System Shock 2

From Before I Play
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  • The game can't run on multi-threaded CPUs. Open SS2, then go to task manager and right click on the ss2.exe (whatever it is called), go to "Set affinity", and uncheck all but one box. This has to be done each time you run the program, but should let it run normally.
  • If you have the latest official version, then plain vanilla is fine. Although you may want to read the readme file for how to lower, or shut off weapon degradation and monster respawns. Generally, I like the respawn rate as it is, but the original weapon degradation rate is a bit too high, and prefer to set it at about 0.5.
  • Get a good set of headphones, turn out the lights, and play at night for the first two levels or so. There's a reason this game shows up all the time on scariest games list.
  • Broken shotguns still have one shell in them. So if you come across any shotgun wielding maniacs whose shotguns always break once they die, pick up the shotgun, unload the ammo, then toss the gun.
  • Don't try to kill a protocol droid with a wrench. You're probably gonna try it anyways just to see what happens. Fine, save your game before you try to kill a protocol droid with a wrench.
  • Either go all out with Psi, or don't do it at all. You can try being Navy or Marine with a bit of Psi power on the side, but you're pretty much gimping yourself.
  • Go Navy. You can start with Hack 1 and Standard Weapons 3, two critical skills.
  • Standard weapons rock, get it to 6 by the fourth deck or so. For Heavy Weapons, just 1, for the hilariously broken Grenade Launcher. The other weapons suck; ignore them.
  • Stats aren't that important, just get 4 of all except PSI (more late game if you're done with everything else) and you're golden.
  • Get Hack 4, Maintain 4, Modify 1 and Research 1. Hack is awesome, but the stuff you need over 4 to hack is not worth it, and only appears really late anyway. Maintain 4 lets you repair all your weapons, and Modify 1 allows you to upgrade several weapons (you get auto-upgrade items to improve the better weapons to upgrade two). And you need Research 1, though an implant can give you this temporarily anyway.
  • And save every single AP bullet you get on the first deck. Why? The droids. My God, the droids.
  • The wrench is awesome. It never breaks, and you can smack a million hybrids over the head with it - saving your precious guns from breakage. You should only retire your wrench when you find the crystal shard.
  • Research any organs you find. That's pretty obvious but it can be a pain in the arse backtracking to find that specific element that you need. You could possibly source an FAQ and carefully read the research sections (to avoid spoiling the game) to bypass this tedious aspect.
  • Choose your OS upgrades wisely; you only get 4. Most are useless, like the overhead swing or similar effects can be gained by using plug-ins.
  • Guns are made of tinsel, sticky tape and paper mache. Keep a shotty, pistol, laser gun and grenade launcher. Only use them when you need to.
  • Hack everything. Be careful with those orange (ICE) nodes.
  • The psi amp can give you some very useful tricks, although you'd only buy them later in the game. However, the tier-one psi-pull pays for itself over and over, but only if you look around carefully for all those handy little caches of things stashed in high places.
  • Oh, and you can destroy those annoying cameras too. It took me a while the first time through to realize that.
  • Listen carefully to those little log discs you find around the place. They give an amazing amount of background story info, and often clues to even more stashed goodies.
  • There are crazy amounts of stuff hidden away behind bins, on shelves, up in roof access areas, in little alcoves and locked boxes. If you can't open something, write a note down and come back when you can. All that stuff adds up. E.g. In one of the shuttle bays, there's a pile of cyber modules (Upgrade points for those who don't know).
  • Disobey Shodan. You get your -10 modules back by looting the corpse, and there's some story content in there.