The Age of Decadence is an isometric, turn-based, single-player 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, multiple skill-based ways to handle quests, choices & consequences, and extensive dialogue trees.
User reviews: Very Positive (162 reviews)
Release Date: Nov 14, 2013

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Early Access Game

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Note: This Early Access game is not complete and may or may not change further. If you are not excited to play this game in its current state, then you should wait to see if the game progresses further in development. Learn more

What the developers have to say:

Welcome to the Age of Decadence Early Access launch!

We’re proud to offer you the first two chapters (roughly 75% of the game) and send you on an exciting (hopefully) and one of a kind adventure.

The first two chapters have all the features of the full game and give you:

- 15 locations: two towns where all the scheming, plotting, and back-stabbing take place, raiders’ camps, an ancient tomb, a tower of the Magi in a ruined city, the Abyss, which claimed many lives, a mountain pass protecting the southern towns from the barbarians of the wastes, and more.
- Over 100 hand-crafted fights (no filler combat), 130 if you count all variations
- Over 70 quests with multiple solutions, choices, and consequences
- Over 100 characters you can talk to
- Over 350,000 words of dialogue (that would be a 1,300-page book)
- 6 mutually-exclusive questlines
- 40 different weapons, 15 different armor sets, dozens of other items (alchemical reagents, crafting components, artefacts, scrolls, throwing nets, etc)
- A lot of death screens

It’s a challenging (no, really), turn-based game with a lot of text. Its design is influenced by RPGs your grandpa used to play, where dying a lot was half the fun and the only way to learn. If you aren’t sure if this game is for you, try the demo first.

Keep in mind that even though the content is done, we’re committed to quality and will continue improving balance, optimization, and quests (based on your feedback).

We need a few months to finish the third and final chapter of the game (we’re planning to start the beta test in June 2014) and your support and suggestions will help us deliver a quality RPG. Should you have any questions or suggestions, please visit our forums at http://www.irontowerstudio.com/forum
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Recommended By Curators

"You can imagine it like one of the old fallout games with dark souls difficulty. Extremely immersive, experimental and addicting new and underrated RPG."

Recent updates View all (10)

November 7

October update - improvements, changes, and fixes

Our October update is a bit late but as you all know, better late than never is a principle we live by. The Steam build will be updated tonight - a bunch of tweaks and fixes, but no new content as Ganezzar remains our top and only priority at the moment.

So what’s taking so long, you ask?

A lot of scripting, which often takes time to figure out. It’s kind of like a puzzle. When you have tightly interwoven questlines, you often don’t have much room because what you can do in the remaining ‘quest space’ is limited by the events established by other questlines.

If you'd like to read more about Ganezzar and see some screens and concept art, click here:

http://www.irontowerstudio.com/forum/index.php/topic,5178.0.html

If you're only interested in the change log, keep reading:

Fixes:

- Killing the Inferiae demon gives you the core.
- If House Daratan prevails against the Imperial Guards, you no longer get the IG version of Teron when you go back.
- Loading a savegame inside the well chamber no longer starts the diving text adventure (you must enter the chamber again for this fix to work).
- Fixed interaction issue with debris inside the well chamber.
- Fixed money check when talking to Reggie about his militia funding.
- Added missing item icons.
- The mining outpost quest is no longer triggered again if completed.
- Fixed the combat loop when fighting the Saross prospector and he's using a crossbow.

Combat SP from fights:

- Fight with Mercato's thugs.
- Fight with Marcus Valla and his mercs.
- Fight with Cassius.
- Fight with the Inferiae demon.
- Fight with Rhaskos.
- Fight with the MG guards in TG4.
- Fight with criminals in the trial by combat.
- Fight with guards alongside Cyrus in TG6.
- All fights in AG4 (slums entrance, outside and inside temple).
- All fights in AG5 (Outside guards, Lorenza and ladies, Darista).
- All fights in AG6 (Alley, Serenas and guards, Gaelius Guards).
- First and second wave in the mountain pass (IG6).
- Fight with Daneus inside the monastery.
- Fight with Calvus and his son.
- Fight with Sennas and his guards in HD3.

Implemented Reputation:

- Bringing the ordu for House Aurelian, or failing to bring them (faction).
- Killing the Inferiae demon (combat).
- Dealing with the Maadoran preacher (faction).
- Killing Darista and Gaelius (faction, other).
- Killing Belgutai in a challenge (combat).
- Fight with the ordu at the pass (combat).
- Allowing Reggie to kill the preacher and backing the militia (faction).
- Choices in IG4 (honor, faction, combat).
- Results in MG6 (faction).
- Killing Cyrus in TG6 (faction).
- Saving Lucius in TG5 (loyalty).
- Betraying your faction to Gaelius (faction, loyalty).
- Giving the gold back to Aemolas (honor).

Monetary Rewards:

- You now get monetary rewards for completing MG4, MG5 and MG6.

Changes:

- Added description when you visit the raiders camp after leaving Teron before finishing this quest.
- Added description when you visit the mine after leaving Teron before finishing this quest.

As always, we'd like to thank you for your support and feedback.

