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 (209 reviews)
Release Date: Nov 14, 2013

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Early Access Game

Get instant access and start playing; get involved with this game as it develops.

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
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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 (19)

March 18

Ganezzar beta - week 7

This week's changelog:

  • Added a House Daratan quest if Maadoran or House Aurelian is destroyed and if you rejected Lord Meru's offer.
  • Added a conversation with Meru at the ruins of Al-Akia (when you enter the complex)
  • Added 'plague' side quest
  • Added an opportunity to blackmail one of the traders
  • Added the first quest in a longer branching side quest chain and corresponding characters - find Elias in one of Lowtown's buidlings to get the ball rolling
  • You can continue to Ganezzar from Maadoran's catacombs
  • Fixed a coordinate bug in the outpost near Teron when climbing the fence
  • Reduced armor penalties for blockers (cut in half)
  • STR is now the governing stat of Block (once again and in light of recent changes)
  • CON provides a small defensive bonus; we're considering a larger bonus to reduce armor's penalties (which makes sense)

The next update will be released by the end of the month. It will include:
  • visual improvements and art assets
  • new side quests, probably 4-5, maybe more
  • new characters to talk to (working on an annalist who can tell about House Crassus' origins as we speak)
  • extended conversations with the faction leaders (personal stories and such)
  • hopefully new portraits - Hector needs one
  • possibly a couple of items requested by the community: a custom short spear and a sledgehammer
  • journal entries

As always, we thank you for your support and patience.

9 comments Read more

March 8

Ganezzar beta - week 6

This week's changelog:

  • Added 'House Aurelian is ruined' scenario
  • Added two NPCs in Ganezzar (a philosopher and a preacher in the Temple district)
  • Added option to break the siege with the ship and a proper chapter ending
  • Fixed issues in 'Maadoran is destroyed' scenario
  • Combat AI changes - the enemies will target unprotected heads
  • Block changes aimed to support lightly armored blockers (wip):
    - Increased the base defense for block for each skill point from 10 to 15.
    - Block is affected by armor defense penalty.
    - Increased chance to fully block attacks.
    - Decreased dodge mobility bonus per tile.
We're almost done with the faction questlines. One last quest and we can start working on the side quests, the visuals, and the journal.

So roughly, we'll add that faction quest and some side quests next week, the remaining side quests the week after, the journal and possibly achievements by the end of the month.

As always, we thank you for your support and patience.

7 comments Read more
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“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.”

“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.”

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.


  • 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

    • 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
    • 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
15 of 15 people (100%) found this review helpful
11.2 hrs on record
Posted: March 7
Early Access Review
very fun mechanics. most of the quests and interactions i ran into had multiple ways to complete with different outcomes, and i often found myself thinking alot about my actions, something which few other games had me doing.
if you seek something challenging you should give it a try, and a word of advice - trust no one.
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11 of 11 people (100%) found this review helpful
234.2 hrs on record
Posted: March 9
Early Access Review
This game is brilliant. If in fallout 2 you have a few quests where one can choose one path or another - here its only a few encounters where you have no choice, doesnt mean that that choice wont bite you - but hey sometimes you get the bear, sometimes bear gets you. In this game bear gets you a lot - so a lot of different saves may be a good idea since one may want to roll events back a bit and change taken path (have never seen any game with so much opportunity for betrayal).

Other thing that sets this game apart is that you see plotline from different viewpoints - say you a merchant - you set some things in motion and later as you play as an assasin or a thief you get to play part in events. It doent take your previous self actions in consideration, but sometimes i was like "hey, i did that" or "huh, so that how it went". In any role you have number of paths, number of ways to change at least some details of the story.

