The Geneforge game engine has been revamped in this sequel, debatably improving gameplay in some instances and making others more cumbersome to deal with. No new creations or spells are available to players in Geneforge 3, however a number of different features have been added. For instance, there are two NPCs who will join the party, interject comments upon situations, and possibly leave if the player does something they disagree with. Their names are Alwan and Greta. There has also been a new forging system added, allowing players to create powerful artifacts or enhance existing items.
Unlike the previous two games, Geneforge 3 offers only two sides to choose from in the ensuing conflict. Players cannot get very far before being forced to choose a side, although they can change sides with some success fairly late in the game if they so desire, whereas the previous games were possible to complete without ever actually taking sides.
Just like the first two Geneforge games, the player begins as an apprentice learning the arts of Shaping. But while attending school on Greenwood Isle, disaster strikes and the school is attacked. Luckily, two Shapers are ready to join his/her group and help him/her survive in the world outside.
Alwan is a loyal Shaper Guardian who has only one skill, that of using his iron sword. He is trained as a Guardian, to obey without questioning. Due to there not being anyone he is able to obey, at first he is disoriented by the attack and does not know what to do. This disturbingly mirrors the way creations are made to obey.The player can get him to join him/her group after, and only after, obtaining permission from the servant mind in the school.
Greta is a castout from the school because she started to sympathise with the Shapers' creations. She was an Agent, skilled in magic (at first only Firebolt but the player can get teachers to teach her other spells later in the game) and battle arts (also a sword). She is living in the village, outside the school, that is aptly named South End. She consents to joining the player's group without any conditions.
It is discovered that a traitor Shaper named Litalia has orchestrated this and other strikes against Shaper communities. She and others, including a former teacher at your school, believe that the Shapers are tyrannical rulers who make the lives of their creations miserable, and should be stopped by whatever means possible. The rebellion has been creating rogue spawners throughout the Ashen Isles; these are summoning creations that are causing chaos and attacking the Shapers and those who serve them. The player can choose between fighting for Litalia and her comrades, or allying with Lord Rahul and the Shapers and stifling the insurgency.
It is found that either Alwan or Greta will leave the player's group depending on which faction the player joins. Greta will leave if the player joins the Shapers due to her thinking that the player is inhumane and Alwan will leave if the player join the rebellion because he will think the player is disloyal.
Three major differences in the plot emerge here: first, and most obviously, there are only two factions, Shapers and rebels. This simplified choice greatly streamlines the progression of the plot and makes the game flow better than the others. Second, two additional characters can join the player's party, who occasionally engage the player in conversations that ground the plot and the questions and ethics behind it more firmly. Finally, and most minor, the drawn images at the beginning and end portray the user character in the artistic style of a female Agent, as opposed to an androgynous Shaper.
The two NPCs who accompany the player return as faction leaders in Geneforge 4: Rebellion. This portrays the set of moral values that they follow in their lives.
The games are played in an isometric view and feature turn-based combat. The lands are split up into small areas, which can be traveled through using a world map. During combat, each warrior gets a certain amount of action points, which are spent moving, attacking, casting spells, and using items. At the beginning of the game, the player chooses a type of Shaper to be. The three types are Shapers, Guardians, and Agents. When the player gains a level, he or she gains an amount of skill points, which can be spent on improving one or more of the character's abilities.
- Jeff Vogel, creator of the series
- Spiderweb Software, Jeff Vogel's company
- Exile series by Spiderweb Software
- Avernum series by Spiderweb Software
Other installments in the series
- Geneforge, first installment of the series
- Geneforge 2, second installment of the series
- Geneforge 4: Rebellion, fourth installment of the series
- Geneforge 5: Overthrow, final installment of the series