2 comments Read more

September 23

September update - improvements, changes, and fixes

First and foremost, we're still working on Ganezzar. It's coming along well but at a slower pace than we've anticipated. Too much work (as we didn't cut any corners and didn't shy away from any options or consequences), not enough hours in a day. We'll post some screens and concept art on our forums in a few days, so you're more than welcome to visit our forums and participate in design discussions.

As for this month's update, it fixes most issues in "new Teron", adds balance changes, expands some dialogues (for example, you can discuss the situation with Antidas when you return to Teron), and numerous tweaks and changes, adding flanking, mobility bonus, a new crafting techique, and god knows what else.

Fixes:

- Fixed issue with Feng not being in Teron when you get back to town.
- Fixed issues with Map travel in new Teron.
- Fixed issue when talking to the healer in new Teron.
- Fixed issue when talking to the undertaker in new Terons.
- Fixed issue when talking to the storyteller in new Terons.
- Fixed issue when talking to the innkeeper in new Terons.
- Fixed issue when exploring the smithy's interior.
- Fixed issue when exploring Feng's house.
- The Arbiter is now properly recognized for critical strikes checks.
- Fixed issue that sent you to Old Teron after the ending with the alliance between IG and Daratan.
- Fixed issue that broke Paullus conversation when you arrived from Caer-Tor.
- If you go to the camp after Teron has ended and you've never been there, the description of the raiders is no longer triggered.
- Fixed issue that if you destroy the mine when everyone has been killed, you stay inside the mine.
- Fixed coordinates issue with Tiberius cage.
- Fixed issue with respawning deleted characters (for example, Hermon's Gang after being killed and bodies deleted).

Changes:

- Added more kadura leaves to traders.
- Poison damage changed from 5,6,7,8,9 to 3,5,7,9,11.
- Increased potent poison extra damage from 2 to 3.
- Poison now lasts on the weapon for 20 hits.
- Displayed hidden INT check when entering the Abyss.
- Reduced INT bonus by 5 overall. Now it goes from 0 to 30.
- Showing the map to Domitius now gives you 5 SP (instead of 15).
- Increased the price of the arena trader's unique item from 600 to 1200, and the trading check is increased from 4 to 5, lowering the price to 800.
- Increased the price of the exotic trader's unique item from 300 to 600; the trading check lowers the price to 500.
- Increased the price of the ordu trader's unique item from 200 to 400; the trading check lowers the price to 300.
- Increased the price of the ranged weapons' trader's unique item from 250 to 500; the trading check lowers the price to 400.
- Increased the price of the imperial weapons' trader's unique item from 500 to 1000; the trading check lowers the price to 900.
- Increased the price of the shield trader's unique item from 200 to 400; the trading check lowers the price to 300.
- Reduced combat SP from fights.
- Constitution now gives a bonus to block (strength doesn't).
- The balanced technique no longer lowers the weapon AP, but adds THC: 3 at level 2, 6 at level 4, 9 at level 6, 12 at level 8 and 15 at level 10.
- Implemented serrated edge technique, increases CS: 3 at level 3, 6 at level 5, 9 at level 7, 12 at level 9 and 15 at level 10.
- Implemented flanking, side hits give 5 extra THC/CS, back hits give 10 extra THC/CS.
- Dodgers now get a "mobility bonus" of 3 points for each passable tile around them.
- Armor sets have been rebalanced, increased dodge penalties for all armors, and lower CS defence for lighter armor.
- Increase Bash success chance by 10.

Combat Balance:

- Teron: raiders: There is one less raider, all raiders have 1 point more in attack and defence; Esbenus has a masterwork gladius, wounded raiders have 5 HP less.
- Teron Bandits: Fight gives 5 combat points.
- Mining Outpost: There is one less soldier, all soldiers have 1 point more in CS.
- Mining Outpost: Fight gives 5 combat points outside and 4 inside.
- Maadoran Gate: the thugs: Increased attack and defence by 1, increased CS from 1 to 5.
- Basil: the thugs: Increased attack and defence by 1, increased CS from 2 to 5.
- Quintus: the thugs: Increased attack and defence by 1, increased CS from 2 to 5.
- Leon's Mercs: Increased attack and defence by 1.
- Senna's Guards: Increased attack by 1.
- Valla's Mercs: Increased attack, defence and CS by 2.
- Lord Varus' sons: increased CS by 1.
- Arena: Thief has 1 CS more.
- Arena: Zealot has 1 CS more.
- Arena: Isatis has 1 more attack and CS.
- Arena: Yochan has 1 more attack and CS.
- Arena: Raider has 1 more attack, defence and CS.
- Arena: All barbari have 1 CS more.
- Arena: Nicander has 1 more attack and 2 more CS.
- Arena: Bendidoros has 1 more defense and 2 more CS.
- Arena: Sarpedon has 1 more defense and 2 more CS.
- Arena: Ordu warrior has 1 more CS, ordu archer has 2 more CS.
- Arena: Butcher has 1 CS more.
- Arena: Mack has 1 CS more.
- Arena: All triarii have 1 attack more.
- Arena: Al-Sahir has 1 CS more.

That's about it. Now, keep in mind that these changes aren't set in stone. We have an opportunity to try different things and see what works and what doesn't. If we went too far somewhere, we'll scale it back.

As always, your feedback is vital and much appreciated. Thanks in advance.