Ofc combat is hard, and getting harder as i write this (AI improved). But its true only if one wants a character that capable both speaking and fighting at the same time. Only a portion of content is availible for any character - more you want to bite - harder it will be to chew. Plus there is skillpoint managment - hard to anticipate what levels would be needed to pass this or that check - so going in blindly and failing only to load and come back prepared is essential part of the game. Ofc here you can affort to fail sometimes and there is some fun in that, but later when you know a lot you can design a character and path that it would take kinda like prisonbreak simulation.
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8 of 8 people (100%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
43.4 hrs on record
Posted: March 14
Early Access Review
Age of Decadence fills a nice niche inbetween the action rpgs of today and the old-school rpgs like that of Baldur's gate admirably. The combat system feels really natural for a turn-basedlite system, one can easily get a good feel for the dos and don't of the system within hours. The graphics in the game aren't the best but they are still great, there are some genuine moments of awe when you first enter certain areas or ♥♥♥♥ up certain areas with your dumb actions. Obviously though, the story is one of the strongest points of Age of Decadence. A bit too linear for my tasts but nonetheless, the story accounts for what seems like hundreds of variables and is filled with rich side-quests that actually aren't ♥♥♥♥♥♥. Vince and the others have consistenly pumped out story updates, bug fixes, and other patches over the course of the game's development with no sign of stopping anytime soon. In conclusion.

10/10, would reccomend.
12/10, with rice
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8 of 8 people (100%) found this review helpful
227.7 hrs on record
Posted: March 16
Early Access Review
I rarely write reviews, and even rarer do i find a genuinely unique rpg. This game is so vastly different from every rpg i've ever played. Failed quests don't exist outside of how you felt about them. Rather, it's about shaping the world. I love that. And so different from every other rpg is that you will NOT be able to get every skill check. Hell, you'll be lucky if you can pass any if you're doing a combat oriented playthrough. I love that. So much replay value, and from me, that's the highest honor, as i think what makes a great game, isn't the graphics, it isn't the story, it isn't the items or the crafting or the ai or how good the voice acting is. It is the replay value. And there is an immeasurable amount of replay value for how short this game can be. Before you buy it, i recommend trying the demo, to see how it feels for you. As stated, this game is quite difficult in terms of combat, but it feels right. It makes you feel human, just some dude, not the chosen one or some ♥♥♥♥♥. (though you can beguile others into thinking you're one :D)

4/5 cats with hats. would die again. And again. and again.
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7 of 7 people (100%) found this review helpful
220.3 hrs on record
Posted: March 20
Early Access Review
Quite refreshing RPG to scratch that old-school isometric itch.

The game writing is great, and really passes the feeling of those Glen Cook "Black Company" worlds, where life is short and brutal.

This game makes you think twice before going into the fight, and think triple before trusting someone, unlike easymode modern games where you play "Bill the Slayer of Rats and Destroyer of Worlds".
In AoD you can get betrayed and shanked by a successfull knife punch just like any other guy next door, thinking "why the hell did I have to play hero and went to save that damsel in distress", or "damn, it did seem like a too good deal to be true".

You get to choose your character gender, attributes and skills, as well as the very important initial employment or faction. The storyline is very branching for the path you will choose, very responsive to your decisions, sometimes with nice twists.

Do not expect a "kill 10 rats" kind of quests here, the tasks you face are much more complex and sometimes may be resolved in over 5 different ways, overall making up a very fun and immersive experience.

The game world itself is very detailed with very interesting lore and story behind and in front of it, and is very immersive.
Of course, if you are playing dumb and strong character, you will not be preoccupied with lore so much, being busy caving skulls of your employers' enemies in with a hammer.
On the other hand, for the intelligent and knowledgeable character the world is a whole different story with lore to uncover and people to manipulate.

That being said, some combat mechanics are very questionable, and since the developer team is quite small, does not seem they will be able to make any noticeable changes and improvements.
Overall, combat characters will have better quality of life, longer gameplay and overall enjoyment than social talkative characters.

