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Analysis Guide by C.LE
Version: 1.12 | Updated: 08/08/2013
Highest Rated FAQ
======================================================================= C h r i s L e e ' s U l t i m a t e S S 2 A n a l y s i s v 1.12 ======================================================================= ======================================================================= The officially latest (as well as latest, official) version of this FAQ/Guide can be found at www.gamefaqs.com. ======================================================================= ======================================================================= Table of Contents ----------------------------------------------------------------------- A word on navigation: to jump to a specific section, simply use the 'FIND' command (CTRL-F) and type in the 5 letter key next to the section (doing only the 3 numbers within the brackets will probably send you to a random section of the guide). ----------------------------------------------------------------------- 1. Introduction and Contact Info (aka What the hell is this?)  2. General Notes (aka What other guides won't tell you!)  a. Stats  b. Damage bonuses  c. Difficulties  d. Cyber Modules  e. Character Creation  f. Weapon Durability  3. Standard Weapons  a. Wrench  b. Pistol  c. Shotgun  d. Assault Rifle  4. Energy Weapons  a. Laser Pistol  b. Laser Rapier  c. EMP Rifle  5. Heavy Weapons  a. Grenade Launcher  b. Stasis Field Generator  c. Fusion Cannon  6. Exotic Weapons  a. Crystal Shard  b. Viral Proliferator  c. Annelid Launcher (aka Worm Launcher)  7. Technical Skills  8. PSI  a. Tier 1  b. Tier 2  c. Tier 3  d. Tier 4  e. Tier 5  9. OS Upgrades  10. Researchable Things [A00] 11. Managing Impossible Difficulty [B00] a. General Tips [B10] b. Full OSA [B20] i. A Word on PSI Hypos [B21] ii. PSI Hypo Economics [B22] iii.OS Upgrades [B23] iv. Technical Skills [B24] v. Stats and PSI [B25] vi. Typical Build [B26] vii.Notes/Tactics [B27] 12. Character Concepts [C00] 13. Bestiary [D00] a. Damage Table [D10] b. Annelids [D20] i. Annelid Egg [D21] ii. Annelid Grub [D22] iii.Arachnids [D23] iv. PSI Reavers [D24] c. Swarms [D30] i. Swarm [D31] c. Half Annelids [D40] i. Hybrids [D41] ii. Rumblers [D42] iii.Monkeys [D43] d. Half Mechanical [D50] i. Assassins [D51] ii. Midwives [D52] e. Mechanical [D60] i. Turrets [D61] ii. Robots [D62] iii.SHODAN Avatar [D63] f. Basic [D70] i. SHODAN Shield [D71] g. SHODAN [D80] i. SHODAN [D81] 14. Appendix: Molecular Transmutation Analysis [E00] a. The Equation [E10] b. The Table [E20] 15. Final Notes [F00] a. Conclusion/Special Thanks [F10] b. Resources [F20] c. Endnotes and References [F30] d. My Works [F40] e. Legal Disclaimer [F50] f. History [F60] ======================================================================= ======================================================================= 1. Introduction and Contact Info (aka What the hell is this?)  ----------------------------------------------------------------------- System Shock 2 is one of THE most entertaining games ever created. Period. That wild assertion being said, it surprised me how low the level of discourse was for a game that is so amazingly complex. Guide existed with gross errors, huge fallacies, and oversimplifications. Thus I felt I had a mission to produce a high-quality (can you feel the pretension yet?), in-depth analysis of everything System Shock 2 has to offer. I must warn you: this is NOT a walkthrough. If you want to find out where every cybermodule is, this is not the guide for you. If you do want to see just how useful everything is, then by all means, this is for you. If you want to grab a hold of me, pop me an e-mail with the subject line beginning "SS2 FAQ: " and send it to: firstname.lastname@example.org WITHOUT the underscores. This is just to prevent auto-parsers from nabbing my e-mail address for SPAM. So, the final e-mail should be an 8-letter word followed by @uchicago.edu. ======================================================================= ======================================================================= 2. General Notes (aka What other guides won't tell you!)  ----------------------------------------------------------------------- So there's a lot of basic information that most guides won't tell you and are fairly important to know. ----------------------------------------------------------------------- 2a. Stats  Strength: each point gives you 3 extra inventory slots, plus increases melee damage. How much extra damage you deal with a melee weapon is determined as: Strength Score Bonus Damage 1 0 2 1 3 2 4 3 5 4 6 6 7 10 8 15 Note that this damage is dealt after any multiplicative bonuses to your weapon, as otherwise it'd just be ridiculous (8 Strength with maxed Wrench would do absurd damage per hit). Endurance: each point reduces toxin/radiation and PSI Burnout damage and increases Health. How much damage you take from toxins, radiation, and burnout is determined as: Endurance Score Environmental Damage 1 100% 2 94% 3 85% 4 73% 5 58% 6 40% 7 20% 8 1% Normal burnout damage is 3 damage per tier of PSI that you burned on. Agility: each point increases movement speed, fall damage reduction, and reduces weapon kickback (only matters for Standard and Exotic Weapons). Movement speed is modified in the following way: Agility Score Movement Speed Factor 1 1.20 2 1.30 3 1.40 4 1.50 5 1.60 6 1.70 7 1.85 8 2.00 PSI: each point increases PSI points and PSI effectiveness (see Difficulties section for PSI Points and specific PSI powers for more details). For most purposes, PSI is capped at 8, although a few PSI Abilities (Remote Circuitry Manipulation, Molecular Transmutation, Advanced and regular Cerebro-Stimulated Regeneration, and Metacreative Barrier) count as high as 10. Cyber-Affinity: each Cyber-Affinity reduces the number of ICE nodes during a technical task by 1 (so a Cyber-Affinity of 6 means you have 6 less ICE nodes with which to deal) and also increases your success at a technical task by 5%. ----------------------------------------------------------------------- 2b. Damage Bonuses  Investing in weapon skills increases damage with the weapons of that category. Specifically, each skill level above the minimum skill needed for a weapon gives you a 15% bonus per skill level. So, if you a have a pistol (minimum Standard Weapons 1) and have Standard Weapons 3, you'll have a 30% damage bonus with the pistol. This means that weapons that require a skill level of 6 for weapons will never get a damage bonus this way. In addition, aside from any other bonuses, the first modification you make to a weapon gives it a 10% bonus. The second modification increases the bonus to a total of 25%. However, melee weapons cannot be modified so they can never get this bonus damage. ----------------------------------------------------------------------- 2c. Difficulties  Depending on your difficulty, various things change. The most apparent is the cost in cyber modules of various abilites. In addition, how your HP and PSI Points are calculated change, Replicator costs change, and how frequently enemies drop loot changes. On Normal, abilities cost according to this table: Skill Level 1 2 3 4 5 6 Tech 10 5 8 12 25 50 Stats - 3 8 15 30 50 Weapon 12 6 8 15 36 50 PSI Level 10 20 30 50 75 - PSI Powers 3 5 8 12 20 - In addition, maximum HP is 30 + 5 x Endurance. Maximum PSI Points is 5 + 10 x PSI. On Easy, cybernetic module costs are 85% of Normal, rounding down. Maximum HP is 45 + 10 x Endurance. Maximum PSI Points is 10 + 16 x PSI. Furthermore, Replicator prices are 85% of Normal. On Hard, cybernetic module costs are 139% of Normal, rounding down. Maximum HP is 24 + 3 x Endurance. Maximum PSI Points is 3 + 8 x PSI. Replicator prices are 125% of Normal. In addition, enemies have a 30% chance of not even checking their loot tables upon death. (So, if an enemy has a 50% chance on their loot table of not dropping anything, first the game checks to see if the enemy checks the loot table (30%). If the check is successful, it drops nothing. Otherwise, the game checks the actual loot table (in which there's a 50% chance that it still won't drop anything).) On Impossible, cybernetic module costs are 179% of Normal, rounding down. Maximum HP is a paltry 7 + 3 x Endurance. Maximum PSI Points is 1 + 5 x PSI. Replicator are 200% of normal. Enemies have a 75% chance of not even checking their loot tables upon death. On Multiplayer, cybernetic module costs are 139% of Normal, rounding down. Maximum HP is 24 + 3 x Endurance. Maximum PSI Points is 10 + 16 x PSI. ----------------------------------------------------------------------- 2d. Cyber Modules  This is an important point of reference for anyone who wants to plan their character in advance; there are 875 total cyber modules in the game. Note that there are *no* cyber modules hidden within crates although there are still some in areas generally accessibly only by a hackable keypad or some such (but generally logs exist that reveal the code of the keypad). So you don't have to worry too much about getting Hack so that you can get all the cyber modules in the game. Remember: the game requires you to have Research 1 and to be able to hack a Replicator. The game gives you a non-cyber-module solution to both by providing you with a LabAssistant implant (which gives you Research +1) as well as several ICE Picks (which gives you a free hack). ----------------------------------------------------------------------- 2e. Character Creation  Alot of behind-the-scenes happens when you're creating a character. In addition, it's worth noting that not ALL paths are created equal. While you get bonuses for free during character creation, those same abilities are going to cost you hard-earned cybernetic modules once you board the Von Braun. So, sometimes, when you know you're going to get several choices eventually, you should opt for the one that gives you more cybernetic modules for free, especially on Hard and Impossible difficulties, where the discrepency in free modules between choices grows. All cybernetic module equivalences are for Normal difficulty. Multiply by .85 for Easy (rounding down), 1.39 for Hard (rounding down), and 1.79 for Impossible (rounding down) to get values for those difficulties. MARINES: simply by choosing this path you get Standard Weapons +1 for free (worth 12 modules). Year 1: All choices are worth 11 modules. Year 2: a) +1 Energy Weapons, +1 Cyber-Affinity: worth 15 modules. You also begin the game with a poor condition (2) Laser Pistol in your inventory. b) +1 Heavy Weapons, +1 Cyber-Affinity: worth 15 modules. You also begin the game with a poor condition (2) Grenade Launcher in your inventory with a full clip of Fragmentation Grenades. c) +2 Standard Weapons: worth 14 modules. Year 3: All choices are worth 10 modules, but with +1 Maintenace, you also begin the game with a Disposable Maintenance Tool in your inventory. CONCLUSION - You can get a maximum of 48 free cybernetic modules. NAVY: simply by choosing this path you get Standard Weapons +1 for free (worth 12 modules). Year 1: All choices are worth 13 modules. Year 2: a) +2 Cyber-Affinity: worth 11 modules. b) +1 Maintenance: worth 10 modules. You also begin the game with a Disposable Maintenance Tool in your inventory. c) +2 Standard Weapons: worth 14 modules. Year 3: a) +1 Research: worth 10 modules. b) +2 Endurance: worth 11 modules. c) +2 Agility: worth 11 modules. CONCLUSION - You can get a maximum of 50 free cybernetic modules. OSA: simply by choosing this path you get Tier 1 PSI for free (worth 10 modules). You also begin the game with a PSI Amp in your inventory. Year 1: All choices are worth 26 modules. Year 2: a) +2 PSI: worth 11 modules. b) +1 Research: worth 10 modules. c) +2 Endurance: worth 11 modules. Year 3: All choices are worth 13 modules. CONCLUSION - You can get a maximum of 60 free cybernetic modules. In the end, the biggest difference is between Navy/Marines and the OSA. This basically means that if you plan on getting PSI at some point in the game at all (especially the abilities offered by the OSA path), you should probably become an OSA. On Impossible, this is 18 more cybernetic modules for free over the Navy, choosing solely optimal paths. On Normal and Easy, you can afford to be "wasteful" with your cybernetic modules; the difference matters little in the end and plays mainly into your short-run goals. If you want to be able to research as soon as possible and get that 25% bonus against hybrids asap, that's fine. Or maybe you're going to get Research anyway, but you want +2 Endurance so you'll have better early survability. On Hard, you have to weigh your choices a bit more. The difference can be as much 20 cyber modules (inefficient NAVY versus efficient OSA), which is enough to boost a stat up two levels or get a Tier 4 PSI ability, all of which matter a whole lot more than Normal or Easy since you have comparatively less of them (stats and PSI). Still, even here, the difference is not nearly as pronounced as Impossible, and it really ultimately works down to the character concept you have. ----------------------------------------------------------------------- 2f. Weapon Durability  Just a note: in the following weapons section, treat all durability as if you were rounding up for purposes of what is displayed in-game. That is, if you have a weapon at 9.5 durability, it'll show as "10" in-game. Likewise, .9 durability is "1". Yes, that's right. Durability is stored as a decimal with 3 digits of precision (so up to 2 decimal places). You only get to see the integer part of it, but that's all you really need to know. ======================================================================= ======================================================================= 3. Standard Weapons  ----------------------------------------------------------------------- Standard Weapons are, without a doubt, the single most powerful path of training you can take in System Shock 2. With proper management of ammunition types (so you use the right ammo on the right enemies), almost NOTHING will ever stand in your way. Not only is it absurdly powerful, but it's also the easiest for which to obtain ammunition. In fact, you may be stunned by the lack of challenge you face in the end-game if you take this path. If you want this game to be more than a walk in the park, I wouldn't take standard weapons past level 3 (for shotguns). ----------------------------------------------------------------------- 3a. Wrench  Prerequisites: None Damage: 7 (9 with Smasher) Damage Type: WeaponBash Assessment (4/5): Despite not having any prerequisites, the Wrench is a standard weapon. Which means if you max out Standard Weapons, you'll get a total of a 90% bonus to damage. The Wrench will pretty much be the meat of your offense for most of the early game. Dealing WeaponBash damage, it'll deal full damage to most everything and half damage to robots. With certain Hard difficulty builds and on Impossible difficulty, this will be the workhorse of your offense. However, its weakness is in the fact that it's so basic. There are other weapons that will do better in any task you need it do to, although the wrench is the most cyber module-effective (in other words, free). DANGER: The wrench does *not* damage SHODAN. Take care to have a SHODAN-damaging backup weapon on hand if you plan on going all out with wrenching. ----------------------------------------------------------------------- 3b. Pistol  Prerequisites: Standard Weapons 1 Damage: Primary mode - 4, Secondary mode - 4 x 3 shots Damage Type: Standard, Armor Piercing, High-Explosive Ammunition/Consumption: Bullets/1 per shot, clip size of 12 Fire Rate: Primary mode - 2 shots/sec, Secondary mode - 3 shots 3 times/sec. Reload Time: .5 seconds Projectile Speed: Very Fast (300) Breakability: At durability 1.0, will have a .5% chance of breaking, increasing linearly to a 5% chance of breaking at durability 0.0. Loses .1 durability per shot. Maintenance/Repair: 1/1 Repair Difficulty: 20 Nanite cost, Base Failure 70%, Base ICE 3. Modify #1: Increases clip size (12 to 24). Damage increased by 10%. Difficulty: Modify 1 required, 20 Nanite cost, Base Failure 70%, Base ICE 2. Modify #2: Reduces reload time by 2/3. Damage bonus increased to a total of 25%. Difficulty: Modify 3 required, 35 Nanite cost, Base Failure 90%, Base ICE 4. Assessment (3/5): Early on, this is a terrible weapon. Ammo is rare and the Pistol is in fact weaker than the wrench. Moreover, the Pistol degrades quite quickly, especially in the triple-shot mode. However, once ammo becomes more common and once you've been able to develop the ability to quickly switch to the appropriate types of ammo (Standard ammunition is not quite efficient), the Pistol becomes quite an effective tool for dispatching tough enemies. Although, you should be able to do quite well with a wrench in most cases, though the Pistol is a nice way to dispatch Protocol Droids, turrets, and all other forms of tough monstrosities. ----------------------------------------------------------------------- 3c. Shotgun  Prerequisites: Standard Weapons 3 Damage: Primary mode - 8, Secondary mode - 16 Pellet Damage: Primary mode - 1 x 6 scattered shots, Secondary mode - 2 x 6 scattered shots Damage Type: Standard, High-Explosive (Pellets) Ammunition/Consumption: Slugs/1 per shot, 3 per shot in secondary mode (yes, 3x ammo for 2x damage) Fire Rate: Primary mode - 1 shot/sec, Secondary mode - 1 shot/sec. Reload Time: Primary mode - 1 second, Secondary mode - 1.5 seconds. Projectile Speed: Very Fast (300) Breakability: At durability 1.0, will have a .5% chance of breaking, increasing linearly to a 5% chance of breaking at durability 0.0. Loses .1 durability per shot. Maintenance/Repair: 2/3 Repair Difficulty: 35 Nanite cost, Base Failure 85%, Base ICE 4. Modify #1: Cuts reload time by 2/3. Damage increased by 10%. Difficulty: Modify 1 required, 25 Nanite cost, Base Failure 75%, Base ICE 3. Modify #2: Cuts kickback by 2/3. Damage bonus increased to a total of 25%. Difficulty: Modify 3 required, 40 Nanite cost, Base Failure 100%, Base ICE 5. Assessment (4/5): Shotgun ammunition is plentiful (just make sure to unload the shotguns found off Shotgun Hybrids). It's not really necessary to upgrade from the Pistol until you start facing off against harder enemies than just Hybrids and Monkeys (so maybe once you hit Operations deck). Using Pellets isn't terribly effective since the ammo, instead of doing one shot of 6, it deals a scatter of 6 shots of 1 damage each. So, you have to be quite close to the target, otherwise you'll only hit a target marginally, although this has the side effect of giving a small area of effect spread. However, at best, the Shotgun is a way to transition from the Pistol to the Assault Rifle. When the Pistol starts getting too weak, the Shotgun keeps your damage level up while you can re-stockpile ammo for the Assault Rifle. ----------------------------------------------------------------------- 3d. Assault Rifle  Prerequisites: Standard Weapons 6, Strength 2 Damage: Primary mode - 10, Secondary mode - 10 (Full auto) Damage Type: Standard, High-Explosive, Armor Piercing Ammunition/Consumption: Bullets/1 per shot, clip size of 36. Fire Rate: Primary Mode - 2 shots/sec, Secondary Mode - nonstop cascade of 10 shots/sec. Reload Time: 1 second Projectile Speed: Very Fast (300) Breakability: At durability 1.0, will have a .5% chance of breaking, increasing linearly to a 5% chance of breakign at durability 0.0. Loses .05 durability per shot. Maintenance/Repair: 4/4 Repair Difficulty: 25 Nanite cost, Base Failure 100%, Base ICE 5. Modify #1: Reduces reload time by 2/3. Damage increased by 10%. Difficulty: Modify 2 required, 40 Nanite cost, Base Failure 85%, Base ICE 4. Modify #2: Increases clip size (36 to 72). Damage bonus increased to a total of 25%. Difficulty: Modify 4 required, 60 Nanite cost, Base Failure 110%, Base ICE 6. Assessment (5/5): *The* most powerful weapon in the game. Period. Ammunition is plentiful (and available since the beginning of the game). As long as you use the right type of ammuntion (again, Standard isn't terribly efficient), you should be able to mow through enemies easily. Rumblers will fall in five quick shots WITHOUT ANY BONUSES CALCULATED IN. Wow. You should never have to use the secondary mode, since it offers very little bonus except a temporarily heightened damage per second rate. Maybe if you've got three Rumblers charging at you, this'll be your best bet for surviving the fight and ending it quickly. On Impossible mode, despite however expensive it is to get this skill, it's almost definitely worth it. Unlike the Grenade Launcher, ammunition