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I saw that System Shock 2 was on sale at GOG, and got interested. Can I realistically play the game and follow on the plot without prior playing of the original? How connected are they?

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Yes.

The introduction to SS2 recounts the story of SS1.

While there are callbacks, and of course, the games share a universe, you don't need any background to just jump right in with the sequel.

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  • The only downside would be that it lessens the shock of the big reveal. ("Who is she anyway?" versus "Wow, so she was behind all of this?")
    – vsz
    Commented Mar 24, 2014 at 7:17
  • I did not play System Shock and when I played SS2 in '99 I was shocked at Shodan's reveal. The game gives you enough information for it to be ...well shocking. :D
    – Adam Arold
    Commented Jul 31, 2014 at 23:09

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