I recommend this RPG, especially to those youngsters who had Skyrim as their first "RPG experience" to see how the actual RPG feels like.
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6 of 6 people (100%) found this review helpful
14.7 hrs on record
Posted: March 18
Early Access Review
If your a fan of fallout 1 but wish it was much more challenging then you should definitly check this game out. While not for eveyone im sure, if your into game over screen deaths (like good old Sierra) then get it NOW . Very tasty with much replay value. Also you can tell how much love and care the devs are putting into it.
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5 of 5 people (100%) found this review helpful
69.8 hrs on record
Posted: March 25
Early Access Review
So here is the 20+ Euro worth AoD: 'no worries, it's going to be fully done some time soon in 201X'...
It's darn short by any standards. That seems so till you realise that each faction has it own story & agenda, and it's not just like choosing the flavour for an ice-cream (that is, the cases when it doesn't matter what guild's tattoo you are wearing, you are expected to do the exact same things anyway), here even when going trough the same faction's story again with a differently built char you will find out, much too your own disbelief, that you missed out quite a few more alternative progression paths... and just when you think you've got a good grasp on the workings of politics & intrigues of the world you are visiting you get slammed by bits of 'ingame mythology' telling of demons, angels and the great magic of ages past... yet not all men are created equal, where one sees magic and all powerfull creatures other sees but applied knowledge and a firm grasp of advanced technology... all the while most people around them neither see nor question anything and just choose to 'blindly believe', after all faith is all that's needed for their salvation...
Then come the superb graphics and attention to details: the game is 'chock-full' of absent art banners and an occasional missing inventory item icon but beyond all that you still have to take a bow to the artist(s?!)' amazing rendering of armours & weapons; fluid combat animations, not to mention the surprisingly well done rendering of roman & eastern architecture you will often encounter...
Oh, have I mentioned the awesome TBS combat mechanics - if you don't know what that means then perhaps you aren't the target audience for this game... (take no offence 'if we all liked the same things this world would be a really small place and the 2 of us would be 2 very busy people'), along with the possibility of crafting your own weapons & armours (yeah, that's way more then just cosmetic and generic choices) and alchemy (of course there are even shroom based mixtures alongside poisons, liquid fire & black powder goodies)... Long story short, you need to see it all to believe it. As if you could see it all... just about any new patch brings more content, balancing tweaks and pokes the fan base for input regarding a new combat mechanic or tweak they would like to implement in the near future.

So, is it done yet?! What's the ETA, guys?! Will we get it before the Easter bunny does?! Stop asking already and just come play it (there's quite enough content already to keep you busy for ages!) Who knows, you may end up liking it enough to play it for long-long time after 'it's done' and, like myself, never regret purchasing it (you do know there's a free demo just for you?!) It's special: a full featured first town... no holds barred, just a whole lot of opportunities... at least for those around you...
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5 of 5 people (100%) found this review helpful
12.9 hrs on record
Posted: March 24
Early Access Review
Hello, I have not played this game long, but this game is great and I'm going to play it many hours. This game takes you into a world where your decisions are valuable. Who is bored of the games in which your decisions and consequences do not matter? In this game, all your actions have consequences and decisions decide over life and death. It's a RPG which provides a superior story and you can decide which way you want to go. The plot of the game is very exciting and any choices you make can be the story have been different. You want to experience it as Assassin, traders, mercenaries or even as a nobleman? The Age of Decadence is the answer.
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5 of 8 people (63%) found this review helpful
31.0 hrs on record
Posted: March 13
Early Access Review
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1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
79.7 hrs on record
Posted: March 27
Early Access Review
sweet game. I used to play it a ton. I look forward to when it is finished
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43 of 47 people (91%) found this review helpful
12.9 hrs on record
Posted: January 19
Early Access Review
Do you have a death wish? If so, you've come to the right game!

I've played a fair amount of the Age of Decadence (AoD), having been one of the first beta-testers for the title (most of my playtime are with non-STEAM builds). And I've died. Oh how I've died.

To make things plain, AoD is not a game you'd play when you want to go on a conventional videogame "powertrip". It's not a game you'd play when you want to play a hero. It's not a game you'd play when you want to play an ubermensch. In this game, your character is but one choice from death at pretty much all times.