is available freely without having to resort to Replicators, and it's the cheapest to duplicate (even not using Molecular Duplication). Plus, it makes your wrench all that much more powerful in the process. ======================================================================= ======================================================================= 4. Energy Weapons  ----------------------------------------------------------------------- Energy Weapons, like Exotic Weapons, are highly specialized. They focus on doing massive damage to robotic creations (most of them do Energy, which does double damage against robots, but half damage against organic and semi-organic creatures). Unfortunately, Mechanical and Robotic enemies are much less frequent then organic creatures. However, this is made up for by the fact that ammunition for Energy Weapons is essentially infinite, since you can instantly recharge all of them by visiting a Charger. If you're not near one, you can just use a Portable Battery or Electron Cascade (PSI power) to buy yourself time. More than anyother weapons category, Energy Weapons benefit from a high Maintenance. Maintenance increases the maximum charge that can be stored by 10 per Maintenance, which is hugely significant. The last thing that you want to happen is to run out of charge in the middle of a fight. DANGER: DO NOT TAKE THIS AS YOUR ONLY METHOD OF OFFENSE; THE BODY OF THE MANY IS ALL ORGANIC AND LITERALLY IMPOSSIBLE WITH JUST AN EMP RIFLE. It is remotely possible with just a lasier rapier, but close to impossible with just a laser pistol (unless you do a *lot* of nimble footwork and backtracking to the recharge station... which becomes impossible after a certain point). ----------------------------------------------------------------------- 4a. Laser Pistol  Prerequisites: Energy Weapons 1 Damage: Primary Mode - 2, Secondary Mode - 12 Damage Type: Energy Ammunition/Consumption: Energy/Primary Mode - 3 units, Secondary Mode - 20 units. Storage capacity 100 (plus Maintenance bonuses). Fire Rate: Primary Mode - 3 shots/sec, Secondary Mode - 1 shot per 3 seconds. Reload Time: n/a (can't reload; recharge at a Recharge Station) Projectile Speed: Fast (100) Breakability: At durability 1.0, will have a .5% chance of breaking, increasing linearly to a 5% chance of breaking at durability 0.0. Loses .05 durability per shot. Maintenance/Repair: 1/1 Repair Difficulty: 25 Nanite cost, Base Failure 75%, Base ICE 3. Modify #1: Increase storage capacity by 50% (stacks on top of Maintenance bonuses). Damage increased by 10%. Difficulty: Modify 2 required, 20 Nanite cost, Base Failure 75%, Base ICE 2. Modify #2: Decreases energy consumption by 33% (rounding down). Damage bonus increased to a total of 25%. Difficulty: Modify 4 required, 35 Nanite cost, Base Failure 95%, Base ICE 4. Assessment (2/5): The Laser Pistol isn't that great of a weapon. Its Primary Mode is weaker than the Pistol (which is already weaker than a Wrench). Its Primary damage is so low that any bonuses you get from Weapons skill, Modify, or OS Upgrades basically make no impact whatsoever in your kill power. Its overdrive mode (Secondary Mode) is, however, much better if slightly inefficient. It'll be a fast way to deal with robotic creatures or if you're in a hurry to take down a turret. Otherwise, the Laser Pistol is primarily for taking out Protocol Droids, Cameras, and for doing the finishing touch on exploding Robots. Maybe if you've got no other choice, you can use it to take out turrets. The Laser Pistol, however, does make up for all these deficiencies by being very sturdy (twice so than the Pistol) and having almost limitless (essentially free) ammunition. It's interesting to note, though, that once you get 6 Energy Weapons, both Modifications, and Sharpshooter OS upgrade, that piddling initial 2 damage becomes somewhat effective due to the high rate of fire and the efficiency of ammuntion. Plus, that 12 damage from overdrive mode has become a serious damage dealer (and not *that* inefficient with 6 Maintenance and the suitable Modification). Still, that's a lot of ifs, and it's still nothing compared to a properly loaded Pistol. Remember: Energy does half damage against Spiders and PSI Reavers, but double damage against all fully mechanical things. ----------------------------------------------------------------------- 4b. Laser Rapier  Prerequisites: Energy Weapons 4, Agility 3 Damage: 11 (14 with Smasher) Damage Type: Energy Assessment (4/5): The Laser Rapier is a VERY powerful weapon. It's easily and quickly accessible (as early as Engineering). It deals huge amounts of damage so that you can still use it against fully organic targets to good effect. When you come up against a robotic target, you can take them down *lightning* fast. Its shortcoming is that it's not as universally useful as either the Wrench or the Crystal Shard (or for that matter, the PSI Sword). If you do plan on going dedicatedly melee, this should be, at best, just a short stop on the way to the Crystal Shard (and you might just be better off skipping it completely for Cybernetic Module efficiency). In addition, because the Laser Rapier is at level 4 of your Energy Weapons, you'll only get a 30% bonus to its damage from maxing out Energy Weapons, versus 90% and 75% for the Wrench and Crystal Shard, respectively (a maxed out Laser Rapier still out- damages a maxed out Wrench, all things being equal). So, all this makes the Laser Rapier the second-best melee weapon in the game. Where does it fit in? Melee builds can skip this over. PSI builds (aside from pure PSI builds) can use this, since this gives the PSI user a great answer to robotic creatuers until the EMP Rifle becomes available, and it also becomes a replacement for a Wrench. Unless it complements your build, don't go out of your way to get this, but if it does, it's a very strong weapon. NOTE: The Laser Rapier has a larger range than the Wrench. It also has a slightly different sweep, so be sure to adjust your melee-ing appropriately. SECOND NOTE: It is a special distinction that the Laser Rapier is the only non-PSI melee weapon taht can damage SHODAN (provided you've lowered her shields so that you can jump onto her support platform). ----------------------------------------------------------------------- 4c. EMP Rifle  Prerequisites: Energy Weapons 6 Damage: Primary Mode - 10 (Area of Effect of radius 10 ft), Secondary Mode - 15 (Area of Effect of radius 15 ft) Damage Type: EMP Ammunition/Consumption: Energy/Primary Mode - 2 units, Secondary Mode - 20 units. Storage capacity 100 (plus Maintenance bonuses). Fire Rate: 2.5 shots/sec. Reload Time: n/a (can't reload; recharge at a Recharge Station) Projectile Speed: Medium (70) Breakability: At durability 1.0, will have a .5% chance of breaking, increasing linearly to a 5% chance of breaking at durability 0.0. Loses .15 durability per shot. Maintenance/Repair: 6/2 Repair Difficulty: 35 Nanite cost, Base Failure 95%, Base ICE 4. Modify #1: Increases storage capacity by 50% (stacks on top of Maintenance bonuses). Damage increased by 10%. Difficulty: Modify 3 required, 25 Nanite cost, Base Failure 80%, Base ICE 3. Modify #2: Decreases energy consumption by 50%. Increases projectile speed by 50%. Damage bonus increased to a total of 25%. Difficulty: Modify 5 required, 40 Nanite cost, Base Failure 100%, Base ICE 5. Assessment (4/5): At first glance it seems like the EMP Rifle is a very inferior version of an Assault Rifle. EMP damage hurts ONLY robotic and mechanical creatures and doesn't do a thing to organic creatures. However, there is no kickback (kickback is only for Standard and Exotic Weapons), so any frantic firing can be done with precision. In addition, the Secondary Mode can easily deal with clumps of powerful robots and does massive damage, due to its massive kill spread. Moreover, the rifle is powered by charge, ammo is essentially limitless and free - not only that, but with the second upgrade and judicious use of the Normal mode of firing (you'll rarely ever need the secondary mode's Overdrive), this weapon is *very* efficient compared to its damage potential (240 shots before needing a recharge?! wow!). However, it does nothing whatsoever to fully organic enemies. Good for multiplayer friendly fire cases, but this makes the Energy Weapons' main weakness even more painfully clear. Second, it's rare for tough robots to cluster (when was the last time you fought two or more Assault Bots at once, and how close were they to each other?), so the Secondary Mode is limited to just a high-damage mode most of the time, though it also means you can be less precise with aiming. In addition, you need a Maintenace of 6 just to fix this baby, but if you're going full Energy Weapons, you might as well max out your Maintenance anyway to get full benefit out of your weapons. To sum it up, as long as you know the weaknesses of the Energy Weapons, you won't be disappointed with this final-tier weapon. Anything remotely mechanical will die so insanely quickly that you won't even have time to blink. ======================================================================= ======================================================================= 5. Heavy Weapons  ----------------------------------------------------------------------- Heavy Weapons are hard hitting. If Standard Weapons are agile, mobile, and precise, Heavy Weapons are the opposite. However, like Standard Weapons, alot of the power for Heavy Weapons comes in knowing when to use the right ammo at the right time, but even moreso, since each weapon carries a special task. At first blush, ammunition for Heavy Weapons seems terribly rare. Grenades are expensive and generally are found in small clips. When you first start getting Prisms and have an unmodified Stasis Field Generator, it seems like you're doomed to go through them at an insane rate. But, with proper management, you'll realize that you won't actually need that many grenades (due to the sheer power of the Grenade Launcher). Plus, with limited use of the Stasis Field Generator and early, aggressive moves to bring both the Stasis Field Generator and the Fusion Cannon to modification level 2, you'll find yourself actually hard-pressed to use up all the Prisms you'll start tripping over in later areas. There are really two ways to approach the Heavy Weapons mindset. In one, the Grenade Launcher is the star, a high-power weapon capable of dealing with any threat, and the rest just there to supplement specific needs. In the other, the Fusion Cannon is your cureall, with the Grenade Launcher there to deal with very specialized targets (and very well at that). It's probably best to decide on an approach early on, so you can better utilize the ammunition you'll be coming across. ----------------------------------------------------------------------- 5a. Grenade Launcher  Prerequisites: Heavy Weapons 1 Damage: 20 (Fragmentation), 10 (EMP/Proximity), 15 (Incendiary) 35 (Disruption) (all with Area of Effect of radius 10 ft, Disruption with an Area of Effect of radius 5 ft) Damage Type: Fragmentation/Disruption/Proximity - Standard, EMP - EMP, Incendiary - Incendiary Ammunition/Consumption: Grenades/1 per shot, clip size of 8. Fire Rate: 1 shot/sec. Reload Time: 1 second. Projectile Speed: Medium (80) Breakability: At durability 1.0, will have a .5% chance of breaking, increasing linearly to a 5% chance of breaking at durability 0.0. Loses .1 durability per shot. Maintenance/Repair: 2/2 Repair Difficulty: 40 Nanite cost, Base Failure 75%, Base ICE 3. Modify #1: Increases clip size (6 to 9). Damage increased by 100% for some grenades [sic]. Difficulty: Modify 1 required, 25 Nanite cost, Base Failure 75%, Base ICE 2. Modify #2: Increases projectile speed by 50%. Reload time reduced by 2/3. Damage bonus increased to a total of 128% for some grenades [sic]. Difficulty: Modify 3 required, 35 Nanite cost, Base Failure 110%, Base ICE 4. Assessment (5/5): This weapon rocks. It starts off strong and keeps getting better. In addition, a 60% bonus thanks to a maxed out Heavy Weapons skill means you completely demolish enemies with its wide array of grenade types. In Primary Mode, grenades explode on contact, in Secondary Mode, grenades bounce around for a while before exploding (or arming). However, it's very difficult to decide when to actually use it; the ammunition, while not as rare as, say, Worms, is rare in any given type. So, while you may be carrying 50 grenades, 10 might be Frags, 10 EMP, etc. The Area of Effect also doesn't really come into play until the later sections of the game when enemies are more clustered. That aside, as long as you can use the right ammo for the right job (and unlike Standard Weapons, the normal Frag, and later Disruption grenades are good all-purpose weapons) you will positively demolish enemies to smithereens with the greatest of ease. Even if you don't plan on using the Fusion Cannon, this weapon still makes it worth getting 6 in Heavy Weapons. As an aside, Proximity Grenades aren't very good for setting up traps. They have the annoying tendency to go off while the enemies are still out of range (though it depends on the enemy). My preferred use for them is as cheap, weaker versions of Fragmentation Grenades, well suited for taking out a cluster of grubs, hybrids, or baby arachnids, as Proximity Grenades that hit dead on explode normally. NOTE: There is a glitch (or feature) whereby the first modification of the Grenade Launcher increases damage by 100%, not 10%. This means, with all bonuses, a single Frag grenade can one-shot about anything save for Rumblers. There is another glitch in which Disruption Grenades do not get bonuses, which is in a way good for game balance, considering the first glitch, since a fully upgraded shot with a Disruption Grenade will one-shot anything in the game. ----------------------------------------------------------------------- 5b. Stasis Field Generator  Prerequisites: Heavy Weapons 3, Strength 3 Damage: Primary Mode - Stasis Freeze, Secondary Mode - Stasis Freeze (Area of Effect of radius 10 ft). Damage Type: Stasis Freeze Ammunition/Consumption: Prisms/Primary Mode - 4 prisms, Secondary Mode - 8 prisms, clip size of 12. Fire Rate: 5 shots/sec. Reload Time: Instantaneous Projectile Speed: Medium (70) Breakability: At durability 2.0, will have a 1% chance of breaking, increasing linearly to a 10% chance of breaking at durability 0.0. Loses .2 durabilty per shot. Maintenance/Repair: 3/6 Repair Difficulty: 60 Nanite cost, Base Failure 105%, Base ICE 4. Modify #1: Increases projectile speed by 100%. Difficulty: Modify 2 required, 25 Nanite cost, Base Failure 90%, Base ICE 3. Modify #2: Reduces prism consumption by 50%. Difficulty: Modify 4 required, 40 Nanite cost, Base Failure 115%, Base ICE 5. Assessment (2/5, Multiplayer 3/5): Unlike every other weapon, this actually deals no damage. Instead, it stuns an enemy and holds them in place for a few seconds, giving you time to prepare another attack or just to run away. The Secondary Mode consumes more prisms but grants an area of effect, allowing you to freeze several enemeis in place. There are a few times when this might be useful; highly agile Cyborg Assassins messing with you, a group of Rumblers are chasing you down, etc. Its duration is similar to a really low PSI Electron Suppression, but paired with a quick switch a Grenade Launcher or Fusion Cannon, it could be all the time you need to dispatch a mass of enemies. Plus, with both modifications, for limited use its prism consumption is pretty frugal. Ultimately, though, it tends to work solely for emergencies (like the aforementioned example of running into a group of Cyborg Assassins). Unfortunately because of this, it's so specialized in when you'll need it, that you'll rarely be busting it out. Moreover, by virtue of how good the Grenade Launcher can be, you may end up better off shooting a suitable Grenade instead. A special note for multiplayer: this actually becomes quite a good support weapon. This won't stun your friends, so you can use it to freeze monsters and let them do the dirty work without worrying about accidentally killing off your friends with a grenade or fusion blast. NOTE: PSI Reavers seem to be immune to this weapon. ----------------------------------------------------------------------- 5c. Fusion Cannon  Prerequisities: Heavy Weapons 6, Strength 4 Damage: Normal Mode - 20 (Area of Effect of radius 10 ft), Death Mode - 30 (Area of Effect of radius 12 ft). Damage Type: Energy Ammunition/Consumption: Prisms/Both Modes - 2 Prisms, clip size of 40. Fire Rate: Normal Mode - 1 shot/sec, Death Mode - 1 shot/2 secs. Reload Time: .2 seconds Projectile Speed: Primary Mode - Slow (60), Secondary Mode - Very Slow (24). Breakability: At durability 2.0, will have a 1% chance of breaking, increasing linearly to a 10% chance of breaking at durability 0.0. Loses .2 durability per shot. Maintenance/Repair: 3/4 Repair Difficulty: 40 Nanite cost, Base Failure 100%, Base ICE 5. Modify #1: Increase clip size from 40 to 80. Damage increases by 10%. Difficulty: Modify 4 required, 35 Nanite cost, Base Failure 85%, Base ICE 4. Modify #2: Reduces ammo consumption by 50%. Damage bonus increases to a total of 25%. Difficulty: Modify 6 required, 50 Nanite cost, Base Failure 115%, Base ICE 6. Assessment (4/5): *This* is your final weapon? Considering how much ass the Grenade Launcher is kicking at this point, you have to seriously wonder what role this even plays into your arsenal. The projectiles are very slow (ridiculously slow in Secondary Mode) and the damage type is Energy, which means it's best against robots (and pretty ineffective against PSI Reavers and Arachnids). However, then you realize that, compared to the other Prism guzzler, the Fusion Cannon is *very* efficient - only 1 Prism per shot if you've got the second modification done. And this is done regardless of whether you're using Normal or Death. Moreover, even if Death mode is really slow, it has a massive kill spread, so you can afford to be relatively loose with the aiming, and it's well suited for taking out slower moving robots, PSI Reaver projections, and stationary turrets. I would pretty much argue that Death mode should be your default when using this, switching only to Normal if you need a fast fire rate (like to hit multiple, spaced out targets quickly). This ends up meaning that even though the Grenade Launcher is a much more powerful weapon (being pretty much able to one-shot anything short of a Rumbler at this point), the Fusion Cannon may end up serving as your all purpose workhorse for situations when you couldn't spare a (comparatively much more rare and expensive) grenade. Prisms, if you've been consuming them extensively with an unmodified Stasis Field Generator, are in short supply. But if you're frugal and diligent early on, you'll end up with so many Prisms to fuel your Fusion Cannon that you'll probably never actually have to buy any (except maybe on higher difficulties). In situations that you'd have never wasted a grenade (like a random Cyborg Midwife), you suddenly have an efficient and effective weapon at your disposal. In fact, short of really bad late game threats, you may just end up feeling more comfortable using this weapon over the Grenade Launcher, due to its sheer efficiency for a Heavy Weapon. Just remember that you yourself will take double damage from the area of effect, so a misplaced Death blast will wipe you out. ======================================================================= ======================================================================= 6. Exotic Weapons  ----------------------------------------------------------------------- Exotic Weapons are the reverse of Energy Weapons - specializing in dealing with organic targets. This inherently makes Exotic Weapons more powerful since organic targets are much more frequent than robotic targets. However, more than any other weapons category, Exotic Weapons balances out any power with massive amounts of risk vs reward. At its most powerful settings, you can easily kill yourself. Ammunition is rare (until you learn Molecular Duplication). The projectile weapons suffer from massive degradation per fire, break much easier, and have painfully massive kickback (although you'll soon see kickback doesn't matter *too* much for Exotic Weapons). Continuing with the idea of being the reverse of Energy Weapons, Exotic Weapons require Research (as opposed to Maintenance) to be used at all. In fact, this is the only reason you'll ever need to take Research up to 6 (although you can "cheat" and get it up to 5 and use a LabAssistant implant). Ammunition comes in the form of Worms. To get them, find small or large