Ultimately, the demo of Age of Decadence has, more than any game in a long while, left my jaw firmly planted on the floor. As an RPG player who loves deep character systems, game worlds with rich lore, nebulous and amoral situations, deep reactivity and interesting quest design, The Age of Decadence doesn't just meet the bar, it leaves some of the best and classic CRPGs in the dust. And as much as I can complain and nit-pick about what the game does or doesn't do, I find myself constantly coming back to it, just to try the same scenarios again as a different character, or to see if I can win a challenging fight, and ten times through, I'm still finding new locations, events and characters - that's the sign of a great RPG to me.
Contrary to how most cRPGs work, taking the combat route in The Age Of Decadence is likely the hard path. Succeeding in skill checks is easy, but killing all those fuckers, thatís where the real challenge awaits. And the game isnít shy about it, odds are, your very first combat encounter will already tell you that combat in AoD means serious business. To get a character whoís truly capably to win every combat encounter in AoD youíll probably need to dedicate yourself to combat skills entirely and even then maintain a narrow focus, not spreading your skill points too thin. Of course that means, having sub-par social skills, you'll likely be unable to solve quests in non-violent ways to begin with, with perhaps the exception of an Intimidate check every now and then, because your bodycount number factors into Intimidate checks.
Again, I can only repeat: In my opinion the combat is the highlight of the game and the most fun part. Perhaps it has something to do with the steep difficulty, but when you finally manage to eradicate the Raiderís camp or the Aurelian outpost it feels like a genuine achievement.
As far as I'm concerned, few RPGs are able to provide a good combat experience. Usually it is either a click-fest, or some sort of a tedious exercise in micromanagement. However, after battling a number of foes in the AoD's arena, I was vastly impressed with what I saw. Time will tell whether the rest of the game will turn out to be equally as good, but if combat is any indication, we are going to be in for a real treat when it is released. Do not take my word for it though. I suggest you download the demo and take a look for yourself. If you are a lover of RPGs you owe yourself that much.
First impression, the art is gorgeous and served with an excellent music. The quest are, praise heaven, original and not centered about killing rats in a basement, no they are more like what you will receive in real pen and paper game, i am not going to spoil them but they offer many choices to resolves them and that for each of the "paths".
Many of the choices are relevant, the story and character motives are coherent and believable. More important the writing is mature and directed to a crowd of adult, its a gritty post apolyptic world, no error there. Truly an enjoyable rpg and combat experience, two thumbs up!
"TEXT-ADVENTURE" STYLE IS FUCKING AWESOME! Fuck the teleporting-criticism, I'm on your fucking ship, and I'll sail it into the maw of hell defending it. There is variety, you have a sense that your choices affect the course of the mini-plots within the quest-lines in a major way, and maybe most important: You always have the sense that maybe you could've done better. In a game about choice, what you did not choose matters as much as the choice you did make. It is true that the skill choices sometimes actually "deny" choice because they are obviously better, but meh. It is a small problem compared to how much fun I'm having with it.
Maybe I'm a bright-eyed youngster, but I think Age of Decadence does the "amoral world" thing better than most RPGs. It makes things very clear early on that life is brutal, and success depends on your ability to fend for yourself and manipulate or destroy others. I got a sense that I was rising through the ranks of society, while at the same time leaving others at the bottom in my wake, and I also got the sense just about every other NPC was trying to do the same.
I spent like the whole day playing and replaying this with different characters. This is like 20 different games in one with the insane amount of choice you get and it's very cool how, no matter who or how you play, you're just one link in this story made up of six or seven chains. Play the game as a mercenary and then play it as a loremaster or praetor. It's a totally different experience.
I'll try to have a decent article in a day or two. People should play this!!
I'm usually the complaining type, never really satisfied with anything... Surprisingly enough, what I'm seeing in AoD so far, is just melting my ice cold heart. Hell, your game is just stomping my big ass so hard that the troll inside of me is humiliated. Man, I feel even more humiliated writing this post, cause I really hate sounding like a dumbass fan, praising devs like that. But still, a dumbass fan is propably what AoD turned me into.
Your game reminds me A LOT of the golden era of cRPGs that inspires me and makes me dream. It has the flavor of RPGs that I have grown with and therefore nostalgia is putting an "Alea jacta est" spell on me. Return To Krondor, Fallout, Baldur's Gate, Arcanum, Planescape: Torment, TTOEE, that's the kind of great games I sense when I see the depth and the quality of AoD. I really have lost faith to see the revival of true old fashioned RPGs and AoD restored that faith (AoD,along with Spiderweb Software, upcoming Brian Fargo's Wasteland 2 and Almost Human's Grimrock, in fact). And I really can't complaint about tiny features when the achievement is so great overall.
...for me personally, the game is a fucking destroyer! In order to please me, you'll just have to SHUT UP AND TAKE MY MONEY!
