System Shock 2: Structure And Spoilers

Restrospectives for System Shock 2 seem to be fairly common these days, with Gamasutra being the latest website to take a look back at the classic FPS/RPG hybrid. In it, they cover the game's mechanics and storyline, while also comparing such elements to its peers and more modern offerings like BioShock:
Some of Shock 2's elements (like the class system) seem like legacy systems that could be designed around, and some (like weapon degradation) would probably be more easily sold if they were a bit less aggressive in their hindrance, but the overall sensation of having so much control and choice over your player character -- and so much responsibility during nearly every moment of play -- is fascinating and empowering.

Looking back, it's astonishing that an action game would ask so much of its player. That System Shock would be released the year after Doom, and System Shock 2 the year after Half-Life, illustrates a level of genre exploration now effectively extinct.

There are systems related to stats and skills and inventory management and research and voice logs and more. (The player must even input access codes manually. Remember when game manuals had "notes" section -- and they were actually useful?)

It is utterly understandable why many of these intricate, sometimes unwieldy, mechanics have fallen out of favor in modern action game design since their late-1990s/early-2000s heydey (Deus Ex being another important example), and it's arguable if they are necessarily better than the streamlined form they take in successors like BioShock, but there is something truly rewarding about mastering such a complex piece of design.