6 comments Read more
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Reviews

“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.”
GameBanshee

“This brings me to the main point: replayability. Judging from the demo, Age of Decadence will be immensely replayable. And at three levels, at that: after finishing the demo as a merchant I immediately wanted to play the game as a member of a different faction, to get a different take on the situation, but also to play as a merchant with a different skill and stat distribution, to check out options unavailable for my original build; but also, which in other games would be ridiculous, to play exactly the same build and simply make different choices! My merchant ended up being a sort of a power behind the throne, facilitating a shift in the power distribution in the region, purely by use of persuasion, disguise, and, of course, money, insulting more than one person on his way but gaining powerful friends, too. But there were both diplomatic and combat-oriented options I steered clear of, leaving them for future playthroughs.”
RPG Codex

“Age of Decadence is a hard game. I’ve been killed so many times I’ve lost count. Combat is among the most challenging I’ve ever encountered in a game, and even the text-based portions of the game—sneaking into a castle, for instance—are rife with challenges that often lead to your untimely demise. The game isn’t like most modern role-playing games. It’s neither cinematic nor fast-paced. It requires you to read a great deal, not to mention reload. Basically it’s a tactical, turn-based fantasy RPG with a Roman-inspired setting. It’s a single-player RPG with a deep story, consequential choices, and no hint of “Kill Ten Goblin” fetch quests. In other words, it’s basically the antithesis of the MMORPG.”
Forbes

About This Game

The Age of Decadence is an isometric, turn-based, single-player 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, multiple skill-based ways to handle quests, choices & consequences, and extensive dialogue trees.

Traditionally, many fantasy RPGs are about killing things, clearing up dungeons, and being a hero. Now, there is nothing wrong with mindless fun and wish fulfillment, but we serve a different meal here. Quoting from one of the reviews:

“Well, if you want a hardcore, heavy metal roleplaying experience that challenges you, this is the ticket. Otherwise, take a pass. The game is vicious, both in its lack of morality and its merciless systems. If you want to be the hero of a story, run and don’t look back. If you want to be Attia of the Julii or be a power player, this is your RPG.”

The focus of the game is not on killing monsters, but rather on dealing with fellow humans and factions, trying to survive – easier said than done – and making a name for yourself. Naturally, to accommodate all that scheming, plotting, and backstabbing, we give the player plenty of choices, from multiple solutions to quests to different paths you can take through the game. You (and your actions) will determine who your friends and enemies are. There are no default good and bad guys.

Features

  • 23 skills, ranging from Dagger and Critical Strike to Disguise and Persuasion to Alchemy and Lore.
  • Tactical combat system, featuring a flexible set of standard attacks, special attacks such as whirlwind and impale, and aimed attacks at different body parts.
  • 8 weapon types: daggers, swords, axes, hammers, spears, bows, crossbows, throwing weapons, each with individual traits.
  • Non-combat quest resolutions and a well-developed diplomatic path.
  • Over 100 quests, taking you to 20 locations: towns, outposts, archeological digs, sealed places of Power, underground facilities, and temples.
  • Each situation has multiple ways of handling it, based on your skills, reputation, and connections.
  • An interesting world with rich history and unclear future that your actions can shape into seven very different game endings.
  • Detailed crafting and alchemy systems: forge your own weapons with different properties, brew different potions, experiment with Greek's fire and black powder.
  • Hundreds of items, ranging from weapons and armor to scrolls, tools, flasks, and pre-war relics.

System Requirements

    Minimum:
    • OS: Windows XP/Vista/Windows 7/Windows 8
    • Processor: 1.7 GHz Processor or better
    • Memory: 2 GB RAM
    • Graphics: Nvidia Geforce 8500 GT / ATI Radeon HD 7290 (512 Mb) or better
    • DirectX: Version 9.0c
    • Hard Drive: 1500 MB available space
    Recommended:
    • OS: Windows 7/Windows 8
    • Processor: 2.5 GHz Processor or better
    • Memory: 4 GB RAM
    • Graphics: Nvidia Geforce GTS 250 / Radeon HD 4870 (1Gb) or better
    • DirectX: Version 9.0c
    • Hard Drive: 1500 MB available space
Helpful customer reviews
3 of 3 people (100%) found this review helpful
18.1 hrs on record
Posted: December 19
Early Access Review
Probably the best summary of this game is these four words: Was it worth it?

That's the huge, huge thing that will determine your enjoyment of this game. When you die probably close to 20-30 times in a single encounter, several times when the last enemy left- and, sometimes, a single extremely powerful enemy- is basically hobbling on their patellas because everything below that has been turned into a thick, chunky mash, was it worth it when you finally win, 2 HP left but knowing that you'll wind up in the same situation again later?

Was it worth it, basically knowing that most of your choices in this game, no spoiler, involve ♥♥♥♥ing someone somewhere over in the worst and most permanent ways imaginable? Was it worth it? To be honest, I can't speak for many other people, but to me, I think it was.

The game might be unfair, yes, brutally so. But eventually you get into the mindset of "losing is actually kinda fun", you start trying out new things to see what works instead of getting ♥♥♥♥ed because you had to restart again. This is the kind of game where you're honestly expected to do that, and it's designed so that there's enough variety in how things work, and when, that even as restrictive as it sometimes feels I wind up WANTING to try out new things to see what works.