beakers and drag them over a pile of worms that you may come across, and you'll automatically get a sample of them. As far as I can tell, no replicator sells beakers. If you're seriously considering making extensive use of the Viral Proliferator and Annelid Launcher, I *highly* recommend getting the Tier 3 Molecular Duplication PSI ability, as otherwise you have no way of "purchasing" more Worms (no Replicators sell beakers). With Molecular Duplication, you can use it on a collection of worms you have in your inventory to create five more worms for 120 Nanites. DANGER: NO EXOTIC WEAPON DAMAGES SHODAN, INCLUDING THE CRYSTAL SHARD. You *must* have an alternative weapon (be it Cryokinesis or just a Pistol) if you want to beat the game. ----------------------------------------------------------------------- 6a. Crystal Shard  Prerequisites: Exotic Weapons 1, Research 4 (Yttrium) Damage: 12 (27 with Smasher) Damage Type: WeaponBash Assessment (5/5): The Crystal Shard is the ultimate melee weapon. You may think that it's only slightly better than the Laser Rapier, and even that's under dispute since the Laser Rapier can deal double damage to certain enemies. However, since the Crystal Shard is only a level 1 weapon, you can get a 75% damage bonus, versus the Laser Rapier's 30%, if you max out the Weapon Skill. Like the wrench, the Crystal Shard works equally well against everything, except against robots, in which case it'll do half damage. Be warned that for some strange reason, the Crystal Shard does not damage SHODAN. Yeah, you read that right. It does kaput. Otherwise, the Crystal Shard is one of the best weapons you can have. Even if you never plan on using any of the other Exotic Weapons, with all the damage bonuses from weapons skills, the Crystal Shard can absolutely demolish, especially when combined with a high Strength and Adrenaline Overproduction. The Crystal Shard has a wierd quirk about it. First of all, it technically deals only 15 damage with Smasher, but the Crystal Shard deals both normal and Smasher damage with a Smasher attack (for a total 27). Second of all, you get *twice* your strength damage bonus to the Crystal Shard per swing (see endnote 1). NOTE: The Crystal Shard has the longest range of all the non-PSI melee weapons (roughly similar to the PSI Sword). It also has a dramatically different sweep (it tends to hit targets dramatically better to the left of the targetting cursor). Adjust melee strategy accordingly. ----------------------------------------------------------------------- 6b. Viral Proliferator  Prerequisites: Exotic Weapons 4, Research 3 (Technetium, Tellurium) Damage: 15 (Area of Effect of radius 10 ft). Damage Type: Primary Mode - Anti-Annelid, Secondary Mode - Anti- Human Ammunition/Consumption: Worms/2 per shot, clip size of 8. Fire Rate: 5 shots/sec. Reload Time: Instantaneous Projectile Speed: Slow (50). Breakability: At durability 2.5, will have a 1% chance of breaking, increasing linearly to a 10% chance of breaking at durability 0.0. Loses .3 durability per shot. Maintenance/Repair: 4/4 Repair Difficulty: 50 Nanite cost, Base Failure 115%, Base ICE 6. Modify #1: Increases clip size (8 to 18). Damage increased by 10%. Difficulty: Modify 3 required, 50 Nanite cost, Base Failure 95%, Base ICE 5. Modify 2: Reduces worms used per shot (2 to 1). Damage bonus increased from 10% to a 25% bonus. Difficulty: Modify 5 required, 75 Nanite cost, Base Failure 125%, Base ICE 7. Assessment (3/5): First off, the Viral Proliferator fires very differently from all other weapons. If you just click the fire button, it'll explode right in your face. Instead, once you press down the fire button, you'll launch a projectile, and when you release the fire button, the projectile will explode wherever it is.
This odd way of firing has its strengths and weaknesses. There is no cooldown (like the EMP Rifle), so if you're on the Anti-Annelid setting, you can fire this willy-nilly at point blank range and destroy anything nearby. Unlike the Grenade Launcher, this precision aiming will allow you to control exactly where you want the projectile to explode, possibly taking out several enemies from quite a distance away (since the projectile keeps going until you detonate it or it runs into something). On the other hand, this form of aiming is difficult to get the hang of, and if you do, it's ultimately a much slower way of firing at anything at a relatively significant distance. That aside, you load the thing up with worms (which you get by using Beakers on those piles of worms you see everywhere). Then, you set the setting (much like you change firing modes) to either Anti-Annelid or Anti-Human. With the right aiming, you'll be able to demolish the majority of enemies in the game, although really you'll be hard-pressed to waste the precious ammo on Hybrids or Monkeys. Also, be warned that accidentally letting an Anti-Human blast go off right near you will almost assuredly grant instant death. Furthermore, each shot degrades the weapon *insanely* fast. Plus, it has a chance of breaking much earlier compared to other weapons. In addition, the kickback is atrocious. However, if you can master all these risks, then Spiders, Rumblers, PSI Reavers, and the like stand no chance against you. Especially if they clump up. Remember: Anti-Annelid will do 4x damage to anything purely Annelid and 1x to generic organic targets. Anti-Human does the same, except for humans, but also dealing 2x damage to partially human targets. However, remember that you yourself are the only pure human in the game, so watch out for that explosion. Moreover, despite their appearances, Rumblers are actually half-human. ----------------------------------------------------------------------- 6c. Annelid Launcher (aka Worm Launcher)  Prerequisites: Exotic Weapons 6, Research 6 (Molybdenum, Selenium) Damage: Primary Mode - 25 (Area of Effect of radius 7 ft), Secondary Mode - 25 (Area of Effect of radius 5 ft). Damage Type: Primary Mode - Anti-Annelid, Secondary Mode - Anti- Human. Ammunition/Consumption: Worms/4 per shot, clip size of 8. Fire Rate: 5 shots/sec. Reload Time: Instantaneous Projectile Speed: Very Slow (25). Breakability: At durability 2.5, will have a 1% chance of breaking, increasing linearly to a 10% chance of breaking at durability 0.0. Loses .3 durability per shot. Maintenance/Repair: 4/5 Repair Difficulty: 35 Nanite cost, Base Failure 110%, Base ICE 5. Modify #1: Increases clip size (8 to 18). Damage increased by 10%. Difficulty: Modify 2 required, 50 Nanite cost, Base Failure 95%, Base ICE 5. Modify #2: Increases projectile speed by 100%. Damage bonus increased from 10% to a 25% bonus. Difficulty: Modify 4 required, 75 Nanite cost, Base Failure 125%, Base ICE 7. Assessment (4/5): Holy crap! This weapon is powerful. First off, unlike every other weapon in the game, the projectiles of this weapon *home*. And no, you don't have some funky firing mechanism like the Viral Proliferator. There is a cooldown, but for god's sake it HOMES. Meaning as long as the enemy was somewhere in your sight when you fired it, this baby will seek it out and hit it (with a nice explosion at that). Which means you can pull off neat tricks, especially in the Body of the Many, where you're just running past enemies, only turning to fire off a shot, later hearing a satisfying "RAAAGHR!" as the homing projectile took out a PSI Reaver. Look at those damage numbers. Against a pure, Annelid target, you'll do 4x normal damage, which is a base of 100 damage. 143 with Sharpshooter and both Modifications, and that still doesn't count the 25% bonus from researching organs. That's simply ridiculous. This means you can one-shot all but one PSI Reaver in the game (there is a Greater PSI Reaver, which will take 2 shots to take down). Risk vs reward. A misfire while in Anti-Human mode guarantees death. The weapon degrades insanely quickly and breaks very easily. The kickback is atrocious, although you don't need to reaim too precisely with a homing device. On the one hand, the lack of a firing mechanism like the Viral Proliferator means you don't have as much control over the explosion, but on the other hand you can spam willy- nilly those *HOMING* shots. Deal with all the risks and your reward is becoming a virtual nuclear weapon against all things organic. WARNING: The Annelid Launcher's *massive* worm consumption rate means not only that you should hoard worms beforehand and make extensive use of Molecular Duplication, but also limit its use to PSI Reavers and clusters of Rumblers. In addition, the Annelid Launcher DOES NOT HOME on the protective nodes around the Brain of the Many, so make sure to either have the Viral Proliferator on hand or another backup weapon. NOTE: A good strategy is to have both the Viral Proliferator and Annelid Launcher on hand. Save the latter for insta-killing PSI reavers and for swarms of spiders, and maybe if you're dealing with multiple Rumblers at a time. Use the former for any other organic target, as the Viral Proliferator is *very* efficient for its ammo use. Also because you'll need an alternate weapon for reasons described above. ======================================================================= ======================================================================= 7. Technical Skills  ----------------------------------------------------------------------- As a general rule, for tasks involving "success," each level of a technical skill reduces the difficulty (chance of failure) by 10%, each level of software reduces the difficulty by 10%, and each CYB reduces the number of ICE Nodes by 1 and redues the difficulty by 5%. Be warned: Hacking Software and any inherent Hack/CYB do *not* factor in to the difficulty reduction when using Remote Circuitry Manipulation. ----------------------------------------------------------------------- Modify: Modify is an interesting skill in that it's usefulness correlates completely to the number of players in a game. In a Single Player game, there are enough French-Epstein devices that, with proper weapon maintenance and prioritization, you will never need to pick this skill up (for example, there's no need to modify a Pistol when you'll eventually be getting the Assault Rifle) - though this is less true on higher difficulties where you'll run into less. However, in Multiplayer games, the number of F-E devices is split up between each player, which reduces the number each player gets, especially when you consider four players in a game (which translates into roughly one F-E device per player). This means that in a Multiplayer game, someone is going to have to pick this up. Likewise, it starts making Tinker a more attractive OS upgrade since not only are Nanites more sparse since they are effectively split between players, but also using up Nanites on modifications is a painful sinkhole. Repair: An interesting ability that generally is considered worthless. On the one hand, picking this up means you can get (many) weapons much earlier in the game, like Shotguns, Laser Pistols, or Grenade Launchers. This also means you can repair some keypads and Replicators, though most Replicators aren't worth the effort and most keypads have a workaround. Unfortunately, in most cases, getting a weapon earlier doesn't mean too much since at those points in the game they're not easily maintainable and well supplied with ammunition at the time. In addition, if you have a high maintenance, you'll never ever need to worry about good repair. Then again, having a good repair *will* mean you can get those weapons early. Which is nice because getting a Fusion Cannon early can be wonders since you've already started stocking up on prisms. And having a good repair means you don't have to worry about the nanite cost spent on maintenance tools, since you can just repair anything that breaks... although it's bad if a weapon breaks in the midst of combat (hint: keep a wrench handy). Unfortunately, you don't get any good side effects like Maintenance, and, unlike French- Epstein devices, Autorepair units are far more common. Like Modify, Repair becomes more valuable in multiplayer. There are less Nanites and less Maintenance tools to go around, so repairing may become inevitable. Maintenance: Very good. How high you take it is a different issue, since only the EMP Rifle requires a Maintenance higher than a 4 to maintain. The most immediate result of having a higher Maintenance is to increase the efficiency of your Disposable Maintenance Tools, although this is highly subject to diminishing returns. (Restoring a weapon's condition by 2 instead of 1 is a much larger gain than the difference between a recovery of 6 instead of 5.) In addition, if you have a good repair, you'll never ever need to worry about good maintenance. However, the secondary effect of Maintenance is that it increases the maximum Energy you can store in Implants, Powered Armor, and Energy Weapons, equal to an extra 10 per Maintenance Level. If you don't have Electron Cascade (a PSI ability), this GREATLY increases the effectiveness of the very quickly draining Power Armor, reduces the trips you have to make to a charger, and extends the efficiency of your Portable Batteries. If you DO have Electron Cascade, it then greatly increases the efficiency of the PSI power, although this is highly subjected to diminishing returns as well. The short of it, though, is that unless you go the Energy Weapons route, it's hardly ever worth it in Hard or Impossible to go past 4. Hacking: The most useful technical skill. Even if you somehow (by use of Anti-Entropic Field) make a PSI Hybrid that never uses Maintenance, unless you make a dedicated PSI or a PSI Hybrid with the emphasis on the "PSI" part and get Remote Circuitry Manipulation, you probably will want to get this. True, you don't *need* it. There is a game-crucial moment when you need to Hack, but there are ICE Picks for that. And despite the niceness of loot in security crates, you can use an ICE Pick on the occasional high security crate if you so choose. However, being able to disable security (level 1), hack ubiquitous mundane security crates (level 2), replicators (level 3), and turrets of all sorts (level 4) brings about a level of advantage that cannot be disputed. There are many builds that can live without it, but why would you? Even just a Hacking of 4 is relatively affordable on non-Impossible difficulties and it adds so much to your survivability that it's too hard to deny. Do note that if you hack a turret that is right next to another, both will immediately open and fire at each other, even if security is disabled. If you want and are able, you can toss a Hazard Suit in between them (doesn't work for Laser Turrets Mk II due to their ceiling placement) so that you can hack the other turret in the mean time, since the Hazard Suit is large enough to block fire. As for a Hack of 6, the only two things in the game that require a Hack of 6 are High Security Crates and your MFD Player. There are only three High Security Crates and their loot is very specialized (if nice considering they come from one source): one contains a Fusion Cannon, 20 Prisms, and a WormBlood implant; another a MedKit, 2 Large Beakers, 6 EMP Grenades, and 41 Nanites; the other contains an Anti-Radiation Hypo, a WormMind implant, and 82 Nanites. It's nothing you might not be able to get elsewhere (though without Repair or PSI Pull, it's the only other source for a Fusion Cannon), so if you don't need the loot or the extra 20% chance of success, you don't need to go higher than Hack 4. Hacking your MFD player will make available all games and give you a very nice start in Overworld Zero: you'll begin the game with a Potion and a Spell (click on the star and in a direction, and you'll fire a very powerful weapon, just remember that it's single- use). Hacking becomes much more effective in Impossible as there is a huge disparity between how high unhacked Replicator prices are and how low hacked Replicator prices are. For example, a Med hypo costs 60 unhacked, 30 hacked. A PSI hypo costs 150 unhacked, 80 hacked. The difference is phenomenal. As a side note - if you're picking up hacking, try to ramp up to Hack 2 as soon as possible. You want to be able to hack every security crate you come across (which already are there from the start in med/sci) and, for the most part, if you manage to hack a crate in one or two tries, the contents are extremely profitable for you. After that, you may not need to worry about getting to Hack 3 or 4 that immediately. Research: A very nice technical skill. At the very least, you're required to have level 1 Research, although there is an implant that accomplishes that. Researching organs is very nice since it yields you a 25% damage bonus with any weapon, PSI or not, to them. However, if you just consider that, there's hardly a reason to go past 3. You'll already be able to research every organ, the PSI booster, and the two Annelid Organs. Why would you want to go past? Well, if you're into Exotic Weapons and funky Implants. Other than that, it's hardly justifiable. ======================================================================= ======================================================================= 8. PSI  ----------------------------------------------------------------------- 8a. Tier 1  *Learning Tier 1 grants you 2 bonus PSI Points.* Psycho-reflective Screen: Gives you 15% damage reduction for 20 seconds plus 30 seconds per PSI. Analysis: The damage reduction is so negligible that most of the time it just ends up being a rounding error. Moreover, the duration is so short that the only time you'll set this up is right before a fight. That time is better spent actually dealing damage. NOTE: All PSI armors (Psycho-reflective Screen, Energy Reflection, Psycho-reflective Aura) stack with each other and with normal armor. Score: 1/5 Neuro-reflex Dampening: Eliminates all weapon kickback for 1 minute plus 20 seconds per PSI. Analysis: It's not that hard to deal with kickback, and sufficient Agility deals with that anyway. Furthermore, only Standard and Exotic Weapons are affected by kickback, and only Exotic weapons have a truly severe kickback problem, and even those have such specialized aiming mechanisms that this PSI ability is of debatable merit). Then again, full-auto Assault Rifle with this enabled is quite vicious for anyone with less than amazing Agility. Score: 1/5 (possibly 3/5 with Standard) Kinetic Redirection: Pulls an object toward you for 1 second per PSI. Analysis: A useful ability since you can get it for free for training. If you can get it for free (going OSA path), get it. Otherwise, it's probably not worth it. There are a few places you can use it to great extent (in fact, if you don't have an autorepair unit or Hack 6, it may be your only way to get a Fusion Cannon), but generally nothing you'll ever absolutely need. Note that if you ever see cyber modules seemingly out of reach, you will always be able to reach it somehow; you can't use Kinetic Redirection to grab cyber modules from afar. Score: 3/5 Psychogenic Agility: Increases your Agility by 2 for 2 minutes plus 1 minute per PSI. Analysis: A *very* great ability. This is an essential Tier 1 ability, and you should have it active at all times. It will increase your movement speed significantly and has the side effect of reducing damage from running into things or falling. Score: 5/5 Psychogenic Cyber-Affinity: Increases your Cybernetic Affinity by 2 for 2 minutes plus 1 minute per PSI. Analysis: If you plan on getting Hacking or any other technical skill (which is almost a necessary unless you're scrimping and getting Remote Circuitry Manipulation at Tier 4), this is a very, very important skill, reducing your ICE node exposure andimproving your success rate. However, this isn't an ability you need to keep on all the time like Agility, just right before a technical task. Score: 4/5 Projected Cryokinesis: Launches a projectile that deals Cold damage equal to 3 + PSI. Projectile Speed: Medium Analysis: If you don't start off with OSA, it's almost pointless since whatever weapon you pick up (and you can always pick up a Pistol since non-OSA paths start off with Standard Weapons 1) is most likely more efficient and more effective than this. However, for PSI users, this is an essential ability, ranging from taking out cameras, detonating robots and turrets, and taking out eggs from a safe distance. It is also the most efficient PSI damage power you'll get, all things being equal. Just for comparison to the other PSI damage powers, with PSI 8, you'll do 11 damage per PSI point. Note that this PSI damage is the only one capable of hurting fully Mechanical enemies, at full strength too! Score: 1/5 (non-PSI), 5/5 (PSI) Remote Electron Tampering: Reduces security alarm timers by 5 seconds plus another 5 seconds per PSI. Analysis: A very bad ability. You should either not be setting off alarms, or you should be able to find Security Consoles with enough ease that you can disable alarms faster than this ability can do it. Score: 0/5 ----------------------------------------------------------------------- 8b. Tier 2  *Learning Tier 2 grants you 4 bonus PSI Points.