AoD is a RPG with turnbased combat. It features a very deep and quite broad RPG system. Choices & consequences is the name of the game here, playthroughs vary *wildly* from one another. With the pre-requisite that you'll get your hands dirty, this game features very different ways to go through the game. On one hand, you can choose to play something like a Mercenary, killing your way through the game. Very, very hard (choosing the combat path in this game is *the* difficult choice interestingly enough) but very doable. Or, you can play a slimy Merchant, bribing and persuading your way through the game without ever entering combat.

This heavy emphasis on choice is why I adore AoD. There is a *true* sense of your character forging your way through the world. Even if you happen to fail a certain skill check and screw a situation for your employer when working for one of the guilds, chances are the game will still allow you to continue though the guild and gameworld will likely remember what you've done.

The turnbased combat may feel slightly clunky at first due to how it looks and "feels". But here is a combat system that actually has some immense depth to it, *if* you have the patience to go through the trial-by-fire where you'll die over and over. Encounters are crafted carefully and to provide immense challenge. Not to mention that your character is just another piece of the game's board. You're not special, you're not more powerful than anyone else. You're just another dude who happens to excel at a few things (depending on your skill choices) and so is everyone else. In another game, you'd scoff at the group of thugs threatening you in the slums. In AoD? You'd best be damn well prepared if you're gonna take on *any* group of people.

My main critique of the gameplay is that, since so much of the game is driven by your characters' skill choices, you can quite easily get into a situation where you're just just shy of one measly point of Persuasion to get through that particular problem, but... you may have no way to get that point. And the other options can likely lead you into death (especially if you're not prepared for combat). It feels rather "strict". And while I actually like that in many ways, I do hope and think there will be a balancing pass on the game before it's final release. Hopefully "loosening up" some of the requirements without making the game casual or easy.

The game relies heavily on its writing with most of its non-combat gameplay missions taking place in very elaborate "text-adventures". If you don't like to read, this is not the game for you.
The game's writing is very good and quite harsh. There are no goody-goody characters here, and it's rough world. Characters will lie to you and screw you over. But the good news is, you can lie to others and screw them over as well!

The game's length will vary a *lot* depending on how you play. Combat is the most time-consuming tasks. Battles can take a fair amount of time. If you choose to go a route where you are diplomatic and avoid combat, the game-length will also be shorter.
That said, one of the main *points* behind AoD is the replayability. If you don't want to replay the game, using different builds and seeing different solutions, then it's not a game for you.

The game is currently in early access and has a few months left of development. The game is made up of 3 big city locations (with various smaller locations scattered around) and the final big city is about to be released in a rough, beta form to the public. There is still plenty of things to do and experience in the game but it is not currently "complete" so to speak.

If you want to be challenged by a RPG, and if you like old-school design and feel, then AoD might just be worth it for you. For me, it has filled a niche that no other game has done yet (even right now with Kickstarter projects and indie-games being as prominent as they are), it is truly a special game that I've grown to love, despite the many kicks in the balls it has given me.

I'd highly recommend it for people looking for a more hardcore RPG experience. But to be on the safe side, you can give the demo a try as well!
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35 of 38 people (92%) found this review helpful
54.7 hrs on record
Posted: January 5
Early Access Review
Non-linear role-playing game with emphasis on text adventures set in Ancient Rome with splashes of Mongols and other ancient nations.
Degrading world of post-war devastation with mysterious techno-magic and aliens.
Strongly branched story tree which separated branches opens only during the next walkthrough.
The original system of tactical turn-based battles allows various styles fighting, including entangling enemies with nets and the possibility of using poisoned weapons. Battles are hard while dying in them is very easy if you don't study the game mechanics during Training or test walkthroughs. However, if you wish, you can avoid fighting at all by playing non-combat character.
5 melee weapon skills, 3 - ranged, 2 - defensive, 1 universal Critical Strike skill which can be used in battles and text adventures, 12 non-combat skills for all occasions.
Over 50 000 strings of text which we have successfully translated on Russian (and there will be more with release of full version).
The player will interact with 7 factions tied by complex system of relationships. You can join any of them as the game progresses, double-cross it and flop over to its opponents - that's where the true decadence!
There are no classes in the game as such, but there are 8 backgrounds defining the game beginning.
There are no character levels in the game either, but progress is due to receiving and distributing Skill Points.
The main character isn't a superhero superior to all opponents in parameters, skills or equipments, but an ordinary man striving to survive and posed before a permanent choice on which depends his future, game plot and several different endings.
In a nutshell, game is very close to classic RPGs by its spirit (such as Fallout 1 and 2, Planescape: Torment by Black Isle Studios, Arcanum: Of Steamworks and Magick Obscura by Troika Games) and has a unique feature at the same time - versatility of the plot and walkthrough.
I highly recommends it to all fans of hardcore old school role-playing games.

