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I have played a strikingly huge amount of classic games before, the majority of them being Sci-Fi related. The greats, such as Freespace 1+2, Homeworld 1+2, Masters of Orion, KOTOR, etc. are all fantastic in their own ways (from my point of view).

But, never before have I come across a classic game that has left me so very much disappointed that I actually had to resort to cheating my way through just so I could get to the ending and see just what in the world everybody was shouting praise towards.

System Shock 2, after taking notice of the huge amounts of hype surrounding it on the day of its release her on GOG, was so astoundingly frustrating, so remarkably dull and disappointing that, after cheating JUST to get to the end of the whole crazy train, left me desiring for something much better for days to come. I've seen better "atmosphere" when I go outside and look up. The action/RPG aspects were far too predictable (it could just be me), and the tediousness of it all made me forget the story entirely. I think it all just started soaring over my head after I the first dozen or so fetch quests.

It went a little something like this:

Enter area, one two!
Go into room, three four!
Get attacked by X number of enemies, five six!
Get item, seven eight!
Fight X number of scripted enemies, nine ten!
Done!

I have tried my absolute best to like this game, but every attempt, even new games with different skill layouts, just left me more disappointed and annoyed than the last. It's like I spent $10 on a really nice trinket that I would only use once or twice and never see again.

What am I doing wrong? I would really like to know. I really don't want this to feel like I'm just wasting my time on a storyline that is just barely interesting and delivers nothing but a few lines of text and flashy images.
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well, if you had to cheat just to complete the game, you were definitely doing something wrong, as the game can be completed without using any skills using just the wrench. the general rule is - if you die a lot, you are doing something wrong (most common example would be trying to fight off security alerts, which is exactly the one thing you are NOT supposed to do. you either hide, or run to the nearest security console to turn it off).

but it might be possible that it's simply not your cup of tea. it can happen.
Maybe I'm misunderstanding your tone and choice of words, but I think you're describing a playstyle where you're literally just walking into every room and area triggering every alarm in the game. If you do that, then yes it will be a tedious grind of constant attacks. You can get this game completely wrong the moment you face your first two enemies. If you try and rush things you're going to get swarmed and bog down.

I think the core attractive elements of the game are: 1) Strong atmosphere 2) Well designed character building system 3) Surprisingly rich combat system for a 1999 FPS where ducking in melee combat and charging your enemies actually matters

Playing it like a generic action-rpg is to push it into mindless FPS mode however, and that is not really the games greatest strength.
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kingchicora1: Enter area, one two!
Go into room, three four!
Get attacked by X number of enemies, five six!
Get item, seven eight!
Fight X number of scripted enemies, nine ten!
Done!
So your complaint is that SS2 is a game in which you enter areas, fight enemies, and collect items... which describes about 99% of every action game ever made. Never mind that in SS2 the enemies are randomly spawned and patrol the level, so there is rarely any guarantee of what you'll encounter, and that the number of scripted spawns in the entire game could probably be counted on one hand.

...nothing but a few lines of text and flashy images.
Text? Flashy images? WTF game are you playing?
The only possible place that gave me a lot of trouble, was last area inside the Many and final area... where resources are limited, and there aren't easy way to heal (without kits). Particuarly the last area of the Many which has unlimited spawning creatures... Due to the last path to core of the Many being tight and filled with enemies its not so easy to just run through (but still doable with trial and error).

That area I ended up basically making a suicide run into the brain chamber, to kill the psionic brain things, then ran back to the lake to hide from the last few psionic mutants, until I could lose them and snipe them one at a time.

That left me with just the big guys to avoid, and brain to kill.

Every other earlier in area in the game healing stations were plenty, as were energy stations for energy weapons... Most of the lesser enemies can be killed easily with the wrench, so I conserved plenty of ammo.
Yes...yes this is a troll. Will you mark my post as the solution now?
The game is really enjoyable for the atmosphere, plot and sense of urgency (and I say that with the dumb-ass respawning turned off for the record)

Quests are its Achilles heel, unfortunately - but it is forgivable; in essence every single quest or mission or objective in the game is a fetch-quest. Ignore the banality of the quests and one has a pretty darn enjoyable game!
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Atlantico: The game is really enjoyable for the atmosphere, plot and sense of urgency (and I say that with the dumb-ass respawning turned off for the record)

Quests are its Achilles heel, unfortunately - but it is forgivable; in essence every single quest or mission or objective in the game is a fetch-quest. Ignore the banality of the quests and one has a pretty darn enjoyable game!
I liked all the quests. They are story-driven and make you think. They make you further explore the creepy, haunted ship.