* Anti-Entropic field: Weapons do not degrade or break for 10 seconds plus 20 seconds per PSI. Analysis: Hardly worth the modules. Maintenance/Repair will take care of any problems, and only Exotic Weapons degrade so much that you may even begin to consider to use it as a pre-combat buff. If the duration lasted much, much longer, then it might be worth it. Score: 0/5 Adrenaline Overproduction: Increases melee damage by a factor (that is, multiplied by) a number based on current PSI: PSI Damage Factor 1 1.13 2 1.52 3 2.17 4 3.08 5 4.25 6 5.65 7 7.37 8 9.32 The effect lasts for 10 seconds per PSI (see Endnote 1). Analysis: A *very* good ability. On Easy or Normal, a Melee-based character can tear through the biggest enemies in two to three swipes with sufficient PSI. On Hard/Impossible, melee-ing will become such a primary tool that this becomes a very valuable ability. Note that the damage multiplication is based on *current* PSI, so overloading has no effect on the damage multiplication (other than a longer duration). Thus, the only way to get up to an effective PSI of 8 is by having a PSI of 6 and having both an implant and a booster or Annelid Armor. Or by having a PSI of 4-5 and having all of the above. Score: 4/5 Neural Decontamination: Radiation absorption reduced by 80%. Lasts 10 seconds plus 5 seconds per PSI. Analysis: There are enough anti-rad and anti-toxin hypos that you'll never need this. If, however, you're playing multiplayer, then there aren't enough Hazard Suits to go around, so you might want to consider this. A special note - on Impossible, you may run into a problem where you'll have piddlingly poor Endurance, very low health, and even with a Hazard Suit you have problems with some of the Radiation Pools in the Body of the Many (or you may not have had room to carry the hazard suit with you). In that case, this ability becomes pretty handy to have. Score: 0/5 (Single player), 2/5 (Single player Impossible), 1/5 (Multi-player) Cerebro-Stimulated Regeneration: Heals 2 Health per PSI. Analysis: Very effective healing. PSI hypos can equal several med hypos, however, this is too slow to use in extended battles effectively, so it's mainly good for post-battle healing. Or, in a pinch, ducking around a corner and popping off a heal against a slow, lumberingly huge enemy (like a Security Bot). Cerebro-Stimulated Regeneration is one of few PSI abilities that count a PSI higher than 8 (up to a total of PSI 10). Score: 5/5 Psychogenic Strength: Increases Strength by 2 for 2 minutes plus 1 minute per PSI. Analysis: Not nearly as good as Adrenaline Overproduction, and unlike Agility, it's not nearly worth the investment or the PSI points to keep it up. Score: 2/5 Recursive Psionic Amplification: Increases your PSI by 2, but doubles the PSI Point costs of all abilities. Lasts 10 seconds plus 10 seconds per PSI. Analysis: On Easy or Normal, this greatly increases your killing power. On Hard or Normal, this greatly reduces your efficiency, which matters alot more. Score: 2/5 Localised Pyrokinesis: Deals 5 Incendiary damage every two seconds for 15 seconds plus 8 seconds per PSI. Also grants immunity to Incendiary damage for the duration of the effect. Analysis: The damage it deals is far too slow for anything higher than Normal difficulty, although if you have the cybernetic modules to spend, you can combine this with Photonic Redirection (use this first) to deal damage invisibly. Very useful in high-clustered areas such as the Body of the Many. NOTE: A quirk about this power is that it also bestows immunity to Incendiary damage for its duration. Incendiary damage is rare, but it shows up in the form of exploding robots (Protocol Droids and other robots as they die). Also, do note that this is *the* most efficient PSI damage ability in the game, provided a good number of "hits" actually hit an enemy. Unfortunately, melee builds would be better off with Adrenaline Overproduction, and non-melee builds have better, less-risky ways to deal with enemies than this slow ability. Score: 4/5 (Easy or Normal), 1/5 (Hard or Impossible) ----------------------------------------------------------------------- 8c. Tier 3  *Learning Tier 3 grants you 6 bonus PSI Points.* Molecular Duplication: Has a 30% + 10% per PSI chance of duplicating a non-PSI hypo or clip of ammunition for some Nanite cost. Analysis: A *very* strong ability, getting even stronger on Hard and Impossible difficulties. It duplicates ammo and hypos (except for PSI hypos) equal to the cost of a hacked replicator on *Normal* difficulty, meaning massive discounts for Hard and Impossible difficulties. You can also duplicate things you couldn't normally buy at a Replicator, specifically PSI Boosters (20 Nanites) and Beakers filled with Worms (120 Nanites for a clip of five). In fact, for pursuing an Exotic Weapons path, this ability is almost required. Keep in mind, though, that you should factor in the cost of the PSI Hypo you're going to have to buy to refill your PSI points. Since this ability costs 3 PSI Points per shot, you should either increase the cost of anything you buy by 3/20th (without Pharmo-Friendly, 1/8th with) of the cost of a PSI Hypo at a replicator. If you don't have Hack on Normal, or if you're just on Hard or Impossible, it's still a really good deal. Score: 5/5 Electron Cascade: Recharges 20 per PSI units of charge to an energy- based item (implants, energy weapons, and power armor). Analysis: A *very* strong ability, even stronger if you plan on pursuing Energy Weapons. Even if you don't, this ensures your implants and Power Armor will always stay charged at full power. Increased Maintenance will help increase the efficiency of this ability by increasing the maximum capacity of your Energy-based stuff. Score: 5/5 Energy Reflection: Grants 50% Energy damage immunity for 20 seconds per PSI. Analysis: Not that worth it except on Easy or Normal difficulty, where this is cheap. NOTE: All PSI armors (Psycho-reflective Screen, Energy Reflection, Psycho-reflective Aura) stack with each other and with normal armor. Score: 2/5 Neural Toxin-Blocker: Grants 100% Toxin immunity for 10 seconds plus 5 seconds per PSI. Analysis: Unless you're having alot of trouble avoiding getting infected by eggs or Spiders, this is completely useless. Score: 1/5 Enhanced Motion Sensitivity: Shows the location of all nearby creatures for 30 seconds per PSI. Analysis: Marginally useful, a bit more useful in combination with Proximity Grenades or External Psionic Detonation so that you know when to set traps without having to rely on hearing the enemy a few seconds in advance. Score: 1/5 Projected Pyrokinesis: Launches a projectile that deals Incendiary damage equal to 5 + 2 per PSI. Projectile Speed: Medium. Analysis: A really good weapon for a dedicated PSI user. It deals double damage to purely organic creatures and half-organic creatures, so the fact that it does nil to purely robotic and half to half-robotic (different from half-organic), which are far rarer, makes this quite devastating. Keep in mind that on a damage/PSI Point basis, on a general level, Projected Cryokinesis is far more efficient. However, there are so many enemies against which Projected Pyrokinesis does double damage that in reality, Projected Pyrokinesis is more efficient. However, this is like using the proper ammo for the job. It'd be very dumb to use Pyrokinesis against a Camera or even a Cyborg Assassin. Although, even if Cryokinesis is more efficient, Pyrokinesis deals its damage so much absurdly faster that it makes up for its efficiency loss by giving you effective healing by not giving enemies the chance to hurt you as much, if any. All else considered, however, this is nigh-useless for non-PSI users. Furthermore, Adrenaline Overproduction is much more effective when you can Melee safely anyway. Always use the right PSI power for the right situation. Given the right situation, though, this shines. For reference sake, with PSI 8, this will do 7 damage per PSI Point, although this climbs to 14 damage per PSI Point against Annelids and Half-Annelids. If you're interested in maximizing your efficiency, in many cases it'll behoove you to bring the enemy close to death and then use Projected Cryokinesis (so long as it takes less than three uses) to finish them off. This is of particular note, for example, with 8 PSI against an Arachnid with a researched organ: doing one Pyro and one Cryo will kill the Arachnid and use up 4 PSI points, whereas using just Pyro would use up 6, a 50% increase. Score: 0/5 (non-PSI users), 5/5 (PSI users) Psionic Hypnogenesis: Target partially organic creature is pacified for 20 seconds per PSI. If the target is damaged, it will prematurely end the effect. Projectile Speed: Slow. Analysis: Surprisingly amazing, especially for higher difficulties. Enemies respawn anyway (sometimes at insane rates), and at Hard and Impossible, they don't drop items nearly as often, so it's not a very good use of your resources to keep on fighting the respawns, especially when you're dealing with Rumbler respawns. So, for 3 PSI Points, you can effectively "win" fights against Rumblers or even minor, yet annoying, enemies. Also, in fights involving multiple tough organic enemies, this gives you crowd control; ie two Rumblers against you is tough, but reducing it to one Rumber at a time makes the battle much more manageable. In addition, using this to hold a Cyborg Assassin in place while you get off a good attack can be very vital. Just be careful about the slow speed of the projectile. Score: 5/5 ----------------------------------------------------------------------- 8d. Tier 4  *Learning Tier 4 grants you 8 bonus PSI Points.* Photonic Redirection: Makes you invisible for 5 seconds plus 5 seconds per PSI. Activating a PSI ability or using a weapon will prematurely end the effect. Analysis: Incredibly powerful, for the same reason as Psionic Hypnogenesis, especially in the last few levels where enemies are incredibly dense. For 4 PSI Points, you effectively "win" the next few battles. If you have the cybernetic modules to spare, you can use Localized Pyrokinesis in advance and run around and damage enemies while still invisible. For Hard and Impossible difficulties, it's almost definitely worth just getting PSI to get this ability, as this is a HUGE life and time saver in areas like the Body of the Many. NOTE: It's rare, but it happens, but spiders seem occasionally capable of still seeking you out while invisible. In addition, some of those capable of still seeking you out are still capable of attacking you. It only tends to happen if you were at any point not invisible while you were in their sight and then went invisible. Score: 5/5 Remote Pattern Detection: Shows the location of many different items, like nanites, ammos, hypos, and implants. Lasts 1 minute per PSI. There is a very similar effect to this PSI ability - having played the game once before. Memory (or a good strategy guide) is more effective than spending cyber modules on this. Score: 0/5 Electron Suppression: Disables a purely robotic target for 3 seconds per PSI. Projectile Speed: Slow. Analysis: Only really useful if you're heavily PSI and need to buy yourself some time (since robotic creations are the hardest with which for PSI users to deal). Note that unlike Psionic Hypnogenesis, hitting the robot won't make them "wake up," so this is as much free damage as you can squeeze in. Score: 2/5 (Non-dedicated PSI users), 4/5 or 5/5 (Depending on how completely you dedicate to just PSI) Psychogenic Endurance: Increases your Endurance by 2 for 2 minutes plus 1 minute per PSI. Quite nice. When it wears off, you'll lose the extra hitpoints you gained to begin with, but you won't be dropped below 1 HP. However, unlike Tank (the OS upgrade) it doesn't scale effectively with difficulty. While it helps no matter what, it's still only a small gain on Hard or Impossible. Just hope it doesn't wear off in the middle of a tough fight. Note that because you can never be dropped below 1 HP when this ability wears off, this effectively gives you some "buffer" health. If you used this on Hard, for example, there is no difference between having 1 health and 7 health, since when this wears off you go straight down to 1 health anyway, so it's health you don't have to worry about. Score: 4/5 Molecular Transmutation: Lets you turn a clip of ammo or a single hypo into Nanites. The yield is an equation based on your PSI, the size of the ammo clip that you're transmuting, and a factor based on the item itself. Analysis: In some case more effective than the Recycler you pick up, but the "profitability" of it decreases as difficulty increases since PSI hypos (which are your fixed costs) increase in cost. In most cases the Recycler is more profitable, but some things (especially Grenades and Prisms) are immensely profitable targets for Molecular Transmutation (see the Appendix for a more thorough analysis). NOTE: Because your nanite yield depends *heavily* on your PSI stat, boost it up as far as you can before transmuting things. In addition, this is one of few abilities that count PSI past 8 (up to a total of 10 PSI). Score: 5/5 (Easy or Normal), 4/5 (Hard or Impossible) Cerebro-Energetic Extension: Turns your PSI Amp into a powerful melee weapon (18 Standard damage, 24 with Smasher upgrade). Lasts 10 seconds per PSI. While it's active, however, you cannot use PSI abilities. Analysis: It's quite a weapon, but if you want to use Adrenaline Overproduction (since there are no other ways to boost the damage, since the PSI Blade doesn't fall into a weapon category to be upgraded), you have to use it before you use this. Keep in mind that a fully upgraded Crystal Shard or Laser Rapier (against a robotic or semi-robotic enemy) is far more damaging than this. Then again, this costs a lot less, cyber-module wise, then having to pick up the appropriate weapons (and in the case of the shard, research) skill. In addition, unlike the Crystal Shard or the Wrench, the PSI Sword will actually damage SHODAN, at full strength. Score: 3/5 Remote Circuitry Manipulation: Lets you Hack using half your PSI stat, rounding up, for both your Hack skill and your Cybernetic Affinity stat. Nanite costs are instead taken from PSI. Hacking modifications (software, OS upgrade, any inherent Hacking stat) are ignored. Cybernetic Affinity is also ignored. Analysis: Only useful if you're heavily PSI-dedicated. True for two reasons - a) you need an INCREDIBLY high PSI for this to be remotely useful b) if you aren't heavily PSI dedicated, you should already have Hacking anyway. Even though you only use half your PSI as your Cyber Affinity and Hack, it is possible to hack at a Hack level of 5 by getting yourself an effective PSI of atleast 9. This is one of few PSI abilities that actually count a PSI score higher than 8 (up to a total of 10 PSI). However, even with a PSI of 10, you're still effectively missing out on at least 45% worth of difficulty reduction, 10% from an additional point in Hack, 5% from an additional Cybernetic Affinity (at least, up to 15% for a CYB of 8), and 30% from three levels of Hack Software. As a result, even with maxed out PSI, the late-game difficulty rate ends up being about 65% - still very high by normal standards. Plus, when you're stuck at lower PSI levels, difficulties can easily hit into near-impossible 80% and higher ranges. Since Remote Circuitry Manipulation is a PSI ability, it has the nice side effect of giving you range; this means you can Hack things from a distance, as long as you're aiming correctly. Being able to hack a turret from down the hall is very nice; you can be behind a pillar, lean to the side, quickly activate this ability, and lean back behind the pillar and still be able to hack the turret. In some cases, you can hack directly through walls and windows. Just be warned that while you have range, the aiming is a bit finicky. In some cases you'll be able to hack across an entire open area to get a turret, in other cases you'll have trouble trying to get the game to recognize that you're trying to hack something that's right around the corner. With the right plan, even on Hard, you should be able to get this early enough to make good use of it. On Impossible, however, even if you do prioritize this and get it early, this becomes an expensive Nanite sink, since it'll eat up your PSI points like nothing else and PSI hypos are not cheaply obtainable by Molecular Duplication. Nevertheless, dedicated PSI users should definitely go for this, simply because the payoff of being able to hack is so great. Score: 0/5 (Non-PSI users), 5/5 (Dedicated PSI users) ----------------------------------------------------------------------- 8e. Tier 5  *Learning Tier 5 grants you 10 bonus PSI Points.* NOTE: Tier 5 is almost out of affordability for Hard and Impossible difficulties, so this is really for consideration for Easy and Normal. You can, if you want, afford these nonetheless with a completely dedicated PSI approach, although be prepared to make significant sacrifices in other areas, especially on Impossible. But some of these powers are just so powerful as to be worth it. Advanced Cerebro-Stimulated Regeneration: Heals 5 Health plus an additional 5 Health per PSI. Analysis: Ridiculously fast healing, but incredibly inefficient. In addition, even on Normal difficulty, this will still generally heal in excess of the amount of health you actually have. This is best for emergency heals on Normal and Easy. Advanced Cerebro-Stimulated Regeneration is one of few abilities that count a PSI higher than 8 (up to a total of 10 PSI). Score: 2/5 Soma Transference: Transfers 10 Health from target partially organic creature to yourself, plus an additional 5 per PSI over 5. Analysis: Ridiculously amazing. Only damages organic creatures, but when it does work, you will never die (short of an outright insta-kill hit from a Greater PSI Reaver). Although, honestly, on any real difficulty (Hard or Impossible) you should be good at avoiding damage that this isn't THAT powerful. But then again, just one use is generally enough to fully heal yourself at the expense of the enemy on these higher difficulties. However, this is the least efficient damage ability in your disposal... although it may just be a price to pay for virtual immortality. A nice quirk about this ability is the fact that it's instantaneous, a welcome change from the slow moving projectiles you get on earlier Tiers. NOTE: Soma Transference allows you to bypass a Metacreative Barrier, which allows for some combo opportunities. It also lets you strike the Brain of the Many without having to destroy the protective stars. Score: 4/5 Instantaneous Quantum Relocation: When used, sets a teleporation marker. If used again, transports you to that marker and clears it. Press ALT-T to clear an existing transportation marker. Analysis: I find it very difficult to find a general use for this. I can't! You can do some neat party tricks, such as killing yourself on the tram in the Rickenbacker, or messing with the last monologue, but otherwise useless. However, I *can* think of a very specific, limited applications for this. In the body of the many, you can set a marker right next to one of the Replicators and use it to teleport back right before you destroy the brain, since you won't have any other chance to spend your nanites. But this use alone doesn't justify the cybernetic cost. If there was a PvP multiplayer option, though, this would be an amazing ability. Maybe if you and a friend want to duke it out in Med/Sci or something, this would be a very strong escape ability. Score: 0/5 Imposed Neural Restructuring: Target non-robotic creature becomes hostile against all non-human creatures. Lasts for 10 seconds per PSI or until damaged by a human. Projectile Speed: Medium. Analysis: Ridiculously useful for multi-Rumbler fights, but on some enemies, it's just not PSI-efficient. Rumblers, Spiders, and Cyborgs are good targets for this (just make sure they're not alone as otherwise it's a waste). Remember that unaffected enemies still view you (the player) as a relatively high priority, so they may still go after you if they were already attacking you to begin with, even while being attacked by their former allies. NOTE: PSI