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It's what happens because of the boats.You have all this equipment and items that you are carrying around for crafting, extra pods and spores, etc. that you might want later in the game, but are too heavy to carry around and occupy too many slots to shift between docks in one trip.

 

It's true you don't need to go back to earlier islands once you reach certain places where you can buy things, but those items.

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I mean, the only flaw was that I couldn't travel everywhere directly. If that was ironed out so that I would automatically take any boats needed, I think the boat feature was a great thing to implement.  I like the idea that I clear one island and move on to the next.  The only other game that provided anywhere close to that sense of direction was Geneforge 4

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Avernum 2 and especially 5 both hove going sown river with 5 making you keep going through new territory to reach the endgame goal. Geneforge 4 and 5 both forced opening up new area before you could decide on the ending although 4 you could force yourself into a corner that you really couldn't do one ending.

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It was a thing of its time. It sacrificed some convenience for the sake of immersion. Back in the day this was not particularly looked down upon, but as the gaming industry advances, higher and higher standards are set, and small grievances start seeming more and more terrible.

The boats were a novel idea, and at the time of release I don't think they had a truly notable negative impact, but time has not been, and will not be kind to them.

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There was a pretty negative reaction to them on release here, anyway. Walking to and from the boats is a prime example of "sandwich time" - which is something that Jeff had somewhat recently written about critically, IIRC.

 

I'm not sure you can call anything about the boats immersive, either.  They were arguably the worst art asset in the game, and since the world map lets you skip from zone to zone without needing to be immersed in walking between them, it didn't make any sense that you had to walk to and from a boat. Especially since the boat travel itself was also non-existent.

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4 hours ago, Personal Injury Doily said:

I'm not sure you can call anything about the boats immersive, either.  They were arguably the worst art asset in the game, and since the world map lets you skip from zone to zone without needing to be immersed in walking between them, it didn't make any sense that you had to walk to and from a boat. Especially since the boat travel itself was also non-existent.

 

I have to say two things: 

- I agree with the above quote 

- Yes, you are the only one that doesn't dislike the boats. :)

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19 hours ago, Personal Injury Doily said:

snip

To clarify, I'm saying that I believe the boats were placed into the game to begin with for immersion. I can't see a reason to do it programming-wise as big singular maps worked fine for all other games. The second point is that on release, the boats were seen as a stain on an otherwise nice game, while with the passage of time it shifts more and more to the boats ruining the game, as the value of convenience in games increases.

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7 hours ago, PerishedFraud said:

on release, the boats were seen as a stain on an otherwise nice game, while with the passage of time it shifts more and more to the boats ruining the game, as the value of convenience in games increases.

I just don't think this is true.  If you look at what people said about G3 and boats closer to release, and what they say about it now... I'm honestly not sure there's much of a difference.

 

The same things people like or hate about G3 today, like the absolutism of the forced choices, were hot topics then, too.  The boats were described in similar terms then and now.  Certainly I've never seen anyone say that the boats single-handedly "ruin" the game.  I think your take on this greater trend of convenience is interesting, but I'm not sure why the reaction to G3's boats are being forcefully shoved into that pattern.

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Posted (edited)

Oh, the absolutism of choices... I think you finally nailed what was kinda bugging me with GF3. 

 

EDIT: Nah, I still think it was the way the Rebels were presented. It is no secret that I have no love for the Shapers and I prefer the anti-Shaper factions from all geneforge games... except GF3. 

Edited by alhoon
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Posted (edited)
17 hours ago, Personal Injury Doily said:

I just don't think this is true.  If you look at what people said about G3 and boats closer to release, and what they say about it now... I'm honestly not sure there's much of a difference.

 

The same things people like or hate about G3 today, like the absolutism of the forced choices, were hot topics then, too.  The boats were described in similar terms then and now.  Certainly I've never seen anyone say that the boats single-handedly "ruin" the game.  I think your take on this greater trend of convenience is interesting, but I'm not sure why the reaction to G3's boats are being forcefully shoved into that pattern.

Aruging about how much the trend of convenience ties to G3 (or spiderweb itself) is a whole topic in itself, with other entries such as equip-only encumberance and the junk bag being notable. However there's no greater reason for my mentioning of it beyond it being true in my eyes. It also has little to do with the choices in G3 which are just a flat out writing issue. It's worth pointing out that, while placing the boats in the game was always a bad decision, it was, as I see it, not important enough to reconsider their addition. Meanwhile, doing such an addition today would be a silly move indeed. It's a hard situation to explain and perhaps my reasoning for it is misplaced, but the situation is still there, however elusive. Perhaps players' opinions have come to matter more these days?


Or it could just be a matter of history. With every year we have more and more games to look at and mistakes to learn from, including the boats themselves.