Also, the respawning in this game is TAME. If you can't handle a new enemy or two in an area you cleared recently, well... that sucks for you, but it's part of the tense survival atmosphere of the game. Forcing it off is cheating, plain and simple. :[
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Atlantico: The game is really enjoyable for the atmosphere, plot and sense of urgency (and I say that with the dumb-ass respawning turned off for the record)

Quests are its Achilles heel, unfortunately - but it is forgivable; in essence every single quest or mission or objective in the game is a fetch-quest. Ignore the banality of the quests and one has a pretty darn enjoyable game!
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Westenra: I liked all the quests. They are story-driven and make you think. They make you further explore the creepy, haunted ship.

Also, the respawning in this game is TAME. If you can't handle a new enemy or two in an area you cleared recently, well... that sucks for you, but it's part of the tense survival atmosphere of the game. Forcing it off is cheating, plain and simple. :[
The quests are story driven, but they're fetch quests. Go to place A, get quest to fetch thing X or push button Y and continue from place A to place B, rinse and repeat. The fact that this is explained through monologue or scripted events changes nothing about the nature of the quest.

The respawning in the game is LAME, though it may be tame - it's not the quantity it's the cheapness factor of it. It adds nothing to the gameplay, doesn't even drain ammo (since respawns give ammo and nanites for more ammo) they're just in the way. They're not scary, they're not surprising and they're lazy.

People like to wax on how they make the game feel intense, that there's no moment to relax - no moment where one feels secure - but that's quite inaccurate. Respawning only happens in a few designated places and I guess in those places one "can't feel secure" but then again, one doesn't have to hang out there either. There's pleeeeenty of safe places in the game where one can just walk away from the computer and make a cup of coffee.

No danger. No problems.

Turning off respawning is a feature of the game, inserted by the developer - proabably realizing that it was a dumbass concept to begin with, so it's not cheating. It's correcting the game for my needs.

If you want your respawns: go nuts. But get off your high horse, this game is way better without them - and is in fact more challenging, since it prevents infinite ammo.
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Westenra: I liked all the quests. They are story-driven and make you think. They make you further explore the creepy, haunted ship.

Also, the respawning in this game is TAME. If you can't handle a new enemy or two in an area you cleared recently, well... that sucks for you, but it's part of the tense survival atmosphere of the game. Forcing it off is cheating, plain and simple. :[
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Atlantico: The quests are story driven, but they're fetch quests. Go to place A, get quest to fetch thing X or push button Y and continue from place A to place B, rinse and repeat. The fact that this is explained through monologue or scripted events changes nothing about the nature of the quest.
I'm sorry, but this is just cynical and wrong. "The fact that it is explained through monologues or scripted events" ABSOLUTELY makes a difference-- it's called STORY, it gives you a purpose for what you are doing and elevates what you perceive as a simple fetch-quest to a life-or-death adventure. Maybe you were too busy whining about enemy respawns to notice the wonderful story but the quests you perform in SS2 are extremely urgent and the game makes you feel like you are trying to keep one step ahead of an overwhelming alien force.
The respawning in the game is LAME, though it may be tame - it's not the quantity it's the cheapness factor of it. It adds nothing to the gameplay, doesn't even drain ammo (since respawns give ammo and nanites for more ammo) they're just in the way. They're not scary, they're not surprising and they're lazy.
Again, wrong and cynical. Respawns are very rare and hardly ever contain nanites or ammo-- more usually it's a bottle of booze or a broken pistol or something. Also, if you are spending enough time in an area to be overwhelmed by enemy respawns then maybe you should KEEP MOVING ON TO NEW AREAS AND PLAYING THE GAME instead of trying to play Spiderman with the game's architecture or whatever it is you are doing that is making one or two extra baddies every 10 minutes SUCH A BURDEN.
People like to wax on how they make the game feel intense, that there's no moment to relax - no moment where one feels secure - but that's quite inaccurate. Respawning only happens in a few designated places and I guess in those places one "can't feel secure" but then again, one doesn't have to hang out there either. There's pleeeeenty of safe places in the game where one can just walk away from the computer and make a cup of coffee.
There are plenty of moments to relax. Just find a chemical storage room and drop your pants. Or, hint hint, they have this wonderful little invention called the "esc" key. You pretty much explained your way out of your own complaint. Circular logic much? Obviously you have been killed multiple times by dropping your guard in an open area, or you wouldn't be complaining. Nobody complains about something that doesn't bother them unless they are a troll looking for attention. You are on thin ice, Icelander.
Turning off respawning is a feature of the game, inserted by the developer - proabably realizing that it was a dumbass concept to begin with, so it's not cheating. It's correcting the game for my needs. If you want your respawns: go nuts. But get off your high horse, this game is way better without them - and is in fact more challenging, since it prevents infinite ammo.
Actually, the boys and girls at Looking Glass are some of the most experienced and talented game developers of all time. They knew what they were doing, and you'll excuse me if I trust their judgment over your own. Good luck living your life, "correcting it for your needs", that's a very childish and inflexible attitude and a big part of what is wrong with modern game development. And thank you, I will continue to enjoy this wonderful game, for what it is, as I have for years, and not cry like a baby every time I run into monster and immediately write it off as an MMO (lol).
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Westenra: Actually, the boys and girls at Looking Glass are some of the most experienced and talented game developers of all time.
That's why they added the option to turn off respawning in their very much flawed gem that is SS2 (rolls eyes)

