System Shocked to See You Again

When System Shock Enhanced Edition was first announced for GoG, I was happy yet saddened because it wasn’t immediately released for Steam, my preferred platform, I had to wait a month for it to be available in Steam. But I knew the wait will be worth it. And when it finally hit Steam a few days ago, I didn’t hesitate to purchase it right then and there, plus with a 20% off at that time, I was all the more willing to buy it.

System Shock was one of those DOS games that stay with you… and with it’s sibling, System Shock 2, it gave me, a computer geek who likes tinkering with programming languages, who is in love with the thought of the future and the technology it promises, together, those two games threw in a cyberpunk universe, filled with all the tech I want, the feeling of being a cool cyberpunk hacker that can also wield a gun or two, puzzles that only computer geeks will really appreciate (anyone can solve them, they aren’t too hard, but a computer geek will see the tiny details that make them smile), and a lot more.

Both games stuck with me, but if we are talking about DOS games that I will forever love, it is System Shock. Playing it nowadays, however, is hard even with DOSBox; I have gotten so used to mouselook controls, or simply, modern PC first person controls. SO, having to replay it is difficult. Plus no support for higher resolution doesn’t make things any better.

System Shock 2, has modern controls, and has mods to make it look better than it did when it first came out, so there was no problems ever replaying it.

So, when the Enhanced Edition mentioned that it had support for higher resolutions (albeit 1024×768 max, but you can add a custom resolution…), mouselook, and key remapping, I was certainly happy with it.

I was reading a lot these past few days so I didn’t immediately play the game as soon as I bought it; I just started last night, and to my surprise and delight, the keybinding, mouselook sensitivity, and custom resolutions were not in the in game menu. I had to go to the games .ini and .cfg files and edit it. I LOVE THAT!

Editing the controls.cfg using Notepad ++ just to change key bindings. I love it!

Like I said, I am a tinker, I love using Visual Studios or even simple as Notepad++, play around with C++, Obj C, JAVA, etc; I love modding my games, I love editing my regedit, etc; so when something as simple as changing the key bindings, the mouse sensitivity, etc, one needs to open .ini or .cfg files, I go gaga over it. It fits the game perfectly!

The key remapping is a Godsend because, I use a Logitech G600; I can simply bind the key of certain controls for the game for my mouse and I don’t have to lift my fingers of the main movement keys (WASD… you know). It’s these little things that, we take for granted, but if you have the right peripherals, it means the world to you; yes I can bind keys for my mouse to match the default keys of the game, but that entails me making a new profile in Logitech’s program, and sadly, that program only has a limited amount of profiles to be saved… sure, I can export and import, but all the hassle… editing the .ini or .cfg may also be a hassle, but it is only done once, and it feels WAY better that way.

I like replicating things they are supposed to be, but let me tell you, the filters for the game, that can be found in the sshock.ini file, even if set to best, doesn’t exaggerate the graphics. It still have its slight pixelated charm. But makes the words so much easier on the eyes. It also makes the environment textures nicer. Again, not exaggerating it away from the original charm. Furthermore on the graphics, it isn’t overhauled. The enemy sprites are just as bad as they were back in the day, but that’s alright; again, I am not one for the graphics, I am there for the story and gameplay mainly. As you can see in the following images:

Taken from Gamespot
Taken from PCGamer

In game screen grab; as you can see, I changed the resolution to 1920×1080 and used the Best Filter… it looks easier on the eyes.

Another screen grab; same resolution and filter. Textures are better.
Last screen grab in game; same resolution and filter. The one downside with using higher custom resolutions, apart from the possibility of crashing, is the words in the dialogue/data box are spaced at really wide to accommodate the higher resolutions.

For the resolution, the max is 1024×768, way better than the DOS at 320×200; but you can use a custom resolution, also found in the sshock.ini file. Be wary, any resolution higher than 1024×768 may cause the game to crash at certain points.

Editing sshock.ini using Notepad ++; the boxes show where you can edit the visual filters and make custom resolutions

Also the videos in the game will not be stretched to whatever resolution you choose. Just something to take note of.

This is a complex game in terms of controls; there are so much on the screen, and so much controls to know. Something as simple as crouching will has 3 separate buttons. There is, like its sibling, have a sense of momentum when running or even just walking; that is to say, if you run straight, and let go of the controls, you character will slow down to a stop gradually, like in real life… not an immediate stop. Something, again, to take note of.

Overall, it is a great Enhanced Edition for those additions. Having to be able to play this on modern systems is enough incentive to play this game honestly, but those tiny additions makes the biggest difference.

It still has the same tension that it gave me when I was a young boy, and to see it next to my copy of System Shock 2 in Steam, makes my heart warm. Add my BioShock collection, then the collection is complete… for now.

I happy with what the guys at Night Dive Studios did to bring this to modern systems. READ CAREFULLY, I said, modern systems, not modern age per se. That means, it is still, in all it’s pixelated glory, left in tact and will not please those “graphics buffs” out there, it is not perfect for the modern age of gaming. Even with the additions to make it easier to play today, it still won’t be loved by newer generations, only those who have fond memories of this game. But it will run smoothly on modern systems.

And with that, if you remember this game, played the second game, a bit curious, and RPG/FPS fan, or whatever, DO PICK THIS UP! It is available in GoG and Steam! Still 20% in Steam at the time of this writing.

If you want to purchase it in GoG, CLICK HERE!

If you want Steam, like I do, CLICK HERE!

Now it is time for me to return to Citadel.

PEACE!

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