Not long ago Night Dive Studios released a pre-alpha demo of their new project, the infamous remake of the classic game System Shock, which they initially released back in 1994 with the help of Looking Glass Studios, the same people behind the Thief and Command and Conquer games.
The Alpha demo was released after a successfully funded Kickstarter campaign for the game. The company wanted to achieve a $900,000 goal of donation instead they achieved a massive $ 1,350,700 of donations which was plenty enough for them to get to work on their remaster.
A recap: System Shock allowed you to play in a first person perspective of a hacker who hacked into the TriOptimum Corporation, a mega-corp that had a technological influence on the worlds governments, major suppliers and the military. They were responsible for the creation of Citadel Station and for creating the sinister security AI called ‘SHODAN’ (or Sentient Hyper-Optimized Data Access Network).
SHODAN was created to be the AI of the company and make self-efficient duties on the Citadel Station until the network was compromised by a hacker. In response to these circumstances TriOptimum caught the hacker and made a deal that they wouldn’t turn him in if he worked on improving SHODAN’s AI, and once completed the hacker would receive a military grade implant and be pardoned. After the chip was implanted the hacker went into a 6 month healing coma. During this time SHODAN’s ethical restrictions were removed and caused havoc on the Citadel Station by detaching pods full of people away from the station leading them to become trapped in deep space, destroying friendly space ships that approach the Citadel, and cut off life support on the station.
SHODAN even released a mutagen into the atmosphere causing people on the station to be manipulated by SHODAN and turn into cyborgs and also overrun security robots on the space station. The game begins when you the hacker wake up from your coma and try and undo your mistakes with SHODAN.
User interface of the game appears very similar to the original classic. The pop-up inventory makes your character feel like a computer, with hardware and software collectables to improve on how you scan through a terrain to identifying objects, etc.
Other enemies to feature and face in the game are: the low-tech and retro Security Bots, which feature a narrow lens to detect the player and immediately move towards to attack, a robot that mimics a scorpions body, called a ‘Repair Bot‘, whose purpose is both useful and dangerous; and the human/cyborg (aka Humanoids) who are first introduced when a player opens a door and they jump out at you and scare you with their big, lifeless eyes looking down at you as they knuckle-drag their way to you.
Demo First Impressions:
For a pre-alpha demo what the developers have put on offer has been most impressive and detailed.
With exploration you can find every collectable and easily complete the demo in about 20-30 minutes. While very short it is enough to show you what to expect from the full version. The visuals of the citadel reflect that with an ’80s style depiction of the future, also shown in recent games such as Alien: Isolation. The horrific sights of mutilated bodies scattered around the level are reminiscent to Dead Space and how they try to capture the sense that something bigger than the character is happening within the story.
It has the same sense of exploration as fan-favourite Bioshock new areas, collecting things to help improve or evolve your character. You’re treated with a view of the calming curio of what seems like Saturn with soft orchestral music playing in the background, which made you feel like everything is gonna be okay.
Does this new game live up to the original 1994? Let us know in the comments below.