sometimes, knowing what to do and when to do it can be a challenge by itself. These are relatively minor issues compared with how excellent the gameplay is, and if you're a fan of games such as Bioshock, Deus Ex, or Half-Life, you owe their creation and success to System Shock, which you can experience all over again. Do yourself a favor and get your hands dirty on Citadel Station, hacker.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.