It's the kind of game that, sure, literally everyone in it I've seen so far is about as sympathetic as a ♥♥♥♥♥♥ cockroach with swastikas engraved on it's brains, including the player character, but the lore and writing are good enough that, by God, I'm actually keen on playing it to the end- once it's finished, of course- just because I'm interested to see what's gonna happen.

This is ultimately where "Is it worth it" really comes into play. It's a brutal, often frustrating game. If you ♥♥♥♥ up, you're going to die, whether it's in combat or in how you allocated points for story encounters, and the game seems about as non-chalant about it as a US president swatting a fly on TV. This is not Dark Souls, tired as that comparison is, because even that game seemed to wanna give you a chance at times. But if a game where ♥♥♥♥, EVENTUALLY, comes together, where you EVENTUALLY get it and EVENTUALLY you make it through sounds appealing, I'd say give it a shot. At least the demo, since, you know, there's a demo. For once with a game.

♥♥♥♥, that's enough reason for me to wanna give it a recommendation.
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5 of 8 people (63%) found this review helpful
16.5 hrs on record
Posted: December 11
Early Access Review
Most people I know who play this game love it for the rich tactical combat, the gritty fight-or-flight realism or the unrelenting difficulty. While all three of those assets are truly impressive, what I find most flattering about the game is the story and atmosphere. Whereas a game such as Fallout clearly shows the decline of humanity into its current state, The Age of Decadence merely places you in the center of it without a truly clear idea of what's to come or what came before. I find myself utterly fascinated at how a civilization was crushed before it even began without so much as a clue as to what led up to it. One of the most intriguing concepts for a story I've seen in a long time!

As to the combat, realism and difficulty...what else can be said that hasn't already been written about? Buy this game!
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38 of 43 people (88%) found this review helpful
156.2 hrs on record
Posted: July 3
Early Access Review
For the turn-based old school RPG fans, this game is a must buy. I have been waiting for it for a long time, paid the full price and am happy with the beta.

however, this game is not like most modern RPGs. This game is the closet to playing a tabletop DnD or gurps game I have ever seen. which means that death is the certain outcome in certain places if you are not geared up right, and have built the right character.

this game has a lot of replay value-- each character class (or at least many of them) has a unique questline.

this game rocks.
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27 of 32 people (84%) found this review helpful
36.3 hrs on record
Posted: August 1
Early Access Review
***Decadent Times***

There are many worlds in one world. Some of them are known to the common men portraying themselves as harsh truths of the circumstances or a hopeful future...some of them are only known to people who seek things behind the illusionary curtain before our eyes. Age of Decadence makes you visit all these worlds at your leisure and with your style. Let us cut the fancy words and stab our knife deep into the meat of this game. What makes Age of Decadence, unique?

Age of Decadence is set on a post-apocalyptic world devastated by a war between the Empire and Qantari. The war, its consequences and the remnants (ruins, devices etc) from those times creates the mystical side of the lore but on the other hand the numerous factions vying for the power adds to the mundane part of the lore. As your character progresses, depending on your actions, background and character prowess you will find yourself uncovering things let it be political schemes, marvellous devices or simply glory of combat in the battlefield. Thus having a tasty background, Age of Decadence gives us a solid sign that it is a candidate to become a classic.

First of all, forget being a hero (though it is still possible) all the time since the game will allow you to back down from several dangerous situations...but once the die is cast...you'll have to live with its consequences. Depending on your character build (combat, non-combat, hybrid) you can find different kinds of solutions to a certain quest or mission. And mind you those different solutions may lead to different consequences. Your generosity towards a person may pay well later in the game or you might find yourself in difficult situations because some thugs marked you as a target due to your generosity. It is definitely a decadent world where you should READ and ASSESS the situation properly. If you do not notice the warning signs, understand the personality of the characters you are dealing with...you might find yourself in difficulty or pushing daisies.

The most striking part though...the cumulative effect the game presents you. From the start, you are subject to a different perspective on an assassination vignette where your background will affect it quite much. It will also make other NPCs of the starting town react differently. Such as, you might be the Assassin who is hired to kill the trader but perhaps you were the Mercenary whose duty was to protect the trader. Perhaps as a Mercenary you let the Assassin depart or avenged your employer and it may impress the Assassin's Guild (it is named as Boatmen of Styx and like every faction it has a neat backstory). Or you were merely a Drifter and heard some noises before stumbling upon the corpses of an assassin, a mercenary and a trader. I wouldn't want to spoil all vignettes here...regardless you will see from the start the game will offer you more depth into the matters.

Another striking point is the importance of factional relations. Don't expect to pay some sum to a shady man and magically all bad feelings are gone. Minor slights and such can be mended with some acts of goodwill...but if you screw some relations severely, you'll have to live with that and like every organization, Age of Decadence factions have enemies and allies in times of change. And even your personal allegiance can change at crucial times let it be for your personal gain, a change of ideals or merely you wish for some thrill. Choices and living up to their consequences...is the essence of this game.

