Top 11 Games Like System Shock (Games Better Than System Shock In Their Own Way)

Games Like System Shock
If you don't stick around, S.H.O.D.A.N might cry. Surely you don't want that.

Do you think no games truly compare to System Shock? Read on and I'll prove you wrong.

System Shock is one of the most influential games of all time. One could make an argument that this game inspired just about every post-apocalyptic game since its release.

With its unique cyberpunk aesthetic, the horrific and beautiful imagery, and the complex and seductive gameplay; it’s no wonder why this genre-defining classic is so well remembered. But what happens when you think you’ve done all you can do in this enigma of an experience?

Well, we got you covered! Hang on tight through this ride through 11 games like System Shock. 

11. Black Mesa (2015)

Black Mesa gameplay

Welcome back to Black Mesa, Mr. Freeman! Take a trip back to the iconic world of Half Life, another of the most influential video games of all time. While not in a completed state just yet, the game is a great time with its improved graphics, gameplay and overall mechanics. As with the original game, you are a physicist named Gordon Freeman caught up in a potential alien apocalypse. Will the world fall, or can you save it? It’s all up to you in this Half Life game with a fresh coat of paint!

Top 3 Things That Make This Game Fun

  • The iconic first-person shooter combat and puzzle-solving of Half Life, but more finely tuned.
  • A new graphical coat of paint that makes the 1998 look amazing.
  • A fun, exciting story even better to play through in Black Mesa!

A physicist versus the world? In Gordon Freeman’s case, we’ll bet on the physicist!

Take out some uglies in a flood of bullets. They don’t stand a chance!

10. >Observer_ (2017)

Cyberpunk meets horror in this game that puts you in control of hacking people’s minds. After a “digital plague” causes the death of thousands, addiction spreads across Poland. Play as detective Daniel Lazarski and hack into the minds of the criminally insane. Are you ready to face the horrors of what you’ll find?

Top 3 Things That Make This Game Great

  • A Blade Runner meets System Shock inspired world.
  • Stellar hacking gameplay with some detective spice.
  • Stunning visuals will have you staring at the screen.

The game has a darker cyberpunk aesthetic very reminiscent of System Shock.

An unsettling atmosphere makes for a very enjoyable, subtle horror experience.

9.  Prey (2017)

Thought of as a spiritual sequel to System Shock by Bethesda, Prey works both as a survival-horror and first person shooter game. You are part of a world changing experiment aboard a space station. But what happens when said space station gets overrun by terrifying, hostile aliens? You’ve gone from test subject to prey. Will you survive?

Top 3 Things That Make This Game Great

  • Fantastically developed, surprisingly deep overworld. 
  • Terrifying shape-shifting aliens create an intense atmosphere where you truly feel hunted. 
  • Has well developed RPG-shooter mechanics and a dark, sci-fi spice that definitely calls back to System Shock.

Try your best to conquer the darkness set before you.

These shapeshifters will have you on your toes the whole playthrough. You are their prey, but that doesn’t mean they can’t also be yours!

8. Bioshock (2007)

From much of the team behind the original System Shock comes an indisputable spiritual successor, Bioshock. The game takes place in the underwater dystopia known as Rapture, a once utopian city for the elite. The city has now been overrun by addicts of genetic modifications that give users superhuman powers, and genetically altered humans turned monsters called “Big Daddies.” Armed with genetic modifications of your own along with an arsenal of weapons and tactics, battle your way through this iconic survival horror shooter.

Top 3 Things That Make This Game Great

  • An intellectual and deep narrative that will keep your mind moving and your emotions erupting.
  • One of the finest tuned first-person shooter gameplay styles ever seen. Despite being over a decade old, Bioshock’s combat has aged like fine wine.
  • A dark, beautiful setting. Despite the horrors, you’ll feel compelled to stay in Rapture.

The balance of shooting and what are essentially superpowers make for exciting combat.

There is just about nothing as frightening as staring a big daddy down.

7. Dishonored (2012)

 

Welcome to the steampunk-inspired world of Dishonored! You play as a framed man forced into the life of an assassin. Utilize unique stealth-action combat and supernatural powers to navigate a fleshed-out world that meshes advancing technology with more out-of-this-world forces. Play through heart-racing action as you try and clear your name and eliminate a plague that threatens to destroy the lower class.

Top 3 Things That Make This Game Great

  • Varied gameplay options gives the player freedom in how they want to play the game.
  • A fully realized, rich overworld. 
  • Well designed, fun combat. Stealth combat has never looked better.

I mean, using rats to take down foes is unconventional...but whoever said it was ineffective?

Cut into foes like ribbon. You versus the world? I’d bet on you here.

6. Alien Isolation (2014)

Are you ready to be horrified? No? Too bad! Play as Amanda Ridley, daughter of iconic Alien film protagonist Ellen Ridley. Run, hide, survive from a terrifyingly intelligent xenomorph on that path towards your destruction. Bone-chilling scares, countless sci-fi enemies, and a good helping of impressive stealth gameplay await you. Only the strongest will survive.

Top 3 Things That Make This Game Great

  • Hiding from the intelligent AI of the xenomorph is horror gaming personified.
  • Darkness everywhere, a dreadfully beautiful visual design that calls back to the Alien film series.
  • A fantastically realized space station setting that reminds the player of the greatness of System Shock.

