System Shock 2

Overview

System Shock 2 is, in my humble opinion, one of the most enjoyable games ever created. There really hasn't been a game that matches it yet, though the original Deus Ex and Bioshock both have similarities.

It's a blend of first-person shooter and role playing, with lots of creepy-scary thrown in. The player must specialise and work out their own solutions, which makes for high replayability.

Unfortunately, System Shock 2 is so old people can have horrible trouble just getting it to run properly on a modern computer. This page is here to help!

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Getting System Shock 2

System Shock 2 no longer appears to be available via retail. Your only options are therefore either buying a second hand CD via eBay or the like, or simply procuring the files via whatever means you have access to.

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Installing System Shock 2
  • Instead of using the setup.exe on the CD or whatever you have, simply copy the contents of the SHOCK folder to a new folder on your computer. This new folder will become the folder for the installed game, and should NOT be under Program Files. Eg: C:\Games\Sshock2
  • Download SS2Tool_v4.7.exe from this thread at www.systemshock.org.
  • Run it, accept the default list of check boxes, and when prompted tell it where your folder with the copied stuff is.
  • Let it download and install all necessary patches. It has a lot of smarts, and will sort out more stuff than you can imagine!
  • Start the game, open Options>Video>Resolution, and set a resolution that matches your monitor. The menu will have black bars on the sides on a widescreen monitor, but the gameplay fills the screen when it is set correctly.
  • Open Options>Customize Controls to set the control you are most comfortable with. You can change one by selecting it and clicking Bind. I suggest loading the Standard FPS control set and making any adjustments from there.
  • Done! You may wish to continue to the sections below to improve the appearance of the game.

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Improvement Mods

System Shock 2 is old, and the visuals suffer for it. Fortunately, there are lots of fan-made improvements! The install method outlined above prepares the game to use these mods.

Specifically, note that the game has two new folders: DataTempMods and DataPermMods. To test a mod, extract the contents of the zip file into DataTempMods. If it works well and you want to keep the mod permanently, move the files from DataTempMods to DataPermMods, choosing to merge and overwrite when prompted.

There are LOTS of mods available! A handy list of the best ones to use is on this thread at www.systemshock.org. It has everything else you need to know, and I suggest you try all nine that it reccommends. The bloom settings are nice too.

Enjoy!

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