Combat system is Action Point based where people should be familiar from Fallout series...This is one part I don't wish to go into detail because the game itself has a nice training mode where a starter player can try different types of weapons in order to get a hold of mechanics. As I said, don't be a hero and try this training :D

As one last positive, the demo of the game has the entire first chapter of the game with all its vignettes. You will not regret trying it out and will keep wanting more of it. I know I did and still do. I shall update the review for the future versions.
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20 of 26 people (77%) found this review helpful
30.0 hrs on record
Posted: October 20
Early Access Review
AoD is refreshingly different from most other RPGs. First, every enemy is as strong as you or even stronger, thus the combat is extremely deadly. In most other RPGs you pick one character and experience every quest and discover every location with your chosen class. In AoD every class offers a unique experience, because the story line is completely different from most other classes. You have to finish the game many times in order to experience everything. Every character is supposed to specialize on certain traits, a jack-of-all-traits does not exist. Futhermore, is the ancient low-magic setting a welcome change from the classic high-fantasy fare. The whole gameplay is similar to (classic) Fallout and can thus be recommended.
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19 of 25 people (76%) found this review helpful
60.5 hrs on record
Posted: November 10
Early Access Review
Age of Decadence to RPG is what The Wire is to TV drama. Replace Baltimore housing projects with dirty streets of Teron in a fresh pseudo-roman aesthetic. Age of Decadence borrows heavily from classic 90s formula of a good role-playing game. It's a literary competent portrayal of humanity, political and social conflicts with an interesting take on post-apocalyptic theme serving as a background.

It has some issues.

Combat can be fun, but it's remarkably ill-suited for a game where you only get to control one character. Imagine the same unforgiving random number generator hell that are older X-Com games, but there is no squad. It's just one guy stepping out of the Skyranger.

Pacing is weird. The game has no filler content, no rat-infested basements, no generic bad guys you can kill to level up your character to make him or her prepared for real challenges. This is a good thing: I appreciate not having my time wasted. On the downside this leads to some weird situations, like your character being given a leadership position in a military organization in a middle of a covert op. Look, it's not like I hate the attention, but I finished creating this character literally 30 real life minutes ago and he was a nobody then.

If the game could find a way to communicate the passage of time better this problem can go away (for all it's simplicity The Banner Saga was very good at this). Or maybe the issue is that the developers are spread too thin and by reducing the number of available character backgrounds or "classes" the rest could have been made more meaty.

Camera is not very good. People don't get how important this is. Bad camera in a game like this is like a little ♥♥♥♥-tax on everything, it makes every action you take to be slightly uncomfortable.

Remember that town gameplay older classics like Fallout and Baldur's Gate had, when you roam the streets, click on stuff, inspect things, talk to people? Age of Decadence doesn't have that, because the very act of moving around is painful. The game has a map feature that allows you to instantly travel to some of the more important places in the town. You will probably end up using that most of the time and refer to an internet guide to find content inaccessible by this method.

The weird thing for something that came from such a tiny development studio is that Age of Decadence doesn't look too bad. It's easily better than all the Geneforges, Avernums and Avadons as well as many other indie games. The art is good. Music too.

I manage my expectations here, but some of the Age of Decadence screenshots in Steam store page look borderline pretty. This is at least partially because of the favourable camera position. I'm guessing it's easier to design a good-looking environment if you can tell from what point of view the player will end up observing it.

But it's easier to talk about things that annoy you. Age of Decadence is a great game despite whatever I said above (it's all nonsense). A year after the game is out I will remember it's well-designed world and the story it told. What I won't remember is that one time when I got mad about pacing or whatever. It's a good game.
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19 of 26 people (73%) found this review helpful
64.6 hrs on record
Posted: July 23
Early Access Review
I have to say one of the most unique, intrigueing, and engaging games I have ever played. If you don't like thinking, don't play. This game is brutal if you don't consider your moves or plan ahead. Try to be a hero and you will end up dead. It is fantastic and hits you in the head with a cold taste of reality, ironically in a strange fantasy game. I love this eerie game. Well Done Iron Tower Studio.
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13 of 17 people (76%) found this review helpful
32.4 hrs on record
Posted: September 19
Early Access Review
Steam and various developers, large and small, have left me quite jaded with early-access games of late. This game has piqued my interest though, and been on my wishlist for some time but my recent experiences with such things had left me hesitant to purchase it

Then I see that Age of Decadence has a demo!

I played the demo for an hour and was sold, even though I was absolutely terrible at the game.

It somehow combines the feel of Baldur's Gate, Fallout, and other old RPGs with a new edge that makes the whole thing fresh. Meaningful text content and choices, combat made intense for the risk of it, and a setting where you're only the protagonist because you think you are - otherwise, the npcs are equal. It's absolutely unique while being very familiar, witheringly frustrating while being utterly addictive, and I immediately recommended it to my brothers.

It restored some of my love for the genre, and my faith in current game developers in general. It is definitely a game I would recommend. Indeed, if you go throught he negative reviews, you'll only find that they consist of individuals who couldn't hack the difficulty, can't be bothered to read story choices in an RPG, or seemed to fail to understand that the game is still being developed.

If you can handle those things, do yourself a favor and buy the game.
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12 of 17 people (71%) found this review helpful
114.7 hrs on record
Posted: August 1
Early Access Review
The Age of Decadence (AoD) is a gem that captures the essence of role-playing games, putting choice and consequence above everything else. Since there are so many clichés and misconceptions about what a RPG should look like nowadays, some warnings are in order. This way we can begin to talk about the game in comparison with what it is not. First, it is worth mentioning that if your idea of RPG is that of an action game in which you just push buttons to kills everything in sight, you will be disappointed. AoD is not the typical action RPG. Combat is brutal. If you don’t think tactically, you die horribly. If you pick up every fight, you are history. The game has the same unforgiving learning curve than Gothic 2, if not harder. However, despite its combat system being difficult to master, it is fair.