A few days from now I hadn't even heard about Age of Decadence, which is most likely because I wasn't expecting games like this (read: old school CRPG's with excellent dialogue and actual role playing) to be made in this day and age.
I've waited for a game like this since Arcanum: Of Steamworks and Magick Obscura, maybe even since Planescape: Torment and Fallout.
There's not much to complain about really. I love the constant status checks, that the combat is punishing but fair and the great setting.
I'll place a $50 donation this monday. Keep up your excellent work.
It amazes me that simply switching from one sword to another has a huge effect on how combat plays out. I honestly don't think I've ever even seen another system like this that pays such close attention to the distinct differences that weapon types have from one another and represents it with something other than a damage range. In most RPGs, daggers are the game's way of punishing you for not playing a fighter. In AoD they're a deadly weapon that should not be underestimated. Twas not the +14 Flaming Icy Greatsword of Windwater Mountain that slew Caesar, but the humble knife. Veres pugionem!
I think you might be surprised at the variety of tactics available. During testing, I lagged behind many of the other testers. Sometimes I'd try, say, one of Galsiah's builds and still fail badly. If the build was the same and he could win the whole arena and I repeatedly failed halfway through, that means the choices during combat were the difference.
It took me a while to get my head in the right place. Positioning can be important, sometimes a different weapon is better (faster, rather than more outright damage, for example) and so on. It's more subtle than most games and that took some adjusting for me.
Combat is fantastic. Very nicely tactical in equipment choice, attack choice, and positioning. Different choices seem to have significant impact on outcomes. Top notch.
The atmosphere is fantastic. Very compelling, very nicely implemented. I was planning on buying the game anyway, but if I wasn't, these first two points would have sold me.
I really enjoyed the demo and I'm impressed as heck by all of it. I'm desperately interested to see how the full game contextualizes everything. Praise praise, praise, praise praise.
So, I beat it. It was very fun. Lots of tactical variety even with the somewhat simple build I made. I wasn't sure how well I'd do since I haven't really played any challenging tactical combat games, or if I'd end up hating it because it was too much for me; but that definitely wasn't the case. I had a blast. The opponents were definitely varied and showed off the combat well. I also like how everyone has the same general amount of hit points. Makes everyone seem mortal. Challenging opponents are instead challenging because of their armor and their block/dodge skill, as well as their ability to circumvent your own. Other developers should take notes.
The video really, really doesn't do this justice. It's honestly not a game that's very fun to watch, because you can't possibly get a grasp of the depth of the combat system by watching a video like this. It also seems incredibly slow until you play it yourself and realise you're constantly trying to come up with new tactics to fill in the blanks between hits and misses.
Of course you do have to appreciate turn-based combat and can't be expecting something fast and furious. It's not an action RPG. But you'd be surprised what kind of tactical depth they've put into a single person turn-based game. Forget Fallout, I've played both Fallout and this demo extensively and can say without a doubt that this is a lot more fun, deep, and balanced than Fallout's combat ever was.
All of the weapon types are fundamentally different. Changing character builds around changes how you approach the combat entirely. You've got so many different options within a single build that figuring everything out will take you a while. It's HARD but, most of the time, FAIR hard. If you're failing you're probably doing something fundamentally wrong, and adjusting your strategy will help you along.
The game's combat is pretty intense, and I certainly recommend this demo to anyone ? I've just blew two whole days on this! That is more that I've spent with most modern games recently.
By the way, utilizing aimed shots is really useful, and the more annoying when AI does this on YOU. When you disregard defense for all-out attack, and enemies begin getting high hit chances with aimed shots, expect to be fucked. For instance, "archer + swordsman" combat becomes absolutely annoying due to archer pinning your legs down with his arrows, you cannot get to his lightly armored ass for some sweet retribution ? and the swordsman guy keeps disarming you and gets aimed shot on your body for armor penetration.
Combat with triarii is also pure hell ? guy with a hammer will often knock you down, axewielder will spell death for any shield user due to his ability to sunder shields, and the leader with a huge twohander will simply kill you in three powerful hits if you will let him hear you.
As for the final (if optional) combat with 6 imperial guards... I can but say "good luck", because I ONCE managed to kill 5 of them with my hammer/shield build, but the axewielder destroyed my shield and chopped me down.
Yet, let me restate, this demo gave me a HUGE amount of fun ? moreso them some "finished products".
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The Age of Decadence is an isometric, turn-based, single-player 3D role-playing game set in a low magic, post-apocalyptic fantasy world, inspired by the fall of the Roman Empire. The game features a detailed skill-based character system, non-linear gameplay, multiple skill-based ways to handle quests, choices & consequences, and extensive dialogue trees.
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"That kind of thing is common here. Conspiracies and assassinations and naked power-grabs. All the fun of decadence."
- Glen Cook, The Black Company