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Genre: Adventure & RPG
Min OS X: Any Version    RAM: 30 MB    Hard Disk: 30 MB    Graphics: 800x600 @ 16-bit

Geneforge 3
June 17, 2005 | Ian Beck

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If you have never played a Spiderweb Software game before, this is probably the time to start. By both following the well-tested formulas of past Spiderweb titles and introducing many completely new features, Geneforge III is not a role-playing game to miss.

For the uninitiated, Geneforge III takes place in the world of the Shapers, a sect of powerful magic users who have the ability to manipulate "essence" in order to create and modify life itself. This group is completely self-absorbed, holding their power close and lording it over normal folks.

And you are one of them. You pick from one of three classes within the Shaper's order: a Shaper, whose specialty is creating creatures to serve; an Agent, whose specialty is wielding magic against all comers; or a Guardian, who focuses on more traditional forms of combat. All three classes have access to all skills, but have strong and weak areas. Other skills such as Leadership (which grants more dialogue options, among other things) or Mechanical ability (which modifies how well you unlock doors and evade traps) are universal.

Unlike most Spiderweb games, the Geneforge series gives you only one character to control, and any other slots in your party have to be filled with creatures you create (or, in Geneforge III, with people whose help you enlist). Creatures can gain experience and improve their abilities, but only the primary character has the traditional array of skills to spend points on after each level. In many ways, it's like Neverwinter Nights, but with multiple henchmen who you can control and evolve as you see fit.

You move around and interact with your world through a simple point and click interface akin to Diablo II, and the gameplay takes place in real time. The only exception to this is that battle switches the game to a turn-based, action points system.

In Geneforge III you start as a Shaper apprentice (all three classes are referred to collectively as Shapers) in an island school. The game starts immediately after your school has suffered a large-scale attack. As one of the few surviving residents, you make your way out of the wreckage to find out that there are rogue creations loose all over the island, and no authoritative Shapers in reach.

Spiderweb's greatest strength in all of its games has always been the story, and so I will abstain from revealing any more and impinging on the excellent plot development within the game. Suffice it to say that your journey to find the perpetrator of your school's destruction is not going to be anywhere near as simple as a naïve and inexperienced apprentice might hope for.


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