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Friday, April 24, 2009

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Geneforge 5: Overthrow Reviewed
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | 9 comments

Honest Gamers has posted a new review of Spiderweb Software's Geneforge 5: Overthrow. The fifth game in the fantasy RPG series brings the saga its conclusion, allowing players to determine whether the Shapers or the rebellion will achieve victory. Honest Gamers gave the game a score of 7 out of 10.

From the review:

Overthrow is the final instalment in the Geneforge saga, which has delivered an average of almost a game a year since its inception in 2002. While the gaming world has radically changed during this time, Geneforge's internal climate has remained consistent. It's still isometric and visually primitive - though the presentation in Overthrow is vastly improved - but such matters lay outside Spiderweb's focus. This is about interactive, non-linear storytelling of the finest quality. And while its approach may be somewhat familiar to those who obsessed for weeks over the likes of Planescape: Torment, it's hugely refreshing to play something with a similar feel all these years on.

Despite being the fifth in the series, Overthrow assumes no prior knowledge of the bitter conflict between the Shapers, the Rebels and the game's various other factions. The scale of the mythos is certainly a little overwhelming to begin with, but concepts are drip-fed tantalisingly into the narrative on a regular basis, meaning even newcomers will feel right at home. Plus, any confusion makes some sort of awkward sense, given the game's setup. In a particularly cliché-ridden introduction, your character wakes to find himself the victim of terrible, crippling amnesia. It'd have been nice to see the story introduced in a different way from the seven million other RPGs that offer this opening, but at least it allows for something of a clean slate for players who've never picked up a Geneforge title before.

The writing is just lovely. Delectable passages, poetic dialogue and vivid description more than compensate for the lack of graphical detail or voice acting. Even in the narrative's blander moments, the script serves to keep you engrossed in this rich universe. Unfortunately, it's a richness that's not always conveyed in the explored locales. Even the more densely populated settlements commonly feel lifeless and artificial. This isn't a criticism of the technology, either, since similarly low-grade engines have managed just fine. The towns and villages are often clumsily designed, with little logic to the blueprints; and the majority of the citizens are faceless nobodies with nothing of interest to say. When the less derivative characters do crop up, they're fabulously portrayed - but it leaves you aching for more, and Geneforge 5 doesn't always deliver.
Check out the full review at the link provided below.

Honest Gamers: Geneforge 5 Review
Spiderweb Software
Geneforge 5
Buy Geneforge 5

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