Нелинейная ролевая игра с упором на текстовые приключения в сеттинге древнего Рима с вкраплениями монголов и других древних народов.
Деградирующий мир послевоенной разрухи с загадочной техномагией и пришельцами.
Очень сильно разветвлённое сюжетное дерево, отдельные ветви которого открываются только при очередном прохождении.
Оригинальная система пошаговых тактических боёв, позволяющая сражаться разными стилями, включая опутывание врагов сетями и возможность применения отравленного оружия. Сражения непростые, умереть в них очень легко, если не изучить игровую механику на пробных прохождениях или в Обучении. Впрочем, при желании боёв можно вообще избежать, играя небоевым персонажем.
5 навыков оружия ближнего боя, 3 - дальнего, 2 - защитных, 1 универсальный навык Критического удара, применяемый как в боях, так и в текстовых приключениях, 12 небоевых навыков на все случаи жизни.
Свыше 50 000 строк текста, который мы успешно перевели (и будет больше с выходом полной версии).
Игроку предстоит взаимодействовать с 7 фракциями со сложной системой взаимоотношений. По ходу игры можно будет присоединиться к любой из них, предать её и переметнуться к её оппонентам - вот где истинный декаданс!
Классов в игре как таковых нет, но есть 8 предысторий, определяющих начало игры.
Уровней персонажа в игре тоже нет, а развитие происходит за счёт получения и распределения Очков Навыков.
Главный герой - совсем не супергерой, превосходящий всех противников параметрами, навыками или экипировкой, а обычный человек, стремящийся выжить и поставленный перед постоянным выбором, от которого зависит будущее его самого, сюжет игры и несколько различных концовок.
Вообще игра очень близка по духу к классическим РПГ (таким как Fallout 1 и 2, Planescape: Torment от Black Isle Studios, Arcanum: Of Steamworks and Magick Obscura от Troika Games) и в то же время обладает уникальной чертой - многосторонностью сюжета и прохождения.
Настоятельно рекомендую всем любителям ролевых игр старой школы.
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36 of 41 people (88%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
47.2 hrs on record
Posted: December 31, 2014
Early Access Review
I'll start by saying this:
This is easily one of the best RPGs I've ever played. I don't think there's another game out there that captured my interest so quick. But that doesn't tell you much. Let me elaborate.

Age of Decadence is brutal. It's painful. It will kick you while you're down and do it again, and again, and again. Every situation you'll encounter in this game is either going to leave you in a life or death struggle or trying to piece together things you couldn't hope to understand, and that's a good thing. This is not like modern RPGs(i.e. the more recent incarnations of the Falllout Series, Elder Scrolls, Divinity, Underrail, etc) nor is it entirely like those of old(Fallout 1 & 2, Baldur's Gate, etc.). I am reminded of all, I see influences while playing it, but Decadence sticks out on its own. Again, I think it has to do with difficulty.

Decadence hands nothing to you: you pick your character background, assign some basic Stats, and then pick a few skills to upgrade. Character creation leaves you tied to what you make--A strongman swordsman with wind blowing through his ears will still be dumber than a bag of rocks by the end of the game, a persuasive talker who has no combat prowess will consistently get shredded within moments of entering combat. What you make is what you