|Genre: Adventure & RPG|
|Min OS X: Any Version RAM: 50 MB Hard Disk: 150 MB Graphics: 1024x768 @ 16-bit|
Alright, I'll come right out and admit it: I am a Spiderweb Software addict. Spiderweb addicted me to role playing games way back in the days of Nethergate, and their consistently amazing gameplay and support for older hardware (up until recently my computer could barely handle Baldur's Gate) guaranteed that I would always come back for more.
I must also admit that whenever I review a Spiderweb game, the review always reads exactly the same way: "gameplay blew me away, sound and graphics deserve a solid meh. Buy this game!"
Enter Geneforge 4, Spiderweb's latest sprawling shareware RPG. In some ways, Geneforge 4 follows the time-honored Spiderweb tradition: incremental graphical improvements, a whole new adventure, and amazingly good gameplay. Fortunately, however, Geneforge 4 has more incremental improvements than past games in the series, making it stand out more than usual from the Spiderweb canon. Quite simply, this is the best Spiderweb RPG that I have played, bar none. Avernum 4 was a lot of fun, but for a number of reasons Geneforge 4 is much more satisfying.
The universe of the Geneforge games has always been an intriguing one, thanks to its mix of fantasy and science fiction themes into a unique experience that you simply can't find elsewhere. Within the world of Geneforge, there is a powerful sect of people known as Shapers who have the ability to create and modify life. Thanks to the power of shaping, Shapers essentially rule the world, using their creations and magic to exert control over the run-of-the-mill humans.
However, in past games in the series humans and some of the more intelligent creations revolted against the Shapers, attempting to forge lives of their own outside of Shaper hegemony. Using the power of a new tool called the Geneforge, creations gave themselves the power to use magic and even to shape other creations in order to fight the Shapers. Unsurprisingly, the Shapers weren't particularly happy with this and tried their best to quash the rebellion.
As Geneforge 4 opens you find yourself a new recruit of the rebellion on your way to use a Geneforge to reshape yourself into a lifecrafter (the rebel term for someone who can shape). Unfortunately, things are not going particularly well for the rebellion and you quickly find yourself pursued by Shaper creations (that have not been seen in previous games, excitingly enough) to a rebel stronghold that is on the verge of falling to the Shapers.
From that point you are free to make your mark on the world. Will you allow yourself to be wooed by the powerful Shapers into betraying the rebellion, or will you lash out against the Shaper aggressors? The choices that you make throughout the game have a very real effect on the game, and there are a number of different endings that you can achieve based on who you choose to help during the rest of the game.
If you are looking for a lengthy game with excellent replayability, Geneforge 4 delivers in spades.