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The System Shock remake drips with neon nostalgia in new footage

Two servings of System Shock goodness in just one day? Why yes, I will have cyber-seconds. Following up after OtherSide’s System Shock 3 trailer, Night Dive have shared twenty minutes of uncut exploration from their upcoming remake of the first game. It’s taken a while to get here, via a detour into a since-cancelled redesign, but I can’t grumble about the results. If their aim is to update the original System Shock, chunky level geometry, familiar puzzles and all to modern spec, then they’re on the right track. Take a wander through Citadel Station’s familiar medical deck below.

If there’s one complaint I can level at this new footage, it’s that it looks possibly too accurate to the original System Shock, tasty modern lighting effects aside. On the other hand, I feel I should applaud Night Dive for absolutely recapturing the look of the original, right down to some of the steeply parallax-mapped wall textures looking a little pixellated. The biggest change over the original is the enemy models. Before, they were sprites that always looked too blurry for the environments they stood in. Now, they’re detailed and sometimes disconcerting to look at. The death animations on the mutants are especially grisly.

The differences over the original are subtle, but logical. You can now find items on shelves, which are actual 3D spaces now instead of just wall textures. The new cybernetics recharge station is an intimidating piece of kit that retracts into the floor once you’ve drained it, and the puzzle panels are now interacted with as part of the game-world. Instead of popping up a little puzzle window to click on, you manipulate individual panels on the puzzle board direct, as you would in Prey or Doom 3.

The level layout itself is almost entirely unchanged from the original, but the new texture detail and increased solidity of the enemies goes a long way. I’ve played the original System Shock to death already, so I’m a little sad that they’re not diverging more from the original design, but I can understand why. When it’s finished, I can see this becoming the accepted starting point for players new to the series. Wouldn’t mind a similarly styled remake of System Shock 2, either – just saying.

There’s still no release date for the System Shock remake, but you can follow its development via its official page here.

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Dominic Tarason

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