Reavers, Arachnids, and Swarms are immune to this ability, though this doesn't stop them from attacking other creatures that you have *have* successfully hit with this spell. Score: 4/5 Metacreative Barrier: Creates a wall that has 150 Health plus an additional 50 per PSI over 5. The wall lasts for 4 minutes or until destroyed. Analysis: If you're about to die and need to buy some healing time, you can try to quickly erect a wall to block out an enemy. Other than that, it's not terribly useful. You can try to use it to avoid combat, but Psionic Hypnogenesis or Photonic Redirection are far more useful and the enemy has a much greater ability of remembering that it's out to get you when you use the Barrier. This probably best has use trying to choke off SHODAN's Avatar or trying to get close enough to hack a turret. NOTE: You can use Soma Transference through a Metacreative Barrier, but doing this costs so many PSI points its rarely worth it. Plus, Soma Transference already essentially gives you immortality, what more do you need? In addition, Metacreative Barrier is one of few abilities that count PSI past 8 (up to a total of 10 PSI). Score: 2/5 External Psionic Detonation: Creates a PSI proximity mine that will explode for area of effect damage of type PSI equal to 30 when anything comes within range. The mines last for 4 minutes. Analysis: Deals double damage to Spiders and the PSI Reavers, but otherwise it's terribly inefficient for not that much faster killing power over Projected Pyrokinesis. Still, setting up a few of these and instantly killing a Rumbler is a great, safe way to end a fight. It's strength, however, lies in its Area of Effect. Even doing double damage to a single spider means that Pyrokinesis will still be more PSI effective. However, two or more spiders means that you'll be doing way more damage per PSI. For reference sake, the damage dealt is independent of PSI; a flat 30. This means that regardless of PSI, you'll do 6 damage per PSI (per adversary in area of effect). Against Annelids, this is 12 damage per PSI. This is also the only PSI damage ability that deals full damage to Half-Mechanical creatures (Midwives/Cyborgs); Cryokinesis and Pyrokinesis both do half damage. If you're interested in maximizing damage output efficiency, use this against half-mechanical creatures (Cyborgs Assassins and Midwives, but only if you've researched the Midwife organ, as otherwise you just end up doing lots of overkill damage), in such a way as to hit two organic creatures where they average out to having atleast 6 + 2 * PSI health (as otherwise you're better off with Cryokinesis on them individually), three creatures that average out to 4 + 1.3 * PSI health, or virtually any combination of four organic creatures. Note that while in some cases Pyrokinesis will be generally more efficient, the efficiency is ignored due to Pyrokinesis doing more damage than is actually necessary. Thus, if you're fairly aggressive about using PSI over other weaponry (like a wrench), pretty much any group of two organic enemies (excluding Grubs, Pipe Hybrids, and Monkeys) is a good opportunity to use this (just make sure they're close enough together to get hit by one mine). Score: 3/5 Psycho-Reflective Aura: Grants 60% damage reduction for 10 seconds plus 20 seconds per PSI. Analysis: A bit ironic. It's use is best for Hard and Impossible when this damage reduction is sorely needed, but it's hard to afford for Hard and impossible to afford on Impossible (atleast without sacrificing many skills and abilities). But then again, the damage reduction is MASSIVE. Even with just wearing Light Combat Armor or Worm Skin Armor, combined with this, SHODAN will deal almost negligible damage to you. NOTE: All PSI armors (Psycho-reflective Screen, Energy Reflection, Psycho-reflective Aura) stack with each other and with normal armor. Score: 4/5 ======================================================================= ======================================================================= 9. OS Upgrades  ----------------------------------------------------------------------- Strong Metabolism: Damage from radiation and toxins reduced by 25% This ability is nearly useless. Unless you're a complete moron, the occasional anti-toxin hypo/anti-rad hypo should be more than enough to deal with any problems you may have. However, it is important to note that once you get to Impossible, the piddling radiation damage that gets through in between anti-rad hypo doses becomes significantly more painful, and you'll find yourself hard-pressed to deal with Toxic Eggs and Annelids without getting infected. Only then can I see a real use for this, but honestly there's probably something wrong with your character setup if you are choosing this over something else. Score: 0/5, 1/5 (Impossible) Pharmo-Friendly: Extra 20% benefit from all hypos One of the strongest abilities you can get, although more so for strong (but not dedicated) PSI users. On Hard and Impossible, this squeezes so much efficiency out of every hypo that it's almost a necessity. Med Hypos will heal 12 Health (2 per second) and PSI Hypos will heal 24 PSI Points. Those extra points go a long way. You may think that this essentialy means that Hypos simply cost 16.67% less at replicators, due to increased efficiency. Because of this, this may seem worse than Replicator Expert, since that gives you a 20% discount on everything. However, a huge percentage (in fact, sometimes a majority) of the hypos you have are *found* not *bought*, as such, you are actually saving even more Nanites by not having to need a Replicator as much. PSI users will probably get the most out of this since other character types have other ways of healing aside from just Med Hypos. However, completely dedicated PSI users will probably be better off with Replicator Expert as you'll just simply be buying SO MANY PSI Hypos than you'll be finding. Score: 5/5 Pack Rat: 3 extra inventory slots Useless if you plan on maxing out Strength or plan on getting 5 Strength and using a BrawnBooster Implant. It may be useful on Hard or Impossible when you need to squeeze every cyber module and still need inventory space, but honestly you should be able to manage your inventory decently. Score: 1/5 Speedy: Movement speed increased by 15% Quite nice for strafing attacks, for speeding through levels, and for ducking in and out of safe spots. Not game-breakingly amazing, but far from useless. Score: 3/5 Sharpshooter: Ranged, non-psionic weapons do 15% more damage Very nice. One of the strongest upgrades, although only if you actually pursue decently into ranged weapons. Although, on Impossible difficulty, you'll be doing so much of your work via melee attacks, that you may be better off with melee upgrades. Score: 4/5 Naturally Able: 8 extra cybermodules HORRIBLE. The amount this upgrade gives you is less than 1% of the total amount in the entire game. Very small. On low difficulties, abilities cost so dirt cheap that you don't need it. On high difficulties, you need to be so efficient with your upgrades that this has no place in your character development. Score: 0/5 Cybernetically Enhanced: Allows use of two implants at same time An amazing ability. You can't stack the two same implants at once, but stacking a BrawnBoost and an EndurBoost is nice. This ability is made even more amazing if you have good Maintenance. Almost any character plan can be made better by adding this upgrade. This one is almost certainly a must. There is a caveat though - you should think about what you're using that extra implant slot for. SwiftBoost? Getting Speedy may be better. EndurBoost? On Hard and Impossible, Tank is strictly better. So long as you have a clear idea of how you're going to be using the extra freedom, this is a fabulous upgrade. Score: 4/5 Tank: Increases maximum HP by 5 An upgrade that actually scales in effectiveness with difficulty. On Easy or Normal, Endurance is dirt cheap to increase and yields more than 5 HP per point. On Hard or Impossible, Endurance becomes far harder to afford and yields much smaller returns. On Hard and Impossible, this upgrade reflects a larger percentage of your HP so that this becomes a better upgrade as the game gets harder. Score: 2/5 (Easy/Normal), 4/5 (Hard), 5/5 (Impossible) Lethal Weapon: Increases hand-to-hand damage by 35% On Easy or Normal, this is an excellent upgrade if you choose to pursue a Melee-based character, although poor otherwise. On Hard or Impossible, this becomes much more important as more of your fighting takes place with a Wrench or the Laser Rapier. In some cases, this might be better of a choice than Sharpshooter, even without pursuing a Melee-based character. In any case, always take Lethal Weapon before Smasher. It's slightly more effective in damage and is faster to execute. If you do take this on Hard or Impossible without dedicating to a Melee path, make this your first upgrade so you get the most out of it. Score: 4/5, 5/5 (Impossible) Security Expert: +2 hacking skill applied only to security computers If you're a hardcore hacker, you don't need this at all. If you're a full PSI hacker (using the 4th tier ability), this won't help you at all. This is useful, however, if you're splashing a bit of Hacking. Nevertheless, there are generally better choices. Score: 2/5 Smasher: You can execute overhand attacks with melee weapons As you prepare to swing your melee weapon, if you keep the attack button held down, you'll lift the weapon upwards and swing down. You'll do the second damage listed for each melee weapon (which is slightly less than the 35% you can get from Lethal Weapon). If you're doing a Melee-based character, this is a must. Otherwise, this is a pretty specialized upgrade. On a side note, the Smasher changes your plane of attack (vertical
instead of horizontal). This changes the angle of your attack, so it might be harder to aim at first, but it's easy to get the hang of it. Stacking Smasher and Lethal Weapon is vicious. NOTE: Because of the Crystal Shard's odd Smasher damage glitch, it's worth getting Smasher as quickly as you can if you plan on going all out Crystal Shard melee. You should still get Lethal Weapon first since you'll be meleeing with the Wrench for quite a while before the first Crystal Shard. Score: 1/5 (but 5/5 if you're Melee-based) Cyber Assimilation: Can find items off destroyed robots that heal 15 HP A very nice upgrade. Unfortunately, it doesn't work off Protocol Droids. This gives you a way to get free healing after fighting tough enemies. However, on Hard or Impossible, you should be avoiding getting hit as much as possible, so you may find better options. Then again, fighting Security Bots and Assault Bots are viciously hard to do with just a Wrench, and being assured of a healing item when many (on Hard) or most (on Impossible) monsters drop absolutely nothing is quite nice. Score: 3/5, 4/5 (Hard/Impossible) Replicator Expert: Replicator items cost 20% less A VERY useful upgrade. If you're going to get this, get this as early as possible so you can save as much Nanites as possible. This is perhaps most useful on Hard or Impossible when replicator items cost more. Score: 5/5 Power Psi: Burnout no longer damages you Burnout is rarely a problem. It's only useful if you use Tier 4/5 powers, which charge up very quickly and may be hard to use without burnout. However, this limits its use to Easy and Normal, since Tier 5 is almost out of reach of Hard and Impossible affordability. However, if you're going for a completely dedicated PSI approach, this ability will probably become much more valuable, as not only will you be able to afford Tier 4/5 abilities, but you will also probably spend alot of time burning out on Tier 5 abilities (as the timing is dramatically shorter than Tier 4 abilities). Burning out on just one Tier 5 ability is *very* bad for your health on Hard or Impossible (and will probably just kill you straight out in Impossible). Score: 2/5, 4/5 (for completely dedicated PSI users) Tinker: Nanite cost for weapon modification down by 50% In Single Player, there are for the most part, enough French- Epstein Devices that, with careful planning, you never actually need to do modifications. In Multiplayer, there aren't enough F-E Devices to go around, and someone will actually have to pick up Modify. In the process, it becomes effective to modify weapons whenever possible to get immediate benefit, creating a sort of feedback loop of benefit. With that in mind, Tinker becomes a better deal the more players are involved (especially since Nanites get split amongst the players), though you won't need more than one person with Tinker. The Multiplayer nanite cost savings can be truly dramatic depending on what your allies use. Just a single attempt at a second modification on an Exotic Weapon costs 75 Nanites, so a few failed attempts and you've already saved enough nanites to buy, say, a clip of 20 Prisms. Score: 0/5 (Single Player), x/5 (Multiplayer, where x is the number of players involved) Spatially Aware: Automap always filled in for every level Completely useless. Seeing the entire map is rarely useful, and having a good memory or a good walkthrough is better than wasting an OS upgrade. If for some reason you still feel compelled to get this, don't get it as your third or fourth OS, as the automap for the Rickenbacker is pretty useless, and there is no automap once you enter the Body of the Many. Score: 0/5 ----------------------------------------------------------------------- Since you're only allowed to have four OS upgrades, these are some of my recommended paths to take to get best use out of your upgrades (listed in order to take). Remember, just because I like these paths doesn't mean they'll necessarily work for you. Melee-based: Lethal Weapon, Smasher, Cybernetically Enhanced, Speedy Should be self-explanatory - you get the two melee OS upgrades, you'll be able to plug in two implants (Strength and Endurance? Strength and Agility?), and you'll be super fast to weave in and out of fights. Energy Phreak: Lethal Weapon, Cyber Assimilation, Sharpshooter, Cybernetically Enhanced For a concept that depends majorly on Energy weapons. Lethal Weapon helps out your Wrench and later your replacement Laser Rapier. Cyber Assimilation is there because you can easily dispatch robots, so that 15 health is a free goody. Sharpshooter improves your EMP and your Laser (mainly its overload mode). Cybernetically Enhanced lets you take advantage of that high Maintenance and exploit two implants to good effects. PSI-based: Pharmo Friendly, Replicator Expert, Cybernetically Enhanced, Speedy (Hard/Impossible) or Power Psi (Easy/Normal) You can get a more detailed look at what would make a good PSI-based OS path in section <<B20>>, but this a general all-purpose idea. Pharmo-Friendly and Replicator Expert extend the efficiency of your PSI Hypos, you'll probably have Electron Cascade to help sustain two implants, and depending on whether or not you'll be likely to have Tier 5 abilities you get Power Psi to minimize killing yourself from burn out or Speedy to help you race around enemies while charging up your PSI abilities. Multiplayer Techie: Tinker, Sharpshooter, Replicator Expert, Cybernetically Enhanced. This is sort of themed into a character who provides a support role. Tinker means the other players and you can recklessly pick up new weapons and discard them when they break and still enjoy lots of modifications. Sharpshooter for offense, Replicator Expert to be an effective mule for other players, and of course Cybernetically Enhanced because why not? Impossible Difficulty: Lethal Weapon, Replicator Expert, Cybernetically Enhanced, Tank A generall all-purpose Impossible path. Lethal Weapon because Wrenching things is your main game plan. Replicator Expert for efficiencies in buying what you can no longer loot off enemy corpses as well. Cybernetically Enhanced because of its good payouts. Tank because 5 health is a huge chunk of your life on Impossible. ======================================================================= ======================================================================= 10. Researchable Things [A00] ----------------------------------------------------------------------- High-level researchable things deserve their own category simply because they involve risk vs reward; instead of giving you a flat stat or ability bonus, they give you quirky perks. Annelid Armor: Requires Research 3, Technetium and Hassium Provides +20% damage reduction, +2 PSI, and 30% toxin/radiation resistance. Has no stat requirements other than the research, although it will constantly drain away your PSI while using it. One the one hand, this essentially gives you free overload on all your PSI abilities (since most PSI abilities tend to get capped at 8, so at a PSI of 6, just rapidly activating PSI with this on still gives you a benefit of 8). On the other hand, it gives you only as much defense as Light Armor and also constantly (if slowly) drains away the precious resource for any PSI user - PSI. On Hard or less, this drain and low defense is negligible. The drain is slow, and you can afford more PSI hypos with relative ease. In addition, you have enough health to survive huge attacks. On Impossible, having only 20% damage reduction at such late points in the game is near-suicidal and PSI hypos are prohibitively expensive. But then again, instantly overloading your PSI abilities (and removing the need for PSI boosters and PSI implants in most cases) is really just that nice - this is also a cheap, quick way of using Remote Circuitry Manipulation to simulate CYB 5/Hack 5. NOTE: the drain rate is 1 PSI Point per 30 seconds. Availability: First on the Rickenbacker. WormBlood: Requires Research 4, Copper This lets you "eat" piles of worm (actually making them disappear) and consequently heal 10 health. There's absolutely no reason why you have to keep this installed. If you see a pile of worms, just swap out the implant and use it. It's always nice to have another way to heal, so if you're already building up Research for some reason (maybe Exotic Weapons), there's no reason to not research it and leave it in your inventory. Availability: First on the Research deck. WormMind Implant: Requires Research 3, Cesium Every 4th point of damage is instead taken out of your PSI while this is equipped (obviously you must have more than 0 PSI for this to work). This is essentially a further 25% damage reduction after armor effects have already been calculated. For a non-PSI user, this will translate into an actual 12.5% additional damaage reduction when using Power Armor, for a total of 62.5%. However, for those wanting something more durable and consistent than Power Armor, this effectiveness varies. For dedicated PSI users stuck with Light Armor, this essentially means upgrading to Heavy Armor for free. For those stuck on Medium Armor, it means upgrading to a slightly weaker Power Armor for free (47.5% damage reduction). For those using Heavy Armor, it means a slightly better version of Power Armor (55% damage reduction). If you don't use PSI at all, this is an excellent implant because it puts your PSI Points and PSI hypos to use. If you are a PSI user, your PSI Points are more effectively used by Cerebro- Stimulated Regeneration, or even by Advanced Cerebro-Stimulated Regeneration. Availability: First on the Operations deck. WormHeart Implant: Requires Research 5, Cesium and Hassium This gives you complete Toxin damage immunity, heals 1 health every 30 seconds, but injects you with massive Toxins if this runs out of power or you de-equip it. This gets a lot of undeserved bad press. Immunity to damage from Toxins in your blood isn't something to write home about, but it's something (though, it's particularly good on Hard or Impossible where you may end up having to melee Arachnids, which can easily inject you with Toxins). However, healing 1 HP every 30 seconds is huge. Free healing, although it's best for Hard or Impossible when this 1 HP reflects a much larger percentage of your health pool, is always amazing. If you're already getting up to Research 4 for some reason, you can just tack on a LabAssistant and get this researched and put it to good use. Just remember. Taking this off or letting it run out of charge will inject alot of bad toxins into your blood. Either monitor the charge or have some anti-toxin hypos handy. Availability: First on the Command deck. ======================================================================= ======================================================================= 11. Managing Impossible Difficulty [B00] ----------------------------------------------------------------------- The designers weren't