Second, AoD is not a traditional RPG full of self-indulgent common places and bland quests. Don’t expect to get a job in the tavern to kill rats in the basement. You don’t have a group of buddies that will be part of your team. Do you want to be the Mr. Nice Guy that careless helps anyone that cross your way asking for help? Good luck with that. People will take advantage of you and gut you like a fish. You cannot be successful in every quest without ruining other people’s interest. If you defy powerful people they will mark you for revenge. AoD looks like a Hobbesian state of nature or the world of Game of Thrones without the most superficial characters. There is no space for quixotic dreamers here and you can’t survive for long if you don’t stay alert all the time.

Of course, you can’t “invent the wheel” in the RPG genre and quests involving backstabbing and scheming for power are old news. However, in what AoD purposes itself to do, it does very well and without gratuitous self-indulgence. The character system was carefully designed and integrated with an immersive and addictive gameplay. Every single stat and skill have relevance and could make a difference between success and failure. Do you need to pass unnoticed by the guards? You have to sneak. You can’t sneak? Try to fool them with your disguise or persuasion. You can’t fool the guards? You have to fight or you are dead. Reactivity is key and your choices matter. There are no cosmetic decision here. In my second playthrough as an assassin, I end up on a very distinct path than the first and I suspect that in a third playthrough as an assassin I would still have many open possibilities. Considering that the game has seven backgrounds/professions at the start of the game (assassin, merchant, grifter, drifter, praetor, loremaster and mercenary) and each has unique quests, replay value is enormous.

All the elements of the game are top notch. The instrumental soundtrack is beautiful and captures the atmosphere of a post-apocalyptic world “inspired by the fall of the Roman Empire”. The graphics are good, but don’t expect the next generation graphics here. This is not a game full of cinematics that push your PC performance to the limit. Which is fine given the circumstances: we are talking about a cRPG produced by an indie studio without kickstarter funding.

But what really stands out above everything else is the writing. The writing is strong and consistent. There is always a risk that a game with so much writing end up being compared with Planescape Torment, the classic that pushed the boundaries of game writing to insane levels. Fortunately, AoD achieved the feat of being even better. The lore is sophisticated and since every single quest is connected to the main plot, the game feels truly dense. The absence of filler quests is irrelevant, since there is much to explore. The biggest city of the game, Maadoran, is not gigantic as Athkatla of Baldur’s Gate 2, but it is definitely more meaningful. NPCs and their motivations are believable. Dialogues and quasi-literary “scenes” are memorable, reminding us of the scripted interactions of Darklands. And even in the middle of all the backstabbing that are some moments genuinely warmhearted – came to mind the dialogue with a farmer that cries about his tough life.

AoD have been in the developing process for 10 years, which is perfectly reasonable for a RPG of that caliber, especially one made by a first timer indie studio (let’s not forget). Some little design tweaks and polishing of rough edges are necessary, but 70% of the game is already finished and 16 locations out of 22 are available in the Early Access build. I have a fear though that because AoD took so long to see the light of the day it will fail to live up to the hype of its hardcore fans or end up being treated with indifference for most RPG gamers. I hope that I’m wrong. AoD has all the marks of a classic. Let us give it all the praise it deserves.
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21 of 36 people (58%) found this review helpful
152.0 hrs on record
Posted: July 21
Early Access Review
Stole much of my life energy, 10/10 would allow to steal my soul again.
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10 of 16 people (63%) found this review helpful
9.9 hrs on record
Posted: October 10
Early Access Review
Extremely awesome game!
Love the difficulty
Love the story
Love the mechanics

Has helped me get over being an obsessive completionist.
Especially if I treat it like a roguelike, I tend to forget to save anyway, and it lets me replay so much of it over and over.

Get it,
Get it now!
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8 of 13 people (62%) found this review helpful
9.9 hrs on record
Posted: June 29
Early Access Review
Let me start off by saying, do not get turned off by every "this game is too hard" and "ive died more times than I have whined about dying" comments, yes, combat may be slightly frustrating at times, but the game rarely forces you entirely into fighting situations, almost always are you offerred alternatives, persuasion/streetwise, and various other skills can be used to avoid armed confrontations, so, if you are a somewhat patient person and do not mind dying in the double digits over the course of an hour and/or can think for yourself, you will easily be able to figure out what skills to increase, clearly distinguish who you should speak to, who not to follow into obscure alleyways, and what jerk is ripe for an insult.

Concerning the game itself, if you're looking for a purely historical RPG this is not it, BUT, if you are even the least bit interested IN history particularly the late Roman Empire, this game should very much intrigue you. The story so far is fantasitc, everything blends together so well, the characters are great, the dialogue in this game is outstanding, very much in excess but not without great writing for almost every conversation, I really cannot imagine what is to be added through future updates/when the fully completed game is released. The lore is somewhat interesting, if you are into RPG's with thick story and background information, especially concerning history,(term used lightly) magic and other fantasy elements, you should definitely find what you are looking for. I have read some bad reviews that regard the graphics of the game as subpar and unbearable so much as the game becomes "unpleasant" or whatever, and, if you do happen to be a person who upholds graphics above any other aspect within a game, then 1: You're an idiot & 2: you probably will not enjoy this game. I will admit that the graphics are not "next gen" but if you are not a graphics ♥♥♥♥♥, it really should not be a deterrent from purchasing the game or even enjoying it.

