REVIEW: The Age of Decadence

Tuesday, June 21st, 2016

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oprainfall | The Age of Decadence
Title The Age of Decadence
Developer Iron Tower Studio
Publisher Iron Tower Studio
Release Date October 14th, 2015
Genre Indie, RPG
Platform PC (Steam)
Age Rating N/A
Official Website

In The Age of Decadence you are dropped into a post-apocalyptic, Roman themed world. The game gives you a lot of customization options for creating your character, such as their background (which determines how you fit into the world, and your reputation within each of its factions). There are also a number of skills and stats that determine how well you can survive in said world, among other things. But the world is very unforgiving, and you will often find yourself lying in a growing pool of your own blood, wondering what you did wrong. Can you survive, or is this your ultimate fate?

The main idea behind the game sounds quite cool. Create your character, and then dive into a world full of quests and branching story paths. While there are many choices, especially in dialog with NPCs, the game quickly starts to feel constrictive. In many cases you have two or three dialog options and that’s it. There are often more possible options, but they are unavailable if you don’t meet the stat requirements for them. Often these options are simply not displayed when you don’t meet their criteria, so there is also no way to know what other options are there or what the criteria are if you don’t currently meet them. In this way, the stat checks in dialog and elsewhere play a large role in determining what you can and can’t do at any given time.

The Age of Decadence | Character Creation

Initial character creation.

First, you get to name your character and set up his/her physical appearance and their background. The options on the right in the screenshot above are all fairly self-explanatory. On the left, you can select your background. The Faction Reputation box on the lower left shows your reputation among the various factions in the game world. You cannot edit these as they are affected by which background you choose. Your background also affects where you start in the game world, and which parts of the game’s overall story you can potentially see in your current play-through.

Once you’ve finished with the basic setup for your character, it’s time to setup your skills and stats. These are also partially affected by the background you chose.

The Age of Decadence | Character Stats

Setting up your character’s stats.

This screen shows your character’s name and background at the very top. Below that you have your six main stats. Directly under each it displays that stat’s effect. Your skill points are already distributed based on the background you chose. However, you can remove a point from a stat by clicking the – button for that stat. Then click the + button on a stat to add that point into it. This way, you can redistribute your stat points if you wish. On the left, you can see how many unused stat points are still available, as well as your current Attack and Defense ratings based on your current stat/skill setup.

The lower left just shows your reputation with the various factions of the game world again, but just to the right are two more panes to fiddle with. They are your Combat Skills and Civil Skills. The upper right of each of these panes shows unused skill points that you can distribute into your skills as you wish. Each skill has its own effect and some skills can even affect other skills. Choosing how to distribute your stat and skill points carefully is very very important in The Age of Decadence, especially since skill points are a bit overly hard to come by. This leads us into some of the problems with The Age of Decadence, but we’ll get to that in a minute.

The Age of Decadence | Loremaster Starting Area.

An apprentice Lore Master character at his master’s abode.

As you can see in the screenshot above, you have a mouse cursor that looks like a knife. You can right click a spot on the ground to walk there. If a door is in the way, you must click on that first to get your character to walk up to it and open it before he will be able to walk into the next room. Clicking in the next room before opening the door has no effect. By left clicking, your cursor is also used to tell your character to interact with objects like doors, lootable objects (like chests and drawers), and objects you can examine. When you’re not in dialog, most of your gameplay time is spent walking around from point A to point B doing quests, or simply exploring the world.

Depending on your character’s skills, you may be able to craft items or potions. Your armor and weapons are very important as they also affect your abilities in battle. Heavier armor can give penalties to some of your stats since moving around in heavy armor is more difficult and certainly makes you a bit less agile. Combat is very risky in The Age of Decadence, and can very easily lead to your untimely death if you’re not careful or your character is not set up well for combat. It is possible to play through The Age of Decadence without engaging in combat, but combat can arise from certain dialog choices and not just from wandering up to a hostile character.

More Decadence on Page 2 ->

About Michael Fontanini

Michael is a veteran gamer in my early 30s, who grew up around video games, with fond memories of the oldies like the NES and SNES. He loves Nintendo but also plays a lot of games on his PC. Michael also enjoys going for walks or bike rides, and loves animals.

Michael is also a computer programmer. This started with a toy he got as a kid called PreComputer 1000 that was made by V-Tech. It had a simple programming mode which is what started him down the road of being a programmer! Michael can program in BASIC, Visual Basic, C++, C#, and is familiar with Java and Lua Script.

Putting programming and gaming together, Michael became a hobbyist game developer which may give him some good insights on game development! Most recently, he has been playing with the free version of the Unity engine (a powerful and easy-to-use game engine).

I love Nintendo but I also play a lot of game's on PC, many of which are on steam. My favorite Nintendo game's include Zelda, Metroid, and Smash Bros to name a few. On PC I love the Half-Life games, as well as most all of the Source Engine games just to name a few.

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