Geneforge 2 – Infestation review: bold and great like Baldur’s Gate | Gaming.

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Like the good works of Calvin Klein, these genes come pre-distressed. Geneforge 2 – Infestation is fresh from the rack, yet looks and functions like the CRPGs of the late 1990s. Where most isometric throwbacks these days offer a forced perspective over 3D scenes, Geneforge 2 is the real deal – its flat character sprites gliding across tiled backgrounds, with the elegant shuffle of Shōgun-era ladies-in-waiting.

This look is less a nostalgic affectation than it is simply practical. Geneforge 2, like all of Jeff Vogel’s games, was made in the spare bedroom of his Seattle home with the help of his wife, Mariann Krizsan – plus a handful of artists spread more broadly. It’s the latest in a long line of low-budget Spiderweb Software RPGs to achieve sprawling scale and reactivity by leaning on cost-effective and old-fashioned production values. Here there is no voice acting, nor any ambient noise that cannot be sourced from royalty-free soundbanks. In pastoral areas of the map, the impression of grazing livestock is conveyed entirely through a free sound effect called ‘Eating a rusk.wav’.

Image credit: Rock Paper Shotgun/Spiderweb Software

As a result, Geneforge 2 feels a bit cheap to begin with. In the moments where atmospheric bird squawks and…

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