So earlier today I started up GF 4 demo and gave it a look. It’s similar to the previous games, but of course has some new features.

For those not familiar with the series, it deals with the Shapers, people who have the ability to create life. It’s a bit like summoning, although more detailed than just calling up a critter.

The Shapers are at war with a combined group of anti-Shaper humans and intelligent creations who don’t appreciate slavery. When the game starts, this war has been going on for awhile, and your character has joined the rebel (anti-Shaper) side.

You start by choosing a class, of which there are five, all cookie-cutters. The old Guardian class (tank with some shaping ability) has become the Warrior. The Agent (fighting and magic) is now Infiltrator. Shapers (heavy shaping and some magic) are now Lifecrafters.

To these have been added the Shock Trooper (heavy magic and fighting) and the Servile (intelligent creation with fighting abilities). I have to wonder about putting in Serviles, as they are very close to Warriors. Indeed, they have exactly the same stats and most skills are the same, too.

Everyone can do everything – all skills are open – but of course, each class is best in its strong area. For all that, it’s obvious that either some magic or some shaping is going to be necessary; concentrating on just one area is likely to make difficulties farther along.

By the way, gender is fixed here. Shock Troopers and Infiltrators are female; Warriors and Lifecrafters are male. As for Serviles, well, they wear hoods and might be anything, maybe even asexual.

You begin at level 1 with 15 skill points to allocate. They can be used to bump up stats (expensive) and the various skills. Each level afterwards, you receive five points to dole out. This is not always on a one-for-one basis; most skills cost 2 or more points to increase.

Combat, you may be pleased to know, is turn-based, using an action point system. You have 8 points, and as attacking (weapon or spell) requires 5, it may not sound like much. However, a high dex and a skill called Quick Action can increase this. They also determine how soon you can move in a fight.

After a quick look at all five classes, I’ve decided to try a Shock Trooper for the moment. The game begins with a landing on a beach; you’re being taken to an ultra-secret rebel hideout.

Only not so secret; soon after landing, the little party comes under attack. There’s nothing to do but run. In fact, you run a couple of times until you make it inside the fortress, while party members drop like flies.

Then you get sent upstairs to the Geneforge, after which you go through some training. This is all part of a tutorial, although you can die anywhere here, including back at the beach, if you’re not careful.

You get to make a creation, learn a few spells, and do some easy combat. I’m glad it was easy, as all my character has at the moment are a rusty dagger, a baton (shoots thorns, of which I have few), some javelins, and trash body armor.

That’s about where I am now. The training is about to end, and after that, the deluge. An attack is expected any time now on the (not so) secret base. I hope I make it out alive.