kidding when they named this "Impossible." If you don't have the basic tactics/strategies down, a familiarity with the game, and a solid character concept ahead of time, you'll find yourself really believing that the difficulty is impossible. Fortunately, I'm here to help you. ----------------------------------------------------------------------- 11a. General Tips [B10] You should get intimately familiar with how your wrench works and how to optimally use it against virtually every enemy in the game. You may think I'm kidding, but as I once heard said, System Shock 2 on Impossible isn't a sci-fi/horror first person role-playing game, it's a wrench simulator that lets you simulate hitting all sorts of things with a wrench. Why the wrench? Loot is obscenely rare (you can easily go the entire game without getting organs from a given enemy type), replicators are ridiculously overpriced, and the wrench is something that everyone has access to and doesn't require any cyber modules to use effectively. And, for the most part, most of your enemies can be vanquished with some nimble footwork and good use of the wrench (refer to the Bestiary, section <<D00>> for a detailed, creature-by-creature breakdown). As a result, Lethal Weapon becomes perhaps the single best and most important OS ugprade you can get on Impossible. Get it first and as quickly as you can afford to, it's just that absolutely important for getting through the game. Robots can be dealt with fairly easily if you simply know how to deal with their AI. If you keep circling them back and forth while hitting them with the wrench, they'll generally spend all their time trying to turn instead of trying to shoot you. Of course, you still want a plan to finish them, as the explosion they give off can stil kill you. ----------------------------------------------------------------------- 11b. Full OSA [B20] This deserves special mention. This is not a partial-OSA approach, this is a completely dedicated PSI approach on Impossible difficulty. If you don't think that's hard, go ahead and try it. I'll wait. Back so soon? You've got many things working against you. Your wrenching is already less effective than a Navy's or Marine's (no starting Standard Weapons skill), and you're not going to be spending anything to improve it (save for one OS upgrade). All your offense and utility will come from a Hypo that's ridiculously expensive and much, much less common than even a Prism. This section is aimed at making clear alot of things you need to know about any PSI-related approach on Impossible. You can generalize some of this to other difficulties and other PSI-based builds as there is alot of useful PSI-related information here. ....................................................................... i. A Word on PSI Hypos [B21] PSI Hypos are your life. If you run out, you die. Well, maybe not early on, where you can just Wrench your way through life, but you have no chance in hell of just Wrenching your way through the Rickenbacker. You *may* find an Annelid PSI Organ (fully recovers PSI), which you must HOARD. Using one when you only have around 30 total PSI Points is a waste. You should save it until you have maxed out your PSI stat and achieved access to *all* tiers for a total of 61 PSI and only when you've completely run out. Of course, on Impossible difficulty, each Annelid Egg (that is capable of being searched like a crate) has only a 1.25% chance of yielding one. Which means you can easily go the entire game without ever finding one. Your PSI Hypo consumption will dramatically increase the further you go into the game. All the more reason to horde the ones you get on Med/Sci, Engineering, and even Hydroponics. You don't *need* to use PSI too much (other than to destroy cameras, eggs from a distance, and deal with pesky turrets). However, once you start dealing with swarms of (Security/Assault) Bots, Cyborg Assassins, Rocket/Laser Mk II Turrets, Rumblers, waves of Annelids... you need those PSI Hypos, and you'll be using them faster and faster with each deck. Hoard everything. Why? PSI Hypos are freaking expensive. 150 a pop. But, for the love of god, *DON'T* buy any until Operations (more on this in a bit). And by "Hoard everything" I mean exactly that. Bullets. Beakers that you've filled with worms. Even those Magazines and Potted Plants (when you have room). Once you get to Ops, you need to hack (either with ICE Pick or with PSI Ability) the Replicator near the Command Center for a Recycler. Turn everything that's not a Speed Booster, Rad/Toxin Hypo, Med Hypo, Med Kit, an Implant, an Annelid Organ, or a PSI Hypo/Booster into Nanites. Constantly recyling *EVERYTHING* you find will be *absolutely* crucial to your ability to outpace your PSI Hypo consumption, in addition to any PSI Hypos you find normally. In addition, the Replicator you just hacked for a Recycler *also* happens to sell PSI Hypos, which now only cost 80 nanites. Stock up. Starting with Command, the hacked price of PSI Hypos goes up from 80 nanites to 100 nanites. Doesn't sound like much, but that's a 25%; increase, which means 20% fewer hypos for you. If at all possible, (when you're still on Command deck) go back to the Replicator just by the Elevator on Engineering to buy hypos. Once you get to the Rickenbacker, though, you're pretty set with 100-a-pop PSI Hypos. PSI Hypos on Command and on the Rickenbacker are *RARE*. I don't know why the game designers decided this, but both the increase in hacked prices for them and the increased rarity of PSI Hypos means you need to be absolutely careful about PSI efficiency. And that makes it much more important that you stay on top of Recycling everything you can possibly find. An individual nanite here or there might not mean much, but over the course of one deck can mean 2 PSI Hypos. As you can tell, getting Replicator Expert will be your best friend. About 80% of all PSI Hypos you consume will be things you've bought, so that 20% discount is significant. However, Pharmo-Friendly will also be your best friend. While most of your PSI Hypos will be bought, you will never ever be buying Med Hypos, so getting an extra 20% bonus from them will go a *very* long way. Plus, even if you *only* bought PSI Hypos, the extra 20% bonus effectiveness roughly means a 16.66% discount in replicator price, just from efficiency. Which you choose is ultimately up to you, but having atleast one of the two is *absolutely* essential. PSI Hypos in the Body of the Many are plentiful, and Nanites and things that recycle well into nanites (huge beakers filled with worms, huge amounts of prisms, huge ammo clips) are plentiful. Plus, most of the level is within a quick access to a Replicator that you can hack for 100 Nanite PSI Hypos. Stock up as much as you can here as there are NO replicators after the Body of the Many. ....................................................................... ii. PSI Hypo Economics [B22] PSI Hypos are so fundamental to your character that you should really base most of your decisions on maximizing your PSI Hypo uses. After all, nanites are effectively a finite resource, so once you're out of nanites and PSI Hypos because you've been casting all the PSI stat buffs at every opportunity, you're pretty boned. To that matter, PSI buffs that may have been good to have pretty active on Hard or less become high-cost decisions. Is it *really* necessary to have Psychogenic Endurance on all the time, knowing full well that each use consumes 1/5 (1/6 if you have Pharmo-Friendly) of a PSI Hypo? Do you *really* want Power Armor, knowing that once you get to higher decks, that 1% charge loss per 5 seconds will result in you having to keep it maintained with a 3 PSI point cost Electron Cascade? Do you really want two implants (for the same reason) provided by Cybernetically Enhanced? Similarly, should you really use 3 Pyrokinesis attacks to take out an Arachnid when you could use almost half the PSI point cost by hitting them with Hypnogenesis and then powering up with Adrenaline Overproduction? Or a third of the cost by just whapping them with Hypnogenesis and hoping not to run into them again? This line of reasoning is far more situational (for example, with better PSI stat and a researched organ, you could take out an Arachnid with 1 Pyro hit and 1 Cryo hit instead of the far more expensive 3 Pyro hit option). Nevertheless, such reasoning should be an important part of your play, as reckless PSI use has undesirable consequences later on, such as when you're staring down a charge of several Rumblers and you get the horrifying notice: "Psi Hypo: none found in inventory". ....................................................................... iii. OS Upgrades [B23] As mentioned before, either Replicator Expert or Pharmo-Friendly are absolutely essential for your guaranteed survivability. What else are vital? Well, rules that apply to other builds on this difficulty also apply here, so get Lethal Weapon first. As a completely dedicated PSI user, your Wrench is your only effective way of dealing with the various Bots (Maintenance, Security, Assault) and Cyborg Assassins. If you've ever tried fighting these with just a Wrench, you know how hard it can be, especially against Cyborg Assassins. You *need* the +35% damage as otherwise you simply can't fight these guys with any remote effectiveness. Moreover, so much of your offense will be made up of Wrenching things that the +35% pays off over the entire course of the game. So what else is good? Cybernetically Enhanced, Tank, Power PSI, and Cyber Assimilation are all good contenders for the other two OS upgrades (in adddition to the possibility of the doing the other of the Replicator Expert/Pharmo-Friendly choice). The effectiveness of Cybernetically Enhanced is debatable - presumably you'd want an EndurBoost as one of the implants (as your health is spectacularly low). In this case, you're better off with Tank, which gives you a better yield and doesn't cost PSI to recharge every so often. Of course, this doesn't preclude the option that you may want an EndurBoost and Tank together, or you may be using other implants whose effects aren't replicated by other OS upgrades (such as a PsiBoost and a WormHeart). For reasons hinted at above, Tank is a great upgrade here - it's almost worth 2 Endurance and doesn't have the same exorbitant cyber module cost, nor, like an EndurBoost implant, will it consume PSI every once and a while to get recharged. But depending on your Endurance, Tank can represent upwards of a 50% boost in your health, which is absolutely outstanding to say the least. Power PSI is a contender for a last upgrade as you'll start picking up Tier 5 abilities which are *very* easy to burn out on and also *very* painful to do so (in fact, you may just end up dying if you manage to burn out). However, if you plan on getting Annelid Armor, you don't want this at all as Annelid Armor gives you instant overload with maxed out PSI. Cyber Assimilation is terrible for a last upgrade (as there are NO more robots after the last upgrade station), but good for a third, as you'll be fighting many, many robots after the third station, and without Cyber Assimilation, every single robot battle is a negative result: the costs far outweigh the benefits. This way, though, you can recoup a 15-health healer that you can carry around or, in a pinch, turn into a Nanite with a Recycler. Considering that you may not even have more than 15 health for a while, and you'll have substantially less access to med hypos by virtue of being unable to hack for most of the early game, that kind of healing is massive. So, in the end, this is the OS upgrade path you want to follow. First: Lethal Weapon (no question about it). Second: Replicator Expert or Pharmo-Friendly. Third: Cybernetically Enhanced, Cyber Assimilation, or whichever you didn't take as your Second upgrade. Fourth: Tank or Power PSI. If you didn't take Cybernetically Enhanced as a third, then you almost definitely want it here instead. There is a bit of wiggle room otherwise - there's no rule that says you can't do Lethal Weapon, Cybernetically Enhanced, Tank, Speedy, for example - it may even be very effective. The ordering I provide is simply one that I tend to think is pretty optimized for Impossible play. For reference, my current favorite upgrade path is Lethal Weapon, Pharmo-Friendly, Replicator Expert, and then Tank. ....................................................................... iv. Technical Skills. [B24] Yes, there is room for some technical prowess. Research 4 is a great idea simply because WormHeart is just that good of an end-game implant. (You'll also need a LabAssistant implant to research it as it needs Research 5.) This also means you'll have access to Annelid Armor and WormBlood. WormBlood is so important as you'll be able to turn those piles of worms (after you're done harvesting them with your beakers) into valuable health. Annelid Armor can give you instant PSI overloading, which is just ridiculously powerful. If you're not interested in using WormHeart, you can settle with Research 3. If all you care about is researching basic enemy organs, then you can settle for Research 2, though you need a LabAssistant implant so you can research an Annelid PSI Organ, should you find one - they payoff of finding one and then being able to use it is so great that I wouldn't be willing to drop any more research. Apart from that, you'll probably want Maintenance of some kind, since you'll be potentially relying heavily on implants and Power Armor. Get as much as your build can afford, but remember to leave some leeway in case you miss a cyber module or two - though the import for Maintenance drops a lot if you don't plan on getting Cybernetically Enhanced or using Power Armor. If you *want*, you can try and get Hack 2. It's not *that* expensive, and with Psychogenic Cybernetic Affinity, you'll be able to hack those ubiquitous security crates from day one, which gives you nice payoff. However, going higher than Hack 2 starts getting prohibitively more expensive with decreasing payout. ....................................................................... v. Stats and PSI [B25] PSI 6 is mandatory. No questions asked. Apart from that, the requirements becomes much more dependent on your end game desires. If you want Power Armor, get Strength 3 and fast, as you'll be able to get that sweet 50% damage reduction starting at Hydroponics. On the other hand, if you're planning on using Annelid Armor, your starting Strength 2 is fine. Apart from that, I recommend getting whatever Agility and Endurance you can afford (generally getting it up to 3 is the most your build can afford). 3 or 6 extra Health may not sound like much, but trust me, there'll be plent of times you'll escape a battle with 1-2 health and thank god for that extra Endurance. Agility is important because it lets you chase down those damn Cyborg Assassins and strafe ranged attacks (and sometimes those enemies can run and fire really damn fast...). By the way... if you can help it, reload an auto-save game instead of letting yourself respawn at a station. Losing 10 nanites every so often will deprive yourself of several PSI Hypos over the course of the game. Plus, dying costs you even more PSI Hypos as all your implants are still losing charge (meaning in the time it takes to run back to where you died, you lose more charge, which means having to recharge them with PSI sooner), and all your PSI Buffs (namely Agility and Endurance) wear off. As for PSI Abilities... first off, you need to get every single tier. Not only does this mean you'll get the maximum possible of 61 PSI Points (which makes the Annelid PSI Organ very good), but because you're not going to have any non-PSI weapons, you NEED Tier 4 and Tier 5 stuff to guarantee your ability to survive the last parts of the game. As for specific tiers, for Tier 1, Projected Cryokinesis is essential (anti-Camera, anti-Turret, anti-Egg, finishing blows on robots). Psychogenic Agility is one of the most important buffs in the game (though depending on your playstyle, you may not like the constant PSI drain having this on entails). Kinetic Redirection is a nice helper skill, though you should only really get it if you can get it for free, via an OSA path. For Tier 2, Cerebro-Stimulated Regeneration is vital as it lets you turn PSI Hypos into massive amounts of health. Believe it or not, Neural Decontamination (80% rad resistance) is vital, but not until you get to the Body of the Many - the radiation pools will murder you otherwise; you have poor Endurance and little health. If you're good about keeping the Hazard Suit around, though, you may not need it. Adrenaline Overproduction is a good way of helping to dispatch robots and other tough enemies (like Cyborg Assassins) for whom you may not have other decent PSI answers. You may want to consider Psychogenic Strength, since the +2 Strength will help alot with carrying stuff around (until you can Recycle), and it does let you wear heavier armor or do more damage. For Tier 3, Projected Pyrokinesis will be your best way of dealing with Spiders and Rumblers for most of the game. Psionic Hypnogenesis is great crowd control and also probably the best way to help deal with Cyborg Assassins so you can position yourself for some good hits. Electron Cascade is important as there aren't enough Recharge Stations or Portable Battery drops to keep your implants/Power Armor charged at all times. Molecular Duplication *may* be something you want to consider, as it's the only way to assure yourself of a steady supply of PSI Boosters or if you want to stock up on Med Hypos for mid-fight use, though Cerebro-Stimulated Regeneration is more efficient. For Tier 4, Electron Suppression is your best answer against the huge bots - it's pretty much a required skill if you don't want to pound your head against the wall in frustration. Photonic Redirection is your BEST ability on hand for anything starting with the second part (Pod 2) of the Rickenbacker onwards. Psychogenic Endurance is your other important buff, though the 4 PSI Points it periodically costs to have up may be too expensive for your tastes. Remote Circuitry Manipulation is a high-priority Tier 4 ability; hacking is so important to your survivability. Mainly hacking replicators, but also some turrets and crates - though don't go hacking everything, as hacking with your PSI is really expensive and hard. At the Tier 5 level, there's more room for flexibility. I would highly recommend Imposed Neural Restructuring, Soma Transference, and Psycho-Reflective Aura. These three abilities will make you near unstoppable in the Body of the Many. Invisibility from Photonic Redirection *can't* always work, as you need to bust through membrane-doors, and doing so will invoke the wrath of many, many creatures around you. In addition, some spiders are actually able to attack you despite being invisible (if you were at any point uninvisible while they could see you). Using INR on a Rumbler and then going Invisible again is very effective, and the virtual immortality that Soma Transference gives you is powerful. Moreover, Soma Transference does have a very important use for the battle against the Brain of the Many (more on this later). Psycho-Reflective Aura is almost vital if you want to use Annelid Armoppr... otherwise, SHODAN will just eat your paltry health alive. If you're so inclined, you can also think about External Psionic Detonation, if you can get it early enough, as it is then your best answer against 2 or more spiders, 3 or more Hybrids, and a good answer to a hard-to-wrench group of Midwives or an answer of some kind to Cyborg Assassins (a solid hit with two Psi Mines will kill an Assassin instantly). At the very least, you'll want Soma Transference, but again, this Tier is a bit more flexible in what you should get. Metacreative Barrier has its uses (such as keeping your hide safe from SHODAN's Avatar or letting you manuever around turrets). External Psionic Detonation is actually fairly effective and, if you use it wisely, more efficient than Cryo or Pyro hits. Just don't think about getting the teleport ability :). ....................................................................... vi. Typical Build [B26] With all this information, my current typical OSA build for Impossible looks like this: 2 STR 3 AGI 4 END 6 PSI 2 CYB 4 Research Tier 1: Projected Cryokinesis, Psychogenic Agility, Kinetic Redirection Tier 2: Adrenaline Overproduction, Cerebro-Stimulated Regeneration, Neural Decontamination Tier 3: Projected Pyrokinesis, Psionic Hypnogenesis, Electron Cascade Tier 4: Electron Suppression, Photonic Redirection, Remote Circuitry Manipulation, Molecular