Edited by PerishedFraud
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Geneforge 3 was my first Geneforge experience. Without the other games to compare it to, the island system actually brought a more immersive environment to the game, at least for me. It was a sort of limited linearity that worked well for that specific storyline, but doesn't compare well with the rest of the series. The pragmatic issues that the boat system creates are a pain, but I never really noticed them until I moved onto other installments in the series. In my blissful ignorance, I probably played through that game more than 20 times before ever experiencing any of the other Geneforge games.

 

After playing the rest of the series, Geneforge 3 actually still remains near the top of my "favorites" list. Yes, it has awkward mechanics, limited (and extreme) dialogue options, not much innovation from Geneforge 2, and more typos than any of the other Spiderweb Software games I have encountered. But one of the reasons I love it so much is actually due to its extremism: you have to choose between two terrible options. With the horror that the war ultimately becomes, how else could the rebellion have begun? How much worse could Shaper society have become to make that necessary? It feels very real in that sense. I hope that it is remade soon, and when it is, it retains its extreme two-faction system. Let people feel bad over the choices they have to make for what they perceive as the greater good. 

 

The dialogue, however: I'm fully in agreement here. Just because you have to ultimately choose between two equally extreme factions doesn't mean the dialogue should reflect that. I want to have the option of picking my side without wholly committing to the dogma of whichever side I choose. Let me be conflicted over having to make a terrible decision.

 

In addition, I get especially exhausted with Alwan and Greta, whose dialogue options both reflect only a superficial engagement with the philosophy. Their internal struggles basically amount to "Hey, remember how extreme my views were at the beginning of the game? Well, now they're more extreme. You're welcome." I know that Jeff can write compelling characters who can competently wrestle with their ideologies; he's done so consistently in practically every game he's made since this one.

Frankly, I want to be able to believe that the people I'm traveling with in G3 are actually capable of becoming the people I see risking their lives for their beliefs in G4.

 

I disagree with the notion that the rebellion should be presented much more generously than they are in this game. The only way this war happens is with extremism.

 

I can't wait for Geneforge 3 to get its remake. It has so much potential to be an amazing story. I'm hoping Jeff has the opportunity to give make it the predecessor to Geneforge 4 and 5 that it deserves to be.

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Posted (edited)

I started with the Geneforge 2 demo I found on Realonearcade in 5th grade, all the way back in 2003.  My parents were a little stingy about money and it was expensive, so I didn't end up getting the full thing until I bought the series on GOG back in 2015.   Geneforge 3 has its flaws, but is super underrated.  I sympathize with the idea of rights for serviles, but I can't go along with the rebels past Geneforge 2 as they become obsessed with gaining power and shaping NEEDS restrictions.  Plus, the Shapers do seem to moderate on their ideas as the series goes on, lampshaded by that general who recruits you in Geneforge 4 who says the Shapers have reevaluated some policies in the wake of the war and mentioned having to be practical in some ways. The rebels just go further and further into insanity, mostly because of the Drakons

Edited by Superdeath25
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The issue I have with GF3 is that the way the choice is made seems ... inorganic. Artificial. I choose to be a Rebel so I do rebel quests. I don't get whispers promising me power in the dark to make me change. I simply ignore that the people I align with for cannisters have blown up my school and killed my classmates. Greta is a worse offender than Alwan here. Yes, I also sympathize with the Serviles and yes, I believe the Shaper society deserves to collapse. 
That said, I blinked my eyes and Greta went from the "let's stop those horrible rogues that kill people" of the first island to "let's support those guys and not stop the rogues" with practically zero in between. Nothing to show me internal conflict from Greta. Again: I also like the serviles and I have read the lines Greta said when we saw them suffering. But I also saw the lines from Greta when simple people were suffering by Litalia's monsters (and rightfully so) and then Greta jumps next to me to become the sidekick of Litalia's sidekick. 

 

The Rebellion didn't win my character in GF3. Someone that held the beliefs my character should have held to be a rebel (powerhungry and care about the serviles) would not be a shaper. You go from "The rebels killed practically everyone I know for the past 3 years and filled the island with monsters" to "let's join them."  with little growth in between. In GF2, you see the lies, you see how much better the Awakened are, how fiery is the passion of the Takers and... nothing good about the Bazrites or the Shapers. In GF1:M (I haven't played the original) you see what the Serviles went through and you are hitting cannisters because (at least at first) you need that power and to oppose the invaders. In GF4, the Shapers kill your friends and if you join the Shapers there are very reasonable ways to do it: Because you were intimidated by Crowly (the general in the early game) and you think they Shapers will win. Or because you see Shaila and learn AFTER the fact that you could have turned to goo by the geneforge. Or because you come to see the Shapers as the lesser of two evils (I do not, but they are presented as such). Or you remain loyal to the Rebellion and you fight for the "2nd wind" that the Unbound would give - can't make omelet without breaking eggs. 