All in all it is a wonderful game filled with a variety of treats and sour moments, laughs and most definitely tears, but do not let the bad times bring you down, just, try not to read the death screens, they are really depressing and make you feel extremely insignificant.

9/10
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9 of 15 people (60%) found this review helpful
20.1 hrs on record
Posted: November 2
Early Access Review
A refreshing change of pace in the current RPG world. It all feels very real, very gritty. You're not some god-like superhero that's been bestowed power from the heavens, you're average Joe, and by the way, some guy just stole your wallet.

It's tough to make it in this world, meaning you're going to be dying, reloading, restarting from scratch a lot, but that's what makes it so immersive. You truly feel as though you're apart of the world. You have to judge characters at a glance, take what people say with a grain of salt, and essentially play your cards perfectly in order to not be slaughtered like a pig.

The game mechanics give off some oldschool vibes. Most of the story is text driven, and the import plot points of the world are hidden within text with a few random NPC's, or hidden behind certain dialog choices. The combat is turn based, and very unforgiving. You may find yourself cursing your character choices in the character creation and how you can't win any fights because of it, but sometimes that's just how the game plays. It's possible to participate in the whole game without being a proper fighter, but that also means taking a completely different route throughout the story.

The fact of the matter is, you AREN'T a superhero, and you're not some master jack of all trades either. Your skills, your stats and your decisions with NPC's limit the available routes you can take throughout the game dramatically. They set you on a path that is hard to deviate from. If you weren't good at combat at the start of the game, chances are, you never will be and you better stick to your words. Some may view this as a detriment, but I find that it adds depth and weight to your actions. It also has a nice effect of adding replayability. There are many different ways to reach the end of the game, and I can safely say I've barely seen a quarter of them.

All in all, I find that it's a great RPG. However if none of this sounds fun, then maybe the game isn't for you. I love it though, and I can't wait for the full release.
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5 of 8 people (63%) found this review helpful
12.7 hrs on record
Posted: September 19
Early Access Review
(at the time of writing I have played 10 hours of the game; most likely I will edit it as I continue to play)
I've never played a game like the Age of Decadence.
It's a game that is brutal and never shies away from that realization. Almost every character is out to kill you; and rarely they are upfront about their motives. It's a game in which a skill is Streetwise; it levels up your mistrust of the common man.
It's a game in which you can complete a questline, convincing and conniving, and then be sent on your way to a bigger city. On your way to said bigger city, you get killed from your actions in the previous questline.
It's a game in which the achievements are 'Die in your first fight' and 'Die Culmatively 100 times'.
It's a game in which you are not 'Stabby Mcbeardeyson, Slayer of 3000 Goblins and Champion of All of (insert realm here)'. It's a game in which you are a person who has just decided to pick up a sword, and the people you are up against make a living out of death.
This is not a game that everyone is going to embrace. This is a true, hard RPG for those who want a real strategic challenge in their games.
Cheers, Iron Tower.
And to reiterate; I've never played a game like the Age of Decadence.
Oh, and "Remember to save. You're going to die soon."
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5 of 9 people (56%) found this review helpful
18.5 hrs on record
Posted: June 26
Early Access Review
This game can be unforgiving at times, but you definitely feel a sense of accomplishment when you complete an objective.
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5 of 9 people (56%) found this review helpful
22.1 hrs on record
Posted: June 26
Early Access Review
Brutal and unforgiving gameplay. I silently wept when one of the first achievements I received in this game was Die 100 times and was still in the first city. Combat is hard and trying to be decent at multiple things is a quick way to suck at everything. Pick a skill and go with it. Great turn based medieval game with a solid story line so far.
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5 of 9 people (56%) found this review helpful
4.4 hrs on record
Posted: July 7
Early Access Review
Hard, rewarding, and mass replayablity make this one of the few early access games I can enjoy for hours a day and still have much and more to do. Money over shadows morals and action gains reactions no matter what you do. Every update has me coming back for more and when it is finished I would gladly buy it again. Lucky that isn't the case and I get this gem for what I would call half for a game of this magantuide. 8/10, would buy again. -Heretic
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5 of 9 people (56%) found this review helpful
22.3 hrs on record
Posted: September 29
Early Access Review
Note: Game isn't fully released yet.

Personal Rating: 8/10
Replayability: High
Budget: Worth it.
Length: The currently released areas, which isn't the full game, takes at least a few days to play through if you already know how to play successfully. This is the kind of game you restart several times.

Age of Decadence is a snap-back to the old-school roleplaying games like Planescape: Torment and Baldur's Gate.. Litterally. The only truly bad feature about this game, is that graphics wise, and also to an extent gameplay wise, the game is outdated by at least a decade.

For those who still enjoy such games, this is a must-have title.

It features origin stories and various opportunities in the game depending on what story you chose.