Transmutation Tier 5: Imposed Neural Restructuring, Soma Transference, Psycho-Reflective Aura OS Upgrades: Lethal Weapon, Pharmo-Friendly, Replicator Expert, Tank Equipped with: Annelid Armor, WormHeart, Wrench/PSI Amp Low priority goals: Metacreative Barrier, +1 STR My OSA mission paths were: 1st year: Tier 2, Cryo, Redirection 2nd year: +2 PSI 3rd year: +1 STR, +1 AGI, +1 CYB, Agility For a total cost (ignoring the low priority tasks) of 818 Cyber Modules. In one of my recent run throughs, I actually ended the game with 0 Cyber Modules left, even though I hadn't pursued my "lower priority" spending targets (such as PSI Wall in this case) - this probably just means in my hurry I missed a few in the Rickenbacker or in the Many. The point of this is that you should probably, similarly, leave some wiggle room with "low priority targets" in case you do miss a few cyber modules, as otherwise you may end up being screwed when you can't afford that oh-so-crucial PSI ability that you had been putting off. As a result, I tend to plan for roughly 800-ish cyber modules of stuff I definitely need to have. The upside of this is that your character concept will be completed earlier, so you'll be able to enjoy its full power for longer. Remember - simply missing a small pile of 2-3 every so often can add up to an entire 5th tier spell or a stat at its 4th level. For me, I'm a *really* huge fan of Annelid Armor and WormHeart. I love free healing, and I love free PSI overloads. If you've never played a game where you've used either, I highly recommend you give it a shot. You don't know raw power until you can spam PSI abilities left and right at full 8 PSI power without having to worry about overloading. In fact, this particular build is really geared towards maximizing PSI Hypo efficiency - this gets both Pharmo- Friendly and Replicator Expert, and gets Pharmo-Friendly first on the assumption that you won't need to buy PSI Hypos (or atleast more than one or two) until after the third OS upgrade station. It also prioritizes Molecular Transmutation and a high PSI so you can turn those grenades, non-standard ammo clips, prisms, and worms into nanites much more effectively than a Recycler. The build also ignores Cybernetically Enhanced (and the ensuing PSI costs to keep the second implant charged) in favor of Tank (Speedy may also be a good contender). Moreover, this build ignores any PSI Buffs (Psychogenic Agility is there because it's free and has its occasional use when risking a long fall) due to their recurring PSI costs. Thus, with all these efficencies in the build, in the end game areas, you may find yourself flush with 50+ PSI Hypos, at which point, any constant PSI drip is neglible, and you can recklessfly fling around Pyrokinesis, Imposed Neural Restructuring, Photonic Redirection, Soma Transference, and any and all other spells without worrying about any consequences. The Rickenbacker, the Body of the Many, and the final area is basically an opportunity to go haywire with sheer, raw power, and seeing as how it's roughly timed with the emergence of your powerful capabilities (Pyrokinesis, 4th/5th Tier stuff, Annelid Armor), this is when the build really shines. Again, this build isn't a definitive WHAT YOU MUST DO list - it works into playstyle. You may not like the steady PSI drip of Annelid Armor and instead pursue a Power Armor-based strategy. Or maybe you can live without Aura, Molecular Transmutation, and a few other PSI skills, but you really want that extra Endurance. Or maybe you want to strip away some more PSI abilities and the PSI Wall low priority target so that you can get Hack 2 (and thus maybe you'll take a different OSA training path so you can get Psychogenic Cybernetic Affinity instead of Kinetic Redirection). Perhaps you aren't a fan of the micromanagement necessary to take advantage of Hypnogenesis + Adrenaline Reproduction, etc. ....................................................................... vii. Notes/Tactics [B27] Leave 200 Nanites open and available. The sympathetic resonator you HAVE to purchase on Command deck costs 200 on Impossible... and you don't want to be like me, scrounging through all the decks for anything I can recycle because I forgot about how expensive it was. Don't Hack every crate you come across, or every Replicator. PSI Hacking is *very* expensive as just one attempt on a crate can cost you 9-14 PSI, which (with no OS upgrades counted) is 67.5-105 Nanites of an unhacked PSI Hypo replicator. You should only Hack replicators and turrets that are strategically advantageous. Moreover, you should save before any crate hacking so that you can reload in case the fruits of your labor aren't worth the effort. Plus, never ever hack security. By the time you get PSI Hack, security is very hard to hack and you won't be able to hack security for any long periods of time. Speaking of strategic turrets, one turret you *must* hack is the one where you'll end up fighting Korenchkin. (If you don't know, then you really shouldn't be playing Impossible yet.) You should never have to fight a PSI Reaver at any point in the game with this build, and they are truly anti-PSI opponents as they are immune to both Hypnogenesis and Imposed Neural Restructuring. Plus, Korenchkin's PSI attacks do nothing against turrets, so that turret will still be around to be your new buddy. You can "glitch" out the AI of Cyborg Assassins and big Bots by running forward into them while attacking. This will make them try to back up a bit instead of attack you, but it doesn't always work, especially on Assault Bots. Soma Transference is your best friend at the Brain of the Many. You'll probably be invisible and surrounded by wandering PSI Reavers (which are immune to INR and Hypnogenesis). You can try just INR-ing Rumblers, watching them take out a few Reavers before dying, then INR-ing their replacements, but this is not PSI efficient (and you want lots of PSI hypos to spare for the battle against SHODAN, I'd say like 6-7). Instead of trying to shoot the floating stars with Pyro or Cryokinesis and then taking out the brain, just do a fully charged Soma Transference on the brain twice to kill it. It'll bypass any protection, and just in case you get hit by a PSI Reaver's blast before you kill it, you'll heal up the damage again and you'll be good to go. As a testament to how rare loot drops are - I, personally, have on several instances been able to go the entire game without finding a single Monkey Brain organ to research (that's quite impressive considering how many Monkeys there are in the game). Because of this, you lose significant resources in every single battle. In Hard, and especially Normal, there's a good chance you could recoup some of the effort you put into the fight from the loot on the monster, but not so on Impossible. As a result, once you deal with a level's initial monsters, you're probably better off disabling or skipping respawns instead of fighting them (especially cyborg assassins), if you can help it. ======================================================================= ======================================================================= 12. Character Concepts [C00] ----------------------------------------------------------------------- These are character concepts that either I've played, heard/read about, or theorize would be fun to play. Credit is given where appropriate. Standard Characters - These are the general archetypes that most players ever choose. They select a path and then pursue the theme of that path until the end of the game, maybe splashing a bit into other stuff. Complete PSI - No weapons skills, just PSI. I detail further about a Complete PSI approach on Impossible difficulty in the previous section. Melee/Ninja - Only melee weapons. You can have PSI abilities that complement your melee abilities (Psychogenic Strength, Agility, Endurance, Photonic Redirection, Adrenaline Overproduction, etc.) as well as Ninja-esque tech skills (mainly Hack). On Normal, you can easily progress from Wrench to Laser Rapier (great against Bots) to Crystal Shard. On Hard or Impossible, you'll have to either stick with the Wrench or pick either Energy Weapons or Exotic weapons, as you won't be able to afford getting all. Basic inspiration from the Strategy Guide. Getting good with this sort of build on Normal is good training for all builds on Hard/Impossible (Where being good with a Wrench is vital to survival). NOTE: Make sure you have a ranged weapon of some kind as otherwise the Brain of the Many and SHODAN (unless you Hack her) are literally impossible. PSI-Energy Hybrid - Perhaps the most effective OSA combination: a mixture of good PSI skills (no Tier 5) and Energy Weapons. Your PSI skills make you excellent against non-robots, your Energy Weapons make you fierce against robots and partial robots. Make Energy Weapons a high priority as getting the EMP Rifle on Hydroponics, just in time to deal with Cyborg Assassins, is quite nice. Prohibitively too expensive on Impossible difficulty without significant sacrifices on the PSI-side (and you never, ever want to skip out on Invisibility with this build, as Energy is near useless in the Body of the Many). PSI-Warrior Hybrid - You use standard weapons, but you use PSI to back them up; neuro-reflex, anti-entropic field, psycho-reflective aura, etc. Taken from the official strategy guide. Annelid Mimic - You use a wrench and basic PSI up until you start getting exotic weapons. Then, you exclusively use exotic weapons and annelid armor/implants and PSI abilities that complement them and make you more... alien-esque (stat enhancers, INR, Soma, Invisibility). Basic idea taken from the official strategy guide. The Antipodal Navy - Energy Weapons and Exotic Weapons. Hack, Maintainence, Modify, Research. You'll be the best anti-Robot and the best anti-Alien guy alive; similar philosophy to the PSI-Energy Hybrid. Just be warned to horde those worms... you'll be using them alot in the Body of the Many. The Alcoholic OSA - For those who want a challenge without resorting to Hard/Impossible. You're relatively dedicated to PSI, but you can't help but drink alot of booze (which heals 1 health but drains 3 PSI). The Smoker - For those who want a challenge unrelated to PSI. You've been trying to quit for years... but you just can't help smoking a pack when you can (which drains 1 health). The Redneck - You can only use a shotgun, you smoke and drink alot, and you have no PSI, but have lots of skills to make sure your shotgun is always in top form (high maintain, repair, and modify). You'll probably have lots of leftover cyber modules with which to beef up all your stats. Remember, a maxed Standard Weapons is still good for letting you beef up your shotgun damage. A good multiplayer concept as this character picks up skills that will benefit everyone playing. ======================================================================= ======================================================================= 13. Bestiary [D00] For various creatures, I'll list their "wrenchability," which is really an assessment for those on Hard and Impossible difficulty on proper tactics/difficulty in using your wrench on these guys. Note that some creatures will drop stuff not normally on their loot tables; these are specific creatures and do not occur on random respawns. For example, there is a Shotgun Hybrid that will drop an Implant, and there is also an Arachnid that will drop a PSI Hypo. ----------------------------------------------------------------------- 13a. Damage Table [D10] Throughout the weapons and PSI sections, you'll notice I mention what types of damage various weapons and certain PSI abilities do. Here's where it all comes together. Some damage types are best against certain creature types. Maximize your efficiency. NOTE: Pay careful note to which damage types do not damage SHODAN, Annelid, and (if you won't be able to hack well) Basic, as you will *have* to damage these to beat the game. The Table is displayed such that each cell is a multiplier (1 means the damage is done normally, 2 means that double damage is dealt, etc). Type Annelid Swarm Half-Annelid Half-Mech Mech Basic SHODAN ....................................................................... Anti-Annelid 4 1 1 0 0 0 0 Anti-Human 0 0 2 1 0 0 0 Armor Piercing .5 0 .5 2 4 1 1.25 Cold 1 0 1 .5 1 1 1 Droid Fusion* 1 0 1 1 1 1 0 Soma Transference 1 0 1 1 0 0 0 Electricity* 1 0 1 4 4 1 0 EMP 0 0 0 2 4 0 1.5 Energy .5 0 1 1 2 1 .5 High Explosive 2 0 4 1 .5 1 .75 Incendiary 2 0 2 .5 0 1 1 Psi 2 0 1 1 0 1 1 Standard 1 0 1 1 1 1 1 WeaponBash 1 0 1 1 .5 1 0 *These are damage types only available to enemies, but they do have the possibility of hitting other enemies (via area of effect or misfires) so their appropriate damage modifiers are shown. (see endnote 3) Though it won't come up too often, Humans (namely you and any other players if you're doing multiplayer) are also vulnerable in specific ways. Humans take 4x damage from Anti-Human attacks and High Explosive attacks (so if you ever feel like killing your friends in a hurry...). Humans also take 2x damage from Energy-based sources, but only .5x damage from Armor Piercing sources. Humans take normal damage from all other sources except for Anti-Annelid, Soma Transference, EMP, and PSI, all of which do no damage to humans. ----------------------------------------------------------------------- 13b. Annelids [D20] ....................................................................... i. Annelid Egg [D21] Health: 10 Damage: None Damage Type: n/a Speed: n/a Loot: (Toxic/Grub/Swarm) 30% of Annelid Heal Organ, 5% of Annelid PSI Organ, 65% of No Loot (only if inspecting the egg before destroying it); Grub and Swarm eggs drop the appropriate organ (100%) when destroyed. Wrenchability: It's generally a really bad idea to wrench the eggs unless they've already released their contents, especially Toxic Eggs. If you walk slowly up to an egg, you'll be able to inspect it (like a security crate) without it opening, although various eggs have various activation ranges (how close you need to be for it to release whatever it contains). In general, you'll be able to creep up to Toxic and Grub Eggs, but Swarm Eggs tend to have pretty large activation ranges, so you'll probably have to deal with the Swarm first before you can actually check the egg. Black eggs drop nothing and cannot be inspected. They are there solely for story purposes. ....................................................................... ii. Annelid Grub [D22] Health: 5 Damage: 1 Damage Type: Anti-Human Speed: Medium Loot: None Wrenchability: Really easy, as long as you've gotten handy at knocking out monkeys.
By the time you come upon grubs, you should be handy enough at hitting small targets (from all those monkeys) that they shouldn't pose much of a problem. One hit from almost anything (except for a Laser Pistol) will kill it. Be warned that some Grubs will leap really high into the sky to attack you. ....................................................................... iii.Arachnid [D23] Health: Baby - 10, Adult - 60, Invisible - 60 Damage: Baby - 2 plus mild Toxin, Adult/Invisible - 10 plus heavy Toxin. Damage Type: All - WeaponBash Speed: All - Fast Loot: 20% of Organ, 80% of No Loot Wrenchability: You can use a non-wrench on these guys as Adults and Invisibles are very jumpy and hard to hit once they start jumping around, moreover, just getting hit once will inject *alot* of bad toxins into your blood stream. Sure there are plenty of Anti-Toxin hypos, but eventually it just becomes more cost effective to just shoot the damn things. Spiders are annoying, plentiful, and tough. Their normal damage isn't that bad, but the toxin they inject is supremely annoying, as basically only death will get rid of it if you have no Anti-Toxin hypos left. Invisible Spiders aren't actually invisible, and if you are the slightest bit aware, you'll be able to see these guys, especially since the chittering sound Spiders make is *very* easy to identify. ....................................................................... iv. Brain of the Many [D24] Health: Defense Node - 10, Brain - 100 Damage: None Damage Type: n/a Speed: n/a Loot: None Wrenchability: Impossible. You *must* have a ranged weapon here. In case you don't know by now, you shoot the three Nodes first, then pummel away at the Brain, all while the Many's reinforcements march in by the dozens. The hardest part of this fight are the many Rumblers that will keep respawning. As long as you have sufficient Agility, you'll be able to outrun them. Be sure to take out the PSI Reaver brains, especially since the Greater PSI Reaver here (the only one in the game) will basically kill you in one hit on almost any non-Easy difficulty. Don't deal with any other creatures, as by killing one, you end up with about two more to replace it. If you have Soma Transference, the battle gets a whole lot easier, as just a few quick activations will bypass the Defense Nodes and kill the Brain really quickly (as well as healing yourself in the process). ....................................................................... v. PSI Reavers [D25] Health: Brain - 10, Normal - 120, Greater - 200 Damage: Normal - 5, Greater - 15 Damage Type: All - Anti-Human Speed: Brain - Immobiles, Normal/Greater - Medium Loot: Normal - 75% of Organ, 25% of No Loot; Greater - 80% of Organ, 20% of No Loot. Wrenchability: Very hard, aside from the Brain. By now you should be pretty handy with some other weaponry. PSI Reavers aren't too hard, once you know how to fight them. You should *never* go after them until you knock out their Brain, as otherwise they just respawn. Fortunately, despite being super-deadly, their accuracy leaves something to be desired. There's only one Greater PSI Reaver in the game, and he's guarding the Brain of the Many. You'll be able to tell which it is as the Greater PSI Reaver is much larger and quite darker than normal PSI Reavers. Be *very* careful dealing with him, as one direct hit from him on non-Easy (especially Hard and Impossible) can kill you from full health. Sounds intimidating, but their slow speed, the vulnerability of their Brain, and the relative inaccuracy and slow speed of their projectiles does not make them that hard. ----------------------------------------------------------------------- 13c. Swarms [D30] ....................................................................... i. Swarm [D31] Health: 36 Damage: 1 per 2 seconds Damage Type: Anti-Human Speed: Fast Loot: None Wrenchability: Impossible, nor do you want to kill them with a weapon, in most cases. Just run around (careful to not activate any more swarm eggs) until they die. If you have a Viral Proliferater, you can try and kill them, just for the novelty of it. (Don't use the Annelid Launcher, as it'll require 8 worms to kill a Swarm.) ----------------------------------------------------------------------- 13d. Half-Annelids [D40] ....................................................................... i. Hybrids [D41] Health: Pipe - 12, Shotgun - 24, Grenade - 15 Damage: Pipe - 10, Shotgun - 4, Grenade - 10 Damage Type: Pipe - WeaponBash, Shotgun/Grenade - Standard Speed: Medium Loot: Pipe - 2 of the following: 20% of 5 Nanites, 5% of a Med Hypo, 25% of a Soda Can, 5% of Organ, 45% of No Loot; Shotgun - Guaranteed shotgun with 1 Chambered Slug (no matter the difficulty), plus 2 of the following: 10% of 6 Rifled Slugs, 20% of 5 Nanites, 10% of a Med Hypo, 25% of a Liquor Bottle, 5% of Organ, 30% of No Loot; Grenade - 2 of the following: 10% of a Med Hypo, 15% of 3 Frag Grenades, 15% of 5 Nanites, 5% of Organ, 25% of Cigarettes, 30% of No Loot Wrenchability: Unless you're swarmed, you should *always* wrench Hybrids. Always. Pipe Hybrids will be immensely hard the first time through the game, but once you learn to weave in-and-out, they're a piece of cake. Grenade Hybrids aren't too bad, because they're very slow about throwing their grenades, and generally you can run up to one and hit them before they get a throw off, since the moment you hit a Grenade Hybrid, it interrupts them if they were throwing anything. In fact, the hardest hybrid is probably the Shotgun Hybrid. You can't strafe their attack (they seem to have pinpoint accuracy most of the time), so you're almost guaranteed to get hit atleast once, which can be very, very bad on Impossible difficulty, especially since being hit doesn't interrupt their shots (unlike Grenade Hybrids). ....................................................................... ii. Rumblers [D42] Health: 220 Damage: 20 Damage Type: WeaponBash Speed: Fast Loot: 30% of Organ, 70% of No Loot; I believe the first one you encounter in