Yes, Geneforge 5 Windows version came out a little sooner than anyone expected. Even Jeff ;). It’s been available since last Thursday (2/19), but I waited a few days to be sure there were no major problems with the release. So far, it looks to be clean, so I grabbed it this morning.

Continuing the theme of previous games, the Shapers and rebels are still at war. In fact, they’re reached a bloody deadlock, with neither side having an advantage. Of course, my character will be changing all that, no doubt.

There are six classes for the rebels: Warrior, Shocktrooper, Lifecrafter, Infiltrator, Servile, and Sorceress. On the shaper side, there are only three, familiar from earlier games: Shaper, Agent, and Guardian.

The Sorceress is new. She’s a sort of reverse Lifecrafter. The Lifecrafter is strong on making creations and middling with magic. The Sorceress is strong on magic and middling with creations. Neither is especially good at physical combat. Currently, I’m trying out a Sorceress.

Naturally, GF5 is turn-based, with the usual Action Points determining how much you can do on your turn. So far as I can tell, things haven’t changed since the last GF in most regards.

After an RTFM refresher, I had no trouble moving around or interacting in the game. Combat, talking, grabbing stuff – it was all the same as before. A minute or two in, and I didn’t need any of those tutorial pop-ups.

That’s one thing I’ve wished for in these Spiderweb productions: a way to turn off those annoying messages. They’re good for new players, but experienced ones hardly need them.

Speaking of annoying, there is one change I don’t like. The mini-map used to sit quietly in a corner out of the way. Now it sits on the main screen, and blocks part of the view. The map can be dragged around to different positions, but some part of the main screen is still obscured.

The map can be closed, but then, of course, you can’t see your relative position in the area. I don’t know why Jeff did it this way, but I consider it a bad choice.

Moving to the game itself, regardless of starting with a rebel character, I was in a Shaper facility. And, most annoying of all, Morgana was afflicted with that horrible, awful, hoary old chestnut, the “A” word: amnesia.

Yeah, that condition. Personally, I expected better than this. In any case, going through the first area (also the tutorial portion, as usual), some of her skills return. But her memory is still fogged.

Worse, she’s at the mercy of a Shaper called Rawal, who has implanted a living tool in her chest. If Morgana steps out of line, well, that would be quite painful, even lethal.

So right now, she’s stuck doing jobs for Rawal. No doubt, there is a way to rid her of this thing, and maybe even take out Rawal. That will likely require a bit of doing.

I’m playing the demo portion, which is the first ten areas; there are more than eighty overall. Since I’ve already been in three locations, I suspect I’ll be through the demo in a couple of days or so. Then I’ll see if it’s worth buying. In the meantime, back to the tunnels.