Published on February 13th, 2024 | by Chris O'Connor

The Art Of System Shock HC Review

The Art Of System Shock HC Review Chris O'Connor

Summary: Explore the process that brought the much loved System Shock back and how it was adapted for modern gaming.


Shodan Style

System Shock is one of those games that just stood out from the pack. After years of text adventures, point and click adventures and the emergence of first person shooters… System Shock showed you could have an intense first person experience with a story that drew you in. But could that experience be remade with modern systems in mind and what would it look like? The Art Of System Shock HC gives a glimpse into the process that brought the much loved classic to modern computers and the trials and tribulations in between.


It’s interesting learning about the process behind the scenes in bringing a game to life… but bringing a fan favourite to life for a new generation, using new technology and enhanced graphics… how do you keep the soul of the original alive? The writing here suggests that the process was a bit like playing System Shock itself. Jump in and try and get a feel for it and forge forward, discover things aren’t going to be as easy as they first seemed, adjust approach and try again. Eventually if you manage to get all the elements together just right… success.


I actually have quite mixed feelings about the artwork through here. On the one hand I know there’s a desire to hold on to some of the aesthetic of the original game and so the text and formatting has a bit of a retro feel. But some of the art itself looks a bit scrappy and unfinished. I think this is possibly a case of what the art was intended for and much of it I suspect was not so much created to present a polished finish piece… but rather a quick impression of the overall “feel” for what the character, item or scenery would be like. Having said that… there are some piece here that are quite striking and easily my favourite section involves the comparison between the original System Shock and the remake (this is also where the notion that many of the “design” images are simply quick impressions rather than heavily worked indications of a finished product).

Final Thoughts?

It’s always tough bringing a work of art/project to the public. Hoping that everything is how you want it to be and that users will appreciate it for all it is. That is much tougher when what you are presenting is a remake/imagining of something that has made a distinct impression when it first came out. People develop their own expectations (reasonably or not) and you won’t be able to please everyone… but I think the team at Night Dive studios have done a great job bringing System Shock to the current generation.

If you are curious about how a remake is made and don’t mind some rough art work then this might be for you.

Publisher: Dark Horse
Writer: Robb Waters
Genre: Video Game, Science-Fiction, Art Book
Format: 208pgs, FC, HC
Release Date: 21st February 2024

About the Author'

Father of four, husband of one and all round oddity. Gaming at home since about 1982 with a Sinclair ZX Spectrum. Moving on to the more traditional PC genre in the years that followed with the classic Jump Joe and Alley Cat. CGA, EGA, VGA and beyond PC's have been central to my gaming but I've also enjoyed consoles and hand helds along the way (who remembers the Atari Lynx?). Would have been actor/film maker, jack of many trades master of none.

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