System Shock 2 is a game that can seem a little bit challenging and even overwhelming upon first getting into. This page is here primarily to help you make some early choices in the game, to provide you with general advice on resource management, and a few other miscellaneous tips and tricks that may come in handy.
Prioritise Your Character
If there is one way to avoid too much difficulty early in on System Shock 2, it's to build a character that has a strong initial skill-set. It's best to think of it in terms of archetypes: do you want to be a hacker that gets into all the locked doors without needing the passcodes? The sharpshooter, who solves most problems with a gun? A hand-to-hand fighter? A dedicated Psi user who can fight enemies without having to use up valuable ammo? Your early skills will contribute quite a bit to this, and while you can get by with a slapdash arrangement, it's better to have clear strengths and goals based on them, rather than a bunch of random, low-level skills. You can always come back for those locked treasure troves later!
Your Wrench is Your Friend
By far the most useful item early on in System Shock 2 is the Wrench, the first melee weapon and, indeed, the most basic in the entire game. While you may not expect such a humble weapon to be so deadly, it is entirely possible to use it through 95% of the game, with the right combination of Stats
and Psi Powers
. Most importantly, using the Wrench as your primary weapon will allow you to hoard up lots of ammunition, which will come in much more useful by about a third of the way through, where the enemies become significantly more dangerous to deal with, but also, where ammo is more plentiful. As a general rule, it's best to save your Pistol in the early going for special cases, like using AP Bullets to take out Turrets
Don't Squander your Cyber Modules!
You'll get this advice early in the game, but it's worth repeating here: Cyber Modules
are your most valuable asset, and as such, aren't worth wasting. Halfway through the game you'll have enough to spend so that you can experiment a little bit, but when you're first starting out, play to the strengths of your character as mentioned above - don't go spending them on random Psi Powers for instance, and don't put all your points into Repair early in the game, or you'll probably end up regretting it the hard way.
No Stone Unturned
It's a fairly common piece of advice for most other RPGs, but in System Shock 2 it rings even truer: search everything. While our walkthrough goes into detail on the vast majority of items you'll find (all item positions are the same each play-through, except for random loot on enemies), it's worth picking up as much as you can, especially smaller items like ammunition. Not only will all that random food come in handy when you find yourself suddenly out of Med Hypos, but you'll be able to use the Recycler
item later in the game to convert all that extra ammo you're not using into precious, shiny Nanites (currency), to buy what you actually do need. That said...
Save for Retirement
Nanites are the currency of System Shock 2's world, spent both at Replicators
on ammunition and healing items, but also used in hacking, modifying weapons, and so on. If you explore eveywhere, you'll rarely be low on Nanites, but it's still generally not a good idea to spend them on items you don't need. Most things you could ever want can be found through simple exploration, and you'll be much better off spending your currency on more limited items, like Psi and Anti-Toxin Hypos
, which become scarce later on.
On a related note, items you drop will remain in their same location, indefinitely, even if you leave the level, come back six months later, and forget where they are. This means that, if you have a lot of gear you want to hang on to, you can safely store it somewhere for later use. The only exception to this, of course, is the endgame section, where you'll be locked into the final couple of levels and won't be able to return to the previous ones.
This is Impossible!
If you've never played System Shock 2 before, and you see that difficulty setting there, tempting you to test the impossible... well, you're probably better off just sticking to Normal. Unless you really, really know what you're doing in System Shock 2, the Impossible difficulty setting really is, well, let's just say it lives up to its name. Though it doesn't radically change the game itself, you'll find that enemies are significantly stronger (many can kill you in a single hit), and the cost in Cyber Modules for most upgrades is almost twice as much as normal. For more details, see our Difficulty Levels page.
Keep a Ranged Weapon on You
Trust us on this one, you really are going to need it come the final bosses.