You can try and run, and you can try and hide…

Be prepared to have your heart race. Don’t let him find you!

5. P.A.M.E.L.A. (2017)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=

 

Woken from cryosleep, you find a utopian city called Eden that has fallen to an unsettling disease. Along with Eden’s AI guardian, Pamela, you must find ways to survive an overworld populated by a diseased population. How you will survive is up to you, but good luck overcoming the game’s unforgiving nature!

Top 3 Things That Make This Game Great

  • Intelligently designed gameplay that forces the player to really think out and adapt their strategies. 
  • Pamela’s assistance in the combat and the gameplay itself creates an experience pretty unique to this game.
  • The world of Eden is a well-realized and unique one. Beautiful but often unsettling. 

Darker imagery and gameplay that harkens back to classics such as System Shock.

Hauntingly beautiful design. The overall feel of P.A.M.E.L.A is something all its own.

4. SOMA (2015)

From the creators of Amnesia: The Dark Descent comes an intensely frightening experience that takes place below the Atlantic Ocean. Thrown into a claustrophobic environment, the player must survive the psychological monsters he encounters outside as well as inside. Discover your past through a bone-chilling video gaming experience that will leave you scared hours after you turn your PC off.

Top 3 Things That Make This Thing Great

  • Everything from the sound design to the environment creates a fantastically scary experience for the player.
  • A narrative with deep themes that will leave the player questioning themselves.
  • Intense puzzle-solving gameplay that harkens back to the Amnesia games. Be prepared for horror and intensity.

Robots that think they’re human? Sounds like a nice, totally not sad existential time to me!

I mean, if the environment itself didn’t already fill you with fear, the monsters definitely will.

3.  F.E.A.R. (2005)

 

When a group of special forces is mysteriously slaughtered by seemingly supernatural forces, the First Encounter Assault recon team is sent in to a military compound to deal with the threat. You play as Point Man, a F.E.A.R. operative with supernatural reflexes. You soon discover there is something truly evil afoot, an evil that possesses the body of a little girl. Use your reflexes, your wit, and your guns to mow through endless horror. Can you face your fear?

Top 3 Things That Make This Game Great

  • Point Man’s reflexes manifest themselves in a bullet time mechanic that compliments the well-designed shooter gameplay perfectly.
  • Truly horrific imagery and environment that creates a unique horror/shooter dynamic.
  • A.I. that was truly ahead of its time. Enemies still feel like more of a threat than in other games from this era. 

Horrific, gruesome imagery plants this game firmly on this list.

Alma is pure evil in the form of a creepy young girl. As the game goes on, she will grow to terrify you.

2. Vampire: The Masquerade- Bloodlines (2004)

In a world where vampires operate in the grungy underworld of Los Angeles, play through a dark and gritty action RPG. A player-created character and brand new vampire must navigate a dark, urban fantasy world with brutal, innovative combat. An RPG with endless personality and player freedom, Bloodlines will make you want to take a bite at it!

Top 3 Things That Make This Game Great

  • Freedom. You have a character that you create with so many rich choices for everything. 
  • Urban fantasy aesthetic that brings back memories of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Great game world.
  • An edgy narrative that has to be one of the best written for a game I’ve experienced. 

Fighting off hordes of the undead is all in a day’s work for a vampire...I guess?

Uh… maybe he’s friendly?

Deus Ex: Game of the Year Edition (2000)

In the not so distant future of 2052, the world is unraveling right before our very eyes. The gap between rich and poor never farther, the world ravaged by crime and chaos. You are JC Denton, an agent tasked with helping to cure the horrific virus known only as “Gray Death.”  In a cyberpunk based world where conspiracy theories are real, will you help stop world domination? 

Top 3 Things That Make This Game Great

  • Multiple solutions to multiple problems. This game grants a lot of freedom to the player.
  • A compelling narrative that inspires a lot of thought during and after play.
  • Cyberpunk atmosphere at its most realized. An excellent and well-realized world.

Men in black? Maybe your crazy, conspiracy theorist uncle was right.

Frantic shooter gameplay mixed with compelling narrative? Sounds like a delicious gaming smoothie to me. 

Bonus Game: Cyberpunk 2077 (2020)

Cyberpunk 2077 trailer

Though not released yet, I am hyped for Cyberpunk, and you should be too! Set in a megacity in the future, you play as a customizable character through an action rpg oozing with a steampunk aesthetic you’ve come to love! With the hype surrounding Cyberpunk 2077 and the fantastic track record of CD Projekt Red, we could be seeing the birth of another System Shock in terms of influence!

Top 3 Things That Will Make This Game Great

  • The game is said to have practically endless customization. Be prepared to lock yourself in your room for days with this one!
  • Much like The Witcher series, the game world appears to be well fleshed out and dripping with personality.
  • A branching dialogue system and unique “street cred” system that will definitely add layers of depth to the game.

Cyberpunk elements, a world of depth, AND Keanu Reeves? Sign me up!

I guess in the future, a guy won’t be able to eat his lunch in peace.

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Jesse likes writing stories, drinking too much coffee, being overly critical, and long walks in post-apocalyptic wastelands. If he is away from his keyboard, please send help.
Gamer Since: 2002
Favorite Genre: RPG
Currently Playing: Detention
Top 3 Favorite Games:Fallout: New Vegas, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, Psychonauts
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