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Despite being a fan of immersive sims, some of the classics passed me by. We never owned a PC growing up, so I only managed to check out System Shock 2 well past its best-before date, and it was a hard game to gobble down when you’ve been spoiled by things like Dishonored 2 and Prey.

But now we get to go back to the very start, thanks to Nightdive’s remake of the first System Shock. Featuring the terrifying, synthesized voice of game developer, writer, and actor Terri Brosius, who reprises her role as a rogue AI attempting to purge a space station of its humans, System Shock is a faithful remake that makes the original game more palatable to the modern audience.

It’s still rock solid. You’re constantly scavenging for ammo, and death comes often and swiftly if you don’t think about how you approach each encounter, but it’s much easier to pick up and play.

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“We brought on a new streamer to help out with some of our community stuff and we're like, ‘You’re experienced in FPS games, it shouldn't be too bad,’” Nightdive CEO Stephen Kick says. “And I think she died like 35 times in this opening level, and I don't think she got any further than that. She was quite mad with us.”

Visually, it’s still got a retro vibe, too. The environments and props have a low-resolution quality to them, breaking down into pixels when you get close enough, but it’s all baked in modern lighting, giving the game a distinct visual identity. I also enjoy the way mutants’ heads explode when you wind up a haymaker with a pipe and swing it at their faces. Gooey.

“I think there are people who really love this art style, but there's a small minority that are upset that we intentionally went for a retro look with the game,” Nightdive business boffin Larry Kuperman says.

When you’re not busting heads or completing simple pipe puzzles, you’re able to explore cyberspace, which plays out a bit like Rez Infinite – a surreal fast-paced shooting section that feels almost like a Tron bullet hell.

Nightdive has updated these spaces to make them easier to navigate, which was one of the major complaints in the original game. You’re free to rotate and float in the air in the cyberspace sections, which makes it easy to get disorientated. It still felt labyrinthine when I played, but it certainly didn’t feel confusing.

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Of course, it helps if you’ve played these kinds of games before. Kick calls me a cheater when I happen upon the first locked door and tap in the numbers: 451. I feel like a genius for knowing it, but I’m soon hoisted by my own petard because skipping over finding it properly leaves me without a torch and another weapon that could help me in the next section. Dead again.

“What we found to be really compelling for people was us not telling them how to do everything,” Kick says. “It's like how they used to do it.”

How they used to do it – that’s key. Nightdive is a studio known for its faithful remasters. Just because this time it’s a remake, that doesn’t mean the team wants to change things for the sake of it.

That’s not to say everything about the game is the same. First off, Nightdive removed a bunch of weapons because many of them were redundant in the original game. Secondly, the original game had three levels of stature – standing, crouched, and prone – but the team felt it didn’t really add to a game that doesn’t feature prominent stealth mechanics. Leaning around corners and shooting certainly feels like enough.

You’ll be able to see for yourself whether these changes were the right call or not when System Shock launches at the end of May.