Having been a big fan of the original DOS game back in the very distant past i was quite eager to see what the “Enhanced” version brought to the table, and i was not disappointed. Restored by Night Dive Studios the game has had a big graphical improvement along with other changes too, but nothing that changes the overall look and playability of the original game.
The original first released in 1994, created by Looking Glass Technologies on DOS and was a horror scifi adventure game set against a rogue artificial intelligence where you were tasked with investigating the dark and empty corridors on a mysterious space station.
Its the year 2072, you play a hacker who after being caught by the authorities is tasked with hacking a super AI called Shodan, who happens to be in control of the Citidel Station. Offered a highly sought after military upgrade in exchange for the hack. Once the hacking has been done the hacker has an operation to insert the new implant. Put into a coma to help the healing process the hacker wakes up 6 months later, only for the station to be deserted and now under the control of Shodan, the AI who was tasked to take down and has now gone rogue.
At the time of release it was praised for its immersion and FPS control system which was rare back in those days and brought scifi horror to the forefront of video games. With such mechanics as an inventory system, a solid fighting system and rich and moody story System Shock soon became the game to have. Ground breaking in its innovation and style of gameplay, System Shock went on to influence many games of today. Most believe that Bioshock is the spiritual successor, whether you think that or not but what this game brought to modern fps adventure games cannot be denied.
The enhanced version boasts higher resolutions up to 1024×768, an improved control system with mouse support and the ability to redefine and bind your controls, easy stuff these days but not way back then. The higher resolution is very noticeable once played side by side to the original, as are the cut scenes and are a vast improvement. You can clearly see the fluidity in the gameplay from the original.
This is not a remake though, a lot of people think it is, but its not, its an enhancement and nothing more. It still has the old school mechanics which at the time of release were just fine but by today standards they do tend to grip on you a bit. I suppose its a case of being spoiled by modern games of today. You still have the clunky controls and the mouse controls which have been added are not quite up to todays standards of fps shooters. The hit detection also needs a lot of work as you can spend way too much time trying to hit the enemies with a stick or gun but they need to be in a precise area for the attack to work.
Other than that the game is pretty much the same as it was back in 1994, now with better looking out of control androids and zombified humans, which in my eyes can only be a good thing. Don’t go into this expecting a huge change to the original format.
Now of course this is still a game from 1994 which holds up to a certain extent but obviously compared to games of the same ilk these days may struggle to hold your attention. That said if you loved the original and want to go back some scifi horror nostalgia then i highly recommend you get the enhanced version as the changes are aesthetic and don’t take away from the game you loved as a kid.
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