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[Review] dmc's Age of Decadence Review

Low Spoiler review of Age of Decadence

  1. dmc

    dmc Speak softly and carry a big briefcase Staff Member Distinguished Member ★ SPS Account Holder Resourceful Adored Veteran New Server Contributor [2012] (for helping Sorcerer's Place lease a new, more powerful server!)

    Dec 13, 2001
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    dmc submitted a new resource:

    dmc's Age of Decadence Review - No Spoiler review of Age of Decadence

    Read more about this resource...
  2. Arkite

    Arkite Crash or crash through Torment: Tides of Numenera SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

    Feb 6, 2010
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    This might be a bit rambling, but I just wanted to say that this game came out of nowhere, grabbed me by the throat and did not let go.

    Apparently I'd always wanted to play an RPG set after the decline/fall of the Roman empire, I just never knew it before AoD.

    I find it difficult to liken the atmosphere/setting to any other, because at the same time it is a semi-historical setting, you also have ruins of other empires/civilisations that have come before, and desperate times leading to desperate measures, every man is out for himself, the rise of mysticism and ignorance leads to people hoarding artifacts both 'magical' and historical, while elite former soldiers of annihilated houses end up fighting in arenas or resorting to common banditry to survive.

    The game really does a good job of making you feel like you're living in the end of days (made me wonder if people living through the fall of the Roman empire, with the barbarian invasions etc, might have thought their world was ending), you need to make use of everything you have to survive, in fact, let me use an example...

    If you can remember the suspense as you pulled off the double/triple cross with the dragon eggs in the drow city in Baldur's Gate 2, while you raced against time before you were figured out (and killed)... there is a lot of that kind of suspense to be found in AoD. You can play politics the entire game, you can just try and make a fortune and buy your way past obstacles, you can try to scam or fool everyone you meet, and of course you can be an assassin, a thief, a thug or just a soldier/merc. I just want to point out though that while a lot of games claim you have freedom, or claim you can do things any manner of ways, AoD actually delivers for a change. The best example of this is probably playing as a grifter, RPGs have let you scam or lie depending on moral choices before, but for the grifter, the con is an artform.

    (very mild plot optional spoiler ahead)

    While your conventional options when approaching a man trying to preach to a non-receptive crowd would be things like, join in with the crowd's jeering, throw rocks at the man, have a philosophical debate... the grifter has the skill to convince this preacher that the chosen one stands before him. When I managed to string together the dialogue options to pull this feat off, then dispatched the preacher to send word of my greatness to others, I thought it would just be a one-off thing, little did I know that I had taken my first steps down the path of being a kind of con-man messiah.

    (end spoiler)

    Combat in the game is turn based and appears basic, but like the rest of the game you can use a lot of tricks to your advantage. You can bring along bombs, oil, poisons, nets, bolas and other things to tilt things in your favour. After disabling an opponent you can then move in for locational damage, attacking specific body parts yields specific weaknesses and vulnerabilities, and depending on the weapons and abilities you are using you can further your advantage by applying bleeding.

    Graphically the game really shows that it has been in development for over ten years, I found the ruins and areas further into the game to look better than the earliest small towns, but overall we're still talking about just plain old technology.

    As far as sound goes, the music to me seemed to fit like a glove, though some scores did seem short, and if/when they end up repeating themselves they can get on the nerves. The game has no voice acting, which I found to be a bit of a relief, as having played a few smaller games recently, I know bad voice acting is far worse than no voice acting.

    If you liked dialogue checks in RPGs you've played before, you'll be in heaven in AoD, as there are dialogue checks possible for virtually every ability, for every class, in almost every situation. That is to say, this is a game where you can be a dialogue assassin or a combat assassin, or both if you're careful.

    I want to add my own disclaimer to the other disclaimers out there about this game though, if you don't start out as a thug/soldier/merc (believe me, start as a soldier/merc, learn the game, save a lot, but still don't think you can win every fight or get your way in every situation, this game is different), you'll probably end up stuck/unable to beat the game. The game is simple enough to pick up, but there is a lot to learn, and while you can be a jack of all trade kind of character setup, it is something you'll need to know a lot about the game to make work.

    Overall though, I was very pleased with the game, got about 80-odd hours of enjoyment out of it, and would especially recommend it for the person who liked talking their way out of situations in RPGs and always wanted more of that kind of gameplay, people who like exploring ruins of civilisations (or living in one) or people who just played a lot of total war: Rome, and always kind of wanted to play an RPG in a similar setting.
    Taluntain likes this.
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