Recreation is guaranteed to drop an organ. Wrenchability: It's like a Pipe Hybrid on drugs. If you *really* need to, you can weave in and out and take down Rumblers, but unlike Pipe Hybrids, their attacks come out very fast and hurt *alot*. Hopefully you have more powerful weapons by now. The Rumbler is not so bad when you realize that it can't attack and run at the same time. Thus, if you have a ranged weapon, you can just run circles around the rumbler and fire away. However, with melee weapons, being so close to the Rumbler means they can stop for a split second, let out an attack (which comes out fast and isn't always expected) and start running again. Unless you've *only* been going Energy Weapons, you should have a good answer to Rumblers by the time you see your first one. Even the Laser Rapier works decently, so long as you're *very* good with your footwork. ....................................................................... iii. Monkeys [D43] Health: Blue - 10, Red - 12 Damage: Blue - 10 range (small Area of Effect), 4 melee; Red - 15 range (large Area of Effect), 4 melee. Damage Type: Blue - Cold, WeaponBash; Red - Incendiary, WeaponBash Speed: Medium Loot: All - 30% of Organ, 30% of Chips, 40% No Loot Wrenchability: Get good at wrenching them. These guys are generally not worth any ammunition. The most surprising thing about Monkeys is the fact that their projectiles have Area of Effect to them (even though your equivalent PSI attacks don't). For this reason, getting even partially hit by a Pyrokinesis attack from a Red Monkey can be quite painful (and may mean instant death on Impossible difficulty). On the other hand, their projectiles *will* hurt enemies, especially the Pyrokinesis (which will do double damage to organic targets). So, if you can put a Hybrid between you and the monkey, you can use the Hybrid as a meat shield while you get into position to knock out the monkey. ----------------------------------------------------------------------- 13e. Half-Mechanical [D50] ....................................................................... i. Assassin [D51] Health: Normal - 60, Red/Virtual - 48 Damage: All - 10 Damage Type: All - WeaponBash Speed: All - Fast Loot: All - 20% of 5 Nanites, 5% of 20 Nanites, 75% of No Loot; Red - Additional guaranteed Sim Chip (story-related drop). Wrenchability: Very hard. One trick is to move forward into them while attacking, which will generally make them try to move backwards instead of attack you. Probably the hardest enemy in the game, simply because nothing is particularly good against them, they move lightning fast, and their attacks come out quickly and accurately. On Impossible, you can be killed in just a few seconds from full health. Your best chance is AP ammo or an EMP rifle, but you still need to keep your reflexes up when encountering more than one at a time. ....................................................................... ii. Midwife [D52] Health: 36 Damage: 5 range, 5 melee Damage Type: Energy range, WeaponBash melee Speed: Medium Loot: 20% of Portable Battery, 5% of 20 Nanites, 10% of a Med Hypo, 25% of Organ, 40% of No Loot. Wrenchability: In fact, recommended. Their melee damage is lower than their ranged damage, and their ranged damage isn't particularly easy to avoid, unlike their melee swipes. One of the creepiest enemies in the game. They can be dispatched quite easily if you charge them, as their melee abilities are poor compared to their ranged. Also, their Energy attacks will harm other enemies, so take advantage of enemy positions to exploit Midwives to harm your enemy. ----------------------------------------------------------------------- 13f. Mechanical [D60] ....................................................................... i. Turrets [D61] Health: All - 48 Damage: Slug - Three shots of 2, Laser - Three shots of 5, Laser Mk II - 7, Rocket - 10 (Area of Effect). Damage Type: Slug/Rocket - Standard, Laser/Laser Mk II - Energy Speed: n/a Loot: Slug - 50% of 6 Standard Bullets, 50% of No Loot; Laser - 50% of Portable Battery, 50% of No Loot; Others - Nothing Wrenchability: Slug, Laser, and Rocket Turrets have a very slow turn around speed, so you can essentially just circle strafe around a turret. Make sure to have a back-up ranged weapon, since they explode upon destruction. Turrets will be the bane of your existence. The Laser and Laser Mk II Turrets do double damage against you, so they can easily do away with you in seconds, if you're not careful. Fortunately, Slug and Laser turrets are highly inaccurate (but don't push your luck too much). Laser Mk II's are rare, which is good since they're highly accurate and fast to acquire you. Rocket Turrets are mainly deadly because it's super hard to strafe their attacks or take cover behind something (they have huge area of effect). Hacking turrets is great, but rarely will it ever actually attack your enemies, but the few times it does is a godsend. Having a Rocket Turret take out a PSI Reaver for you, or a Rocket Turret take out a swarm of Shotgun Hybrids is just amazing. ....................................................................... ii. Robots [D62] Health: Maintenance - 100, Security - 160, Assault - 200 Damage: Maintenance - 6, Security - 8, Assault - 12 (Area of Effect) Damage Type: Maintenance - Electricity, Security - Energy, Assault - Droid Fusion Speed: Slow Loot: Maintenance - 2 of the following: 30% of Maintenance Tool, 10% of Rad Hypo, 50% of 20 Nanites, 10% of No Loot; Security - 2 of the following: 15% of 10 Prisms, 5% of Iridium, 80% of No Loot; Assault - 2 of the following: 15% of 10 Prisms, 30% of Portable Battery, 55% of No Loot. Wrenchability: The biggest problem is closing the distance with them, as Assault and Security Bots can easily kill you before you get into melee range. Once in whapping range, circle strafe while pushing into range, and they'll be generally too busy trying to back up or acquire you as a target to retaliate. The most interesting thing about these bots is that the Assault Bot doesn't do *that* much damage. However, with each upgrade, they fire faster and more accurately. Security Bots have the best chance of flat out killing you before you have a chance of responding, as their attacks are almost instantaneous and fairly accurate. Assault Bots have greater inevitability over you: they fire their shots very quicky, and even if you strafe their attacks, they explode in a huge area of effect - in fact, if you don't have very good Agility, you may find it completely impossible to dodge all their attacks due to their unrelenting frequency and blast radius. Moreover, all robots are tough as nails, so if you don't have any EMP Grenades/Rifles, AP ammo, or a Fusion Cannon, you're going to be in for a pretty extended fight. ....................................................................... iii. Protocol Droids [D63] Health: 20 Damage: 15 Damage Type: Incendiary Speed: Fast Loot: None Wrenchability: If you get within melee range, they explode. So, not wrenchable. The bane of your early life. You won't have much in the way of ranged answers, and your health pool will be on the shallow end. 15 damage (especially if all you have is Light Combat Armor) is a massive chunk of your life (an almost guaranteed one-hit kill early in Impossible). However, there is a slight delay between when they stop moving and when the explode, so you can try and trick them into exploding and run out of their explosion range quickly, but this is a very risky strategy. Later on, they just become annoying ammo sinks, because they will always remain an enemy that you just can't melee or even avoid effectively. Note that since Localized Pyrokinesis gives you effectively immunity to Incendiary, a potentially effective means of dealing with a group of these (like in the Engineering Cargo Bays) is to just switch it on and then run amongst them. ....................................................................... iv. SHODAN Avatar [D64] Health: 100 Damage: 12 Damage Type: Energy Speed: Medium Loot: None Wrenchability: A bad idea for many reasons, the biggest one being that you shouldn't even have to fight the Avatar. Fearsome. Powerful. And also instantly regenerates after being killed. However, you don't have to even fire a single shot at the Avatar, as that is not how you kill SHODAN. So, as long as you're constantly on the run, the Avatar will never be able to land a shot on you. ----------------------------------------------------------------------- 13g. Basic [D70] ....................................................................... i. SHODAN Shield [D71] Health: 140 Damage: n/a Damage Type: n/a Speed: Special Loot: None Wrenchability: As there is a huge pit around the shields, melee- ing the shields is impossible. There are six of these surrounding SHODAN's core. Unless you're good at Hacking and hack the three security terminals, you'll need to blast through these shields. However, the shields are constantly rotating, so you'll probably be hitting lots of different shields. However, each shield is a distinct color, so if you're good enough, you can just shoot the same shield over and over to get rid of it, and then just shoot SHODAN through the breach in the shields. ----------------------------------------------------------------------- 13h. SHODAN [D80] ....................................................................... i. SHODAN [D81] Health: 125 Damage: 16 Damage Type: SHODAN Speed: n/a Loot: None Wrenchability: SHODAN is immune to both the Wrench and the Crystal Shard, but if you have either the PSI Sword or Laser Rapier on hand, you can just jump over the pit surrounding her and wop her a few times. Either disable or destroy the shields surrounding her and then unleash everything you have. SHODAN's missiles have a huge area of effect, so stay on the move while attacking her. ======================================================================= ======================================================================= 14. Appendix: Molecular Transmutation Analysis [E00] ----------------------------------------------------------------------- 14a. The Equation [E10] Thanks to the official Prima Strategy Guide for providing this helpful info. [(.8 + .2 * PSI) * n * factor] = Nanite Yield (see endnote 2) Where PSI is your PSI stat (up to a total of 10 instead of 8), n is the minimum of (objects in the stack, objects in a standard clip of the stack type), factor is a multiplier dependent on the type of item you're transmuting, and [ ... ] truncates decimal values (a floor function). n needs a bit more explaining. Whereas with recycling, you'll recycle the entire stack in one go (bye bye 150 bullets), Molecular Transmutation only affects a "clip", or however much is left in the stack, if it's less than a normal clip size. For bullets, a clip is 6. For hypos, organs, and medical kits, a clip is 1. If you are trying to transmute less than the clip size (4 bullets, for example), it instead uses however many objects are in the stack for n (so n = 4 instead of n = 6). Now, recycling yields 1 nanite per object. So you may think that Molecular Transmutation is almost strictly better (as it will always more nanites than the equivalent amount yielded by a recycler). However, you have to keep in mind that Transmuting costs you PSI Points, and those PSI Points will cost you Nanites to replace via PSI Hypos. So to compute the profitability, you have to take that into account. Cost = ((4 / (20 + bonus)) * cost * difficulty * discount) If you have Pharmo-Friendly, set bonus to 4, otherwise set it to 0. Cost is 75 Nanites unhacked and 40 Nanites hacked before Command deck, 75 Nanites unhacked and 50 Nanites hacked after Command deck. If you have hacking available, use the hacked price, otherwise use the normal price. If you're on easy or normal, set difficulty to 1. If you're on hard, set difficulty to 1.25. If you're on impossible, set difficulty to 2. If you have replicator expert, set discount to .8, otherwise set it to 1. The final result is how many nanites each use of Molecular Transmutation is going to cost you. On normal, with everything optimized, cost is (4/24 * 40 * 1 * .8) = about 5 Nanites On impossible, with just pharmo-friendly and pre-Command hacking, cost is (4/24 * 40 * 2 * 1) = about 13 Nanites To get your profit, simply subtract your Cost from your Nanite Yield. So let's say you have a PSI of 10, you're on impossible with only pre-Command hacking available, and you're transmuting a clip of Frag Grenades (which have factor = 8 and have a clip size of 1): [(.8 + .2 * 10) * 1 * 8] - (4/20 * 40 * 2 * 1) = 24 - roughly 16 = roughly 8 Nanites Compare to what a Recycler would've yielded (2 Nanites) and you've got yourself a far better return. However, getting 10 PSI is essential for profitmaking, and with only 1 PSI, most items won't be profitable with everything else optimized even on Normal. ----------------------------------------------------------------------- 14b. The Table [E20] Object (factor) Clip Size (n) Recycle Equivalent (per Clip) ....................................................................... Frag Grenades 8 1 2 Nanites Other Grenades 2.5 1 2 Nanites Standard Bullets 1 6 6 Nanites Other Bullets 1.5 6 6 Nanites Prisms 1.75 5 5 Nanites Worms 2 5 12 Nanites Slugs 1.25 3 3 Nanites Med Hypo/ Healing Gland/ PSI Organ 4 1 2 Nanites Medical Kit 6 1 2 Nanites Anti-Rad Hypo/ Anti-Toxin Hypo/ Speed/Strength Booster 3 1 2 Nanites PSI Booster 5 1 2 Nanites PSI Hypo 8 1 2 Nanites (see endnote 2) Of particular note, clips of Frag Grenades, Prisms, Worms, and Non-standard bullets are almost always preferable to recycling with a reasonable PSI, no matter what difficulty you're on. PSI Hypos are also relatively profitable, but why would you transumte them? You'd have to transmute 4 hypos only to buy another anyway. Everything else seems to not be worth the effort except on lower difficulties with some combination of Pharmo-Friendly and/or Replicator Expert. In fact, at Normal difficulty with PSI 10 and Pharmo-Friendly or Replicator Expert, everything is profitable and superior to Recycling. If you don't have PSI of 10, you should either wait or use Molecular Transmutation on Frags and Prisms, as otherwise you'll most likely just lose Nanites over the alternative (I highly recommend running your own variables through the equation so you don't screw yourself). ======================================================================= ======================================================================= 14. Final Notes [F00] ----------------------------------------------------------------------- 14a. Conclusion/Special Thanks [F10] Kudos go out to DSimpson (for his excellent guides). Without DSimpson, I never would've felt compelled to try to write something as awesome as his. A moment of silence for Looking Glass Studios. May you rest in peace. A hats off to Irrational Games. May you have many years of prosperity ahead of you. (Addendum: judging from how well BioShock is doing, guess they've got it made.) Thanks to all the hardcore SS2 fans that have made it possible for me to continue my unhealthy obsession after upgrading to Windows XP (and then as I moved to Gentoo Linux). ----------------------------------------------------------------------- 14b. Resources [F20] ttlg.org - An excellent resource for anything you could ever want for anything related to Looking Glass Studios. At the very least, they have links to stuff that will let you run System Shock 2 on a newer OS. Special thanks to d00m from ttlg.org for feeding me some cool info on the Crystal Shard and Adrenaline Overproduction. shocked - A system shock 2 editing tool I used to extract some non-obvious information. System Shock 2: Prima's Official Strategy Guide - an uncanny example of a thorough, well-done official guide. Lots of non-obvious information is in this book (such as changes made to the game after the manual was made and not mentioned in the readme), and this was the source for the Molecular Transmutation equation and all the enemy stats. ----------------------------------------------------------------------- 14c. Endnotes and References [F30] Assume that non-obvious information not noted by endnote is information that I've researched myself. If you feel that I have erroneously not cited something within the guide, please let me know by e-mail (I may have missed something as the citations were done retroactively, after 150k worth of text was written). (1) http://www.ttlg.com/forums/showthread.php?p=1186168#post1186168 courtesy of d00m. (2) Equation and Table from Official Strategy Guide, pp 72-73, though several entries were incorrect and were manually fixed. (3) Damage Table from Official Strategy Guide, p 81. ----------------------------------------------------------------------- 14d. My Works [F40] 1999 Mode Guide (Bioshock Infinite) Clash in the Clouds Guide (Bioshock Infinite: Clash in the Clouds DLC) Heart of Fury Guide (Icewind Dale 2) Party Creation Guide (Baldur's Gate) Party Creation Guide (Baldur's Gate: Enhanced Edition) Populous II Guide (Populous II) Thief Guide (Baldur's Gate 2) Ultimate Analysis (System Shock 2) Ultimate Oblivion FAQ (The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion) ----------------------------------------------------------------------- 14e. Legal Disclaimer [F50] I am not affiliated with Looking Glass/Irrational/EA in any way, and any information I provide should be treated as third party information. Therefore, Looking Glass/Irrational/EA cannot be held responsible for any misuse of information provided herein, and I cannot give a full guarantee that the information provided herein is 100% accurate. Therefore, no party, that is, Looking Glass/Irrational/EA/Me, cannot be held responsible for any problems that may result in the misuse of information or use of faulty information; the best reparation that can be made in the latter case would be for me to correct the faulty information so that it is accurate. In addition, you (the party reading this) are free to distribute this work freely on the internet and in any other media as long as credit is given to the original author (Chris Lee). ----------------------------------------------------------------------- 14f. History [F60] 08/08/2013: v 1.12 completed (minor). - Updating my works. 10/27/2011: v 1.11 completed. - Added section highlight my works. 7/13/2008: v 1.10 completed. - Fixed more typos. - Fixed Grenade Launcher clip size. - Revised Fusion Cannon assessment. - Added Fusion Cannon modification information. - Updated Stasis Field Generator assessment. - Revised Heavy Weapons synopsis. - Clarified WormHeart description (you can still have Toxins put into your bloodstream) - Formatted PSI/Technical/Impossible sections for greater uniformity and readability. 7/08/2008: v 1.9 completed. - Fixed various typos. - Found some errors in the transmute table. - Updated Special Thanks section. - Fixed a typo with WormBlood (should be 10 not 15 Health). - Reformatted Impossible section. - Fleshed out OS path suggestions. 7/06/2008: v 1.8 completed. - Fleshed out Impossible section. - Fixed some various typos. - Expanded some sections. - Added some modification info for Fusion Cannon (more forthcoming). 3/22/2006: v 1.6 completed. - Added some details on Crystal Shard, Adrenaline Overproduction, and Smasher. - Added Endnotes and References section as well as adding a few citations. 3/22/2006: v 1.5 completed. - Fixed some minor inaccuracies and grammatical glitches. - Fleshed out Bestiary. - Completed Molecular Transmutation appendix. - Greatly expanded all weapons sections. - Fixed some errors in Difficulties section. 3/11/2006: v 1.2 completed. - Fixed some minor inaccuracies and grammatical glitches. - Added extra stuff to Character Concepts. - Added some extra information throughout the guide. - Greatly expanded PSI section. - Greatly expanded Stats section. 3/9/2006: v 1.0 completed. - Need to complete Modify/Bestiary sections. ======================================================================= ======================================================================= The Stinger ----------------------------------------------------------------------- "With only a few short years of evolution, they've been able to conquer this starship, mankind's mightiest creation. Where were we after forty years of evolution? What swamp were we swimming around in, single celled and mindless? What if SHODAN's creations are superior to us? What will they become in a million years, in ten million years? What's clear is that SHODAN shouldn't be allowed to play God. She's far too good at it." - Prefontaine =======================================================================