It's still scary, because it's the atmosphere and sense of vulnerability, threat, and general horror that makes it genuinely scary, not just startling you with scripted jump scares. Some of the audio logs are genuinely chilling.
One thing I like with olde game engines is without shaders and screen effects eating your GPU, you're free to crank up anti-aliasing, or downsample from a ridiculously high resolution (like 3840 x 2160) for practically flawless image quality.
Playing games like that on my modest rig, has me load up modern games with FXAA at my native 1680x1050, only to stand aghast at the blurred soup-o-vision.
I am ashamed to say so but I've never gotten around to trying System Shock out. This seems like a good time to do so though.
I've been massively into the System Shock scene since the year 2000 and even released a fan mission (singleplayer mod) for SS2 back in the day. The shock scene isn't a huge one, but there is a few of us still around.
If your only going to add one mod to SS2 then SHTUP (System Shock Texture Upgrade Project) is the one to add as it makes a HUGE difference to the game visually.
And if your into singleplayer mods then there is quite a few to choose from (ie Ponterbee Station, Blayde's Return to The UNN etc).
Your best bet would be to head over to http://www.systemshock.org and you'll be able to find everything you need there.
Of note: Apparently the steam version of SS2 is royally screwed up due to some awful patching work by the "Tech Ninja's" over at Night Dive. So you may need to fix up your SS2 install once you download it otherwise you may run into some problems if you attempt to add any mods to the game. The GOG version runs perfectly fine.
Well, either way, I'll certainly pick this up once I've cleared my backlog, though probably not on Steam. I haven't used GOG, but it seems to be a better bet for titles that might have compatibility issues with newer systems.
According to rumors over on TTLG.com (forum home to shock and thief fans for the most part) the Night Dive GOG/Steam release contains the newDark exe file released for free publicly back in September last year. Which if true means that it should work on whatever new-ish Windows you choose to install it on. So you shouldn't have any problems running it on Windows 7 or 8 for example.
If not a quick google search should bring up a download for it somewhere.
Any recommendations for which difficulty to play on for a first-timer? Although it's my first time, I am a person who wants difficulty to be as high as possible in games without just becoming tedious. I can't recall the last shooter that I didn't play on hardest/extreme/insane difficulty.
Play it on Hard and DON'T go OSA on your first play through. Go marines or Navy and you'll be fine. OSA is better once you've played through the game atleast once. Normal difficulty is moderately difficult as is be of note.