Set in a strange fantasy setting that can be a little difficult to understand at first, exploring this setting and trying to get the full picture is half the fun of this game.

Exploration, roleplaying and choices. In this game, you do not HAVE to fight (at least, I don't think so), but if you play a character who can't, save often. Being smart and being socially adept are much more important and rewarding features in this game than being a god of war, but being unable to defend yourself in this game (or just a poor fighter in general) means having to play it VERY smart.

The game has incredibly good dialogue, but as it's still in production, don't expect everything to be perfect yet. Occasionally.

I was captivated by this game for many weeks, and I'm very much looking forward to the full release.
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6 of 11 people (55%) found this review helpful
42.6 hrs on record
Posted: August 4
Early Access Review
I confess I was caught by the trailer. The first two sentences are sufficient to show that AoD is not the traditional RPG where god-like characters roam over a Manichaean world. Fortunately the trailer isn’t the best part of the game (bet you can recall some games that it is), and AoD is not the traditional RPG in many other ways.

First, the game is realistic: No matter who you are or the sword you have, you can die miserably just by being outnumbered by a common gang. Words have consequences, so being careless with dialogues is not an option (unless you like to reload the game every five minutes). Think that you will solve problems just by reloading and waiting for a lucky roll of dices? Forget it; there is no place for lucky ones: your success is determined just by skill and ability. So if you don´t plan and think you will be stuck.

Talking about planning and thinking, a curious thing about the game is that it is so unforgiving that in a certain point you start metagaming to survive. You stop distributing your skill points according to your preferences waiting for what the game will require you to do. You save your skill points because maybe you have to use your persuasion or streetswise when you turn the corner, or maybe you have to sneak to avoid an undefeatable enemy. In most games, all this metagaming would be a bad thing, but in AoD it is a plus, since it is a challenge in itself.

Second, AoD developers seem to have made a decision of cutting off any filler content. That simply changed my perspective of traditional RPGs and made me see its many design vices. Remember those towns from Oblivion full of people completely irrelevant to the game? In AoD you don’t have to waste your time clicking in every person on the map. Only a few of them can dialogue with you. In addition, you don’t have rooms full of chests that contain only trinkets, encouraging the players to be lootmaniacs. When you find a chest, it is worthy to open.

Third, you don’t have to waste your time on “FedEx quests” (to quote one of the developers) in which you waste absurd amounts of time running from A to B, B to A, etc. If a dialogue mentions you have to talk to somebody, there is an option of automatically going to the place where the person stands. The fact that some players were complaining that this “instantaneous teleport destroys immersion” says a lot about the state of things in RPG gaming nowadays. What does travelling per se adds to the content of a quest in which you have to talk to someone in an already visited place? I guess what kills immersion is the time spent making repetitive things completely irrelevant to the content of the quest.

Another innovation is in the writing. Each background leads you to a different quest, but all quests are related to the same events, so that each background makes you see the game in a different perspective. The massacre of the imperial guards is a big thing from the perspective of an assassin, but it is just an unforeseen bonus in the chess game of the merchant’s guild. The reality of AoD has so many aspects and layers of profundity that gives replaying value another meaning.

One thing that is also worth mentioning is that there is a down to earth view of the world shared by most NPCs, even when the subject is the forgotten magic (and they will mock you if you make naïve questions). This is in stark contrast with the grandeur syndrome of most RPGs.

Those innovations are not mere improvements based on successful RPG games for PCs, they are in fact innovations of the very RPG genre in games, which is no small achievement. This game slaps in the face of those who think that RPGs are predestined to be silly teenage fantasies made by silly teenage-like adults. It is RPG in its purest and mature form.
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213 of 231 people (92%) found this review helpful
16.6 hrs on record
Posted: November 26, 2013
Early Access Review
I have to preface this review by saying that I LOVE this game, but chances are 80% of the current gaming population wont like The Age of Decadence. As such its important for anyone interested in this game to have a good idea of what they are getting themselves in for - which is a proper hardcore RPG.

Combat is turn based and initially very hard. The creators have tried to recreate the real life danger of fighting and pretty much nailed it. Your fledgling character is able to take on one opponent at the start of the game, but fighting multiple people will more than likely get you killed. Luckily the game has multiple solutions to the problems you will face and combat is not the only path for your character.

The game has a good solid story and there are plentiful dialog options which are linked to the social skills of your character. This of course means that you could potentially play through the game as a smooth talking character with minimal combat skill. The game doesn't hand hold you in terms of what you should put your skill points into, but common sense will get you through (eg if your playing a Thief character sneak, lock pick and disguise might be useful..).

There are multiple character backgrounds which modify the story including Loremaster, Thief, Assassin, Merchant and so on. Some times the characters overlap at points in the story, so it can be interesting to see things play out from a different perspective. Even though the game is not complete (at the time of this review) the different backgrounds give replayability to the game.

Finally the setting is based of post roman collapse, which is a unique setting for this type of game. Don't expect to see spells and magic flying around typical of fantasy RPGs, but there are wondrous items and locations which can be visited from a bygone era in the games lore.

Overall if your sick of "baby's first RPG" and are hungry for a solid learning curve and dangerous combat in a unique setting I recommend The Age of Decadence.

(Note; At the time of writing there are a number of crash issues that the game is experiencing, hopefully everything will be ironed out for the final release).
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