Reinstall: System Shock 2

PC Gamer's Cory Banks has put together a retrospective article on System Shock 2 for the magazine's "Reinstall" editorial series, and as you might expect it contains a lot of praise for Irrational Games and Looking Glass Studios' horror FPS/RPG. Here's a snip:
System Shock 2 is about fear and scarcity above all else. Irrational Games' first game is where it developed the mechanics familiar to anyone who's played BioShock: build a world the player wants to explore, drop them in, and watch them uncover how that world fell apart. Nothing builds fear and tension like isolation, with limited resources and no one to help you. But while the studio's later games are shinier, its first outing is both more complex and, ultimately, more terrifying.

The sense of isolation is present from the beginning, where you generate your cybernetic soldier by choosing a base classsystem gun-toting Marine, hacking-heavy Navy officer or psionically-enhanced OSI agent and then customise them through a predetermined set of 'Ëśmissions'. Even though I had played SS2 years before, I couldn't remember how the bonuses would affect my character, and the game doesn't really explain the benefits. A tutorial shows me how the three classes will play, but there's no tutorial text for the customisation options. Luckily, you'll tailor your character further throughout the game by finding cybernetic modules and spending them at upgrade kiosks.

Each step you take has a weight to it, so movements like crouching or strafing feel more deliberate than in modern shooters. Attacking includes that same sense of weight. You won't swing your wrench like a master swordsman, but must pull it back to attack position before bringing it down on an enemy. Guns once you're lucky enough to find one also degrade with use, requiring constant repair and occasional modification. If this sounds complex, it is: you're not a superhero in SS2. In fact, you're just trying to survive.