Or is that why they went bankrupt? or is that why the SS2 flopped commercially? People just didn't understand the game in that special way like you do? Looks like you need a shovel.

Regardless, I don't really care what you think based on your incredible bias towards the creators of this game - SS2 is a good game, but that's about it.

That's saying something, since the world isn't full to the brim of good games, but it isn't a great game - it is very flawed, contains MMO-like respawns and contains fetch-quests exclusively.
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Westenra: Actually, the boys and girls at Looking Glass are some of the most experienced and talented game developers of all time.
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Atlantico: That's why they added the option to turn off respawning in their very much flawed gem that is SS2 (rolls eyes)

Or is that why they went bankrupt? or is that why the SS2 flopped commercially? People just didn't understand the game in that special way like you do? Looks like you need a shovel.

Regardless, I don't really care what you think based on your incredible bias towards the creators of this game - SS2 is a good game, but that's about it.

That's saying something, since the world isn't full to the brim of good games, but it isn't a great game - it is very flawed, contains MMO-like respawns and contains fetch-quests exclusively.
No offense, but this really does sound like you're rating a game that's old to modern standards.
SS2 is, or rather was, an outstanding game back when it was released, now of course it's dated and offers nothing that other games hasn't done to a much higher scale and chances are better quality of gameplay. - afterall Bioshock is 99% the same stuff.

That isn't to say people can objectivly look at it for what it is now, or what it was when it was released, just that the two viewpoints don't mix.
Just to put a cap on this and highlight how stupid and/or trollish Atlantico is being...

In SS2, hybrids have a 20% chance of dropping 5 nanites. So on average you have to kill 5 hybrids to see that 5-nanite drop, or put another way, you earn ONE nanite per hybrid killed.

Now, the price of ammo varies considerably, but for a point of reference, the first replicator you encounter on Med/Sci, when hacked, sells 12 standard bullets for 60 nanites. That's 5 nanites per bullet. Anti-personnel and armor-piercing rounds are more expensive.

So approximately speaking, from a farming perspective, 5 dead hybrids = 1 bullet. The pistol, in burst mode, fires three bullets at a time. So that's 15 dead hybrids to fuel 1 burst shot. As should be painfully obvious by now, the only way this resource economy can be game-breaking is if someone was deliberately ignoring the plot and just wandering around in circles wrenching hybrids for hours. The sort of person who would do this, then complain about it, is probably pretty spectacularly dumb.


Now, to correct some other wrong things Atlantico has said:

Shotgun hybrids cannot be prevented from attacking by standing close to them. They WILL happily shoot you right in the face.

SS2 is not exclusively fetch quests. They are the majority, but not the totality. Besides, what else are you supposed to do when you're the only human survivor on a giant starship? Gather 20 Rumbler tails? Help a love-struck spider? Uncover the mystery of the overpriced soda?

SS2 did not "flop" commercially. It may not have been a huge smash hit, but obviously it did well enough to keep Irrational in business. Won a pile of awards too.

Irrational Games didn't go bankrupt. In fact you might have heard of one of their recent titles, Bio-something-or-other. Looking Glass Software, Irrational's development partner, did go out of business, but again, that had nothing to do with System Shock.

Lots of non-MMO games have respawning as an essential component of their design. For example, practically every open-world game ever made (Fallout 3, Oblivion, Grand Theft Auto, etc).
Terrible confrontational attitude, talking harshly about (other) MMOs and having no sense for game economy. Atlantico, are you an Eve Online player by chance?
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Boilpoint: Yes...yes this is a troll. Will you mark my post as the solution now?
Being it a little later than usual and having not replied to this post yet, no. Yours is not the solution. I have since given up on attempting to play through the whole game and take in its atmosphere and whatnot, but my opinion still stands.

It's a trinket to me. There many games better, if not even more so out there and to come than System Shock 2. If you think everyone calls this game a masterpiece I would have to politely ask you to step outside. I would warn you to take this -1 with a dollop of jam but your taste buds have since buggered off.