 

Well, in GF3 the Shapers are presented very badly, but you START as a Shaper and in more than 2/3 of the game the Rebels appear to be WORSE. For the first 3rd of the game, the rebels are antagonists whether you eventually join the rebellion or not! 
And the "They go from antagonists to joining them" part happens in a very artificial way, nothing like GF4. 

 

The rebellion deserved better. 

Give us reasons to join the Rebellion, even if it comes down to "Look, we have canisters". Frankly, Lankan's part in the early game, where Litalia's answer to "can you stop sending monsters to kill my friends?!" is "No. But I can make you a monster so you can kill the monsters that I send to kill your friends" is very bizarre. 
 

 

  

1 hour ago, Superdeath25 said:

Plus, the Shapers do seem to moderate on their ideas as the series goes on, lampshaded by that general who recruits you in Geneforge 4 who says the Shapers have reevaluated some policies in the wake of the war and mentioned having to be practical in some ways. 

  

 

Crowly and Alwan do, by setting aside some of the tried-and-true but ultimately beyond-their-time dogma of the Shapers. Khysaaks get on the field before they are even stabilized or tested. Alwan spams Spawners and has Servant minds control and even spawn creations. He has Shapers doing MAJOR self-shaping with Moseh going completely gaga because of it. 

 

Shaper Kayden fills the Spire with gazers, Creations so alien that even the rebels stop making them. 

 

Rawal (that I will not call Shaper any more than I would call Greta or Monarch a Shaper) makes a geneforge and hides it in his basement. 

 

 

 

Edited by alhoon
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Posted (edited)

In Geneforge 4, my 2 Rebel playthroughs mainly happened because it is too easy to permanently alienate the Shapers and I was originally turned off from them, partially because so many of them attack you regardless of your leanings.  It was fun and I felt I was doing right at first, then came the Unbound thing, but by then, it was too late to turn back.  When I did a proper Shaper playthrough (which unfortunately involved less combat) I felt vindicated at the end, and since I avoided canister usage, I was well rewarded.  In Geneforge 2, I first did an Awakened playthrough, but later did a Barzite one.  I got RIDICULOUS amounts of power and I was treated quite well, and I was also able to clear the bonus area on this one.  But yeah, in Geneforge 3, I can only do Shaper, but I do give a few non Shaper friendly opinions here and there, and I lie about the Servile contacted by infiltrators on Dhonal's Island in order to protect him

Edited by Superdeath25
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I could wrap my head around the rebel route in Geneforge 4 from a role playing perspective... The kind of person who is willing to undergo being altered by the Geneforge probably doesn't have the risk-aversion necessary to shut down the project. It's all worth the consequences from that perspective, and, frankly, it fits with the pattern of behavior that the rebellion set in Geneforge 3.

 

Or just play as a servile... when you have that much more to lose, you'll win the war at any cost.

 

Geneforge 3, however, really only made sense from Shaper side. It would be cool to see the remake include a lot more of the conscience-numbing effects of canister abuse. Imagine this:

Spoiler

Going through the majority of the game as a Shaper, but being angered by canister madness (let's say you have used 20 or more by this point of the game) into killing Shaper Agatha instead of freeing her. Then being stripped of your rank as a Shaper by Lord Rahul and being eternally utilized by the Shapers as a weapon of war, without hope of advancement, honor, or wealth; but then Litalia re-contacts you and offers you freedom, honor, and most importantly, as many canisters as you could possibly wish for. It would make for a very different kind of choice for sure...

 

It would be especially intriguing if your first task as Lord Rahul's tool was to hunt down and kill all of Lankan's followers. Something to really kill the notion that you have any choice but to serve the most severe will of the Shapers. And it would also finally make a plausible scenario that would remotely fit the canon established by Geneforge 4.

 

 

And I agree with alhoon that the rebellion needs at least something to make it a touch more tasteful in G3. I like the extreme nature of both sides, but it would be nice to see more moderate representation within those two extremes. A few Shapers that are undyingly loyal, but hopelessly wish that there could be some social reform within the order. A few rebels that actually doubt the rightness of their cause. A handful of serviles that don't outright hate you; they just want to be free.

 

I genuinely love the way the two factions were handled in G4, though. Top-notch writing, with compelling arguments on both sides. If we had that attention to storytelling in Geneforge 3, I'd buy it 10 times over.

Edited by JDubkins
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2 hours ago, JDubkins said:

A few rebels that actually doubt the rightness of their cause. A handful of serviles that don't outright hate you; they just want to be free.

 

 

I am not talking about the justification of the Rebellion. It is more than justified in my eyes and it was from the beginning. GF4 is IMO the lowest point of the Rebellion. No, it's not THAT that I am talking about. I am talking about how a Shaper that saw everyone he knew killed by Litalia and Hoge, then he was being hounded by Litalia's monsters and attacked by Hoge... changed sides for no reason other than power to join them. 

I mean... ?!?!?!? 

 

This is not the desperate peasant boy from regions the Rebels were losing to the monsters of the Shapers, running like crazy with large magic-lighting things you have never seen before killing your friends one by one as a rebel leader tries to delay them. 

This is a Shaper apprentice that sees how awesome power the people that killed his friends yield and decides to join them. Because aside of the canisters you are not given much of a reason to join the Rebellion.

 

Sure, sure, Litalia tells you that the Shapers will lose so you better join the rebels or you will join the pile of corpses. You have no reason to believe her until 2/3 of the game. I mean, 3 apprentices stop Litalia's Spawners in the first island ... where you learn that this batpoop crazy woman didn't really care much about. It was like "wait, what? Litalia's shade was chilling here waiting when we will defeat the spawners telling us she mostly wanted to destroy the school and the monsters were just to prove to people that the Shapers can't protect them?" 

The rebels have won in that first island. Whatever side you pick, the rebels have won. You just clear the mess they left in the kitchen after cooking dinner. Litalia could have deactivated the spawners or send someone to destroy the spawners instead of wait when a bunch of apprentices she didn't kill would stop the spawners. 

Edited by alhoon
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12 hours ago, JDubkins said:

A few Shapers that are undyingly loyal, but hopelessly wish that there could be some social reform within the order.

Khyryk is by some distance the most interesting character in Geneforge 3, and more or less fits this description. (He turns out not to be quite so loyal in 4, but you can't know that at the time; within the confines of Geneforge 3, he is indeed loyal to the death- you cannot progress the game as a rebel without killing him.)

 

12 hours ago, JDubkins said:

A handful of serviles that don't outright hate you; they just want to be free.

I'm pretty sure I recall such Serviles in Stonespire, as well.

 

But- these bright spots in the writing of the game come in pretty late, after you've been brutalized and desensitized by the atrocities of the first three islands, and exposed to dozens of blander, less-interesting, more-confident characters of both sides. And then, of course- you are, for example, forced to murder Khyryk if you're playing as a rebel, as I said above, which just rubs in the mindless, brutalizing nature of the conflict. While Geneforge 3 is the starkest and most extreme of the games in its depiction of the Rebellion and the Shaper-Creation conflict, it's also, curiously, easily the least ideological. The character writing in 1-3 is middling to subpar in comparison to the writing in 4/5, but even when the characters in 1 or 2 aren't especially interesting as individuals, they're interesting in the way that they serve as avatars of their ideologies, and argue for their ideas and seek to put them into practice. In 3, 90% or more of the characters are just exhausted, unhappy people who desperately want to murder their enemies, with ideological concerns mostly thrown under the bus in favor of less-cerebral war/action stuff. Even Greta and Alwan are dull and underdeveloped, despite their screentime, as it's very clear, from the very start of the game, which side of the war each of them will end up on.

 

Fingers crossed for the remake.

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On 7/17/2021 at 1:59 AM, googoogjoob said:

The character writing in 1-3 is middling to subpar in comparison to the writing in 4/5, but even when the characters in 1 or 2 aren't especially interesting as individuals, they're interesting in the way that they serve as avatars of their ideologies, and argue for their ideas and seek to put them into practice.

I fully agree with this. I know why Geneforge 1 is considered the best of the series by a large number of people, but I personally never found it as engaging as especially the last two games I think for this very reason.

 

On 7/17/2021 at 1:59 AM, googoogjoob said:
On 7/16/2021 at 12:59 PM, JDubkins said:

A handful of serviles that don't outright hate you; they just want to be free.

I'm pretty sure I recall such Serviles in Stonespire, as well.

I'm fairly positive there weren't any such serviles in Stonespire, and I don't recall any in the game outside it either. The entire rebel route in this game is "we'll let you atone for your people's crimes by helping us, but don't expect us to like you any more for it." There is arguably two exceptions to that rule in the game; but again, only arguably. Maybe Hannah, in the school, and maybe the servile in the warrens west of Stonespire (One of the "learned" characters from an earlier game. I don't remember which one specifically). Other than those two examples, I can't even remember any character being remotely thankful for your actions on their behalf, although I confess that I played the Shaper route far more frequently than the rebel route in this game.

 

I also strongly enjoy the character of Khyryk. It's really too bad he wasn't utilized further.

Edited by JDubkins
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