A Spoiler-Free Intro to System Shock

PvtCinnamonbun Apr 5th, 2016 76 Never
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  1. If you’re reading this then that means that you have at least a passing interest to play (in my opinion at least) is the best video game ever made. These are my own thoughts on the game, and how to get the most out of a first playthrough. I’m going to go out of my way to avoid mentioning some of the more advanced things within the game because so much of the System Shock experience is figuring out all the little details about the game, be it mechanics or what exactly the differences between those 8 types of grenades are.
  3. Exploration is the lifeblood of System Shock. A playthrough varies depending on how much you want to explore Citadel Station, how good you are at understanding what the game tries to tell you in regards to mission objectives, and your playstyle in general, but for first timers it’ll be somewhere around 18 hours. Keep in mind there’s not really a wrong way to play System Shock. It’s a very flexible game with lots to distract you. That being said, the best experience I’ve had with System Shock is with everything at default settings.
  5. A note: mouselook makes the game much more accessible but in my opinion it really changes too much of the game’s combat. Vanilla System Shock is not Doom. You are supposed to think through each fight. Your preparations and knowledge, not your reactions, are going to determine survival. Mouselook changes that, mostly because you can turn quickly and they can’t and have less encouragement to play with your inventory. If you want the authentic experience but a much steeper learning curve, disable mouselook and play with vanilla controls. If you just want to dive in, keep mouselook on.
  7. Very loosely, there are 5 major objectives you need to complete to beat the game. I’m not going to tell you what they are to keep this spoiler-free, but a cutscene plays after each objective is finished, SHODAN yells at you, and you get a hint about what to do next.
  9. The first mission is a mixture of learning the basics and saving Earth from an immediate threat. This will take around 4 hours.
  11. The second mission is stopping SHODAN’s backup plan. This mission is much more complex than the first so expect around 6 hours.
  13. The third mission is stopping SHODAN from escaping Citadel Station. This mostly takes place on the largest floor in the game, and depending on whether or not you’ve stumbled into the prepwork for the objective you will have finished in 3 hours.
  15. The fourth mission is a wildcard. It’s actually very short and you can be clever and skip most of the drudgework involved in the mission, but figuring out the first step is hard. There’s no shame in looking this one up if you’ve been stuck for a while, looking over your logs and emails to try and find the answer. This takes anywhere from 30 minutes to 3 hours.
  17. The fifth and final mission is on a single floor. Think of it as a test with 3 parts, one of which will give you nightmares if you haven’t gotten one of 6 or so key items. Expect 2 hours, though probably less.
  19. Happy playing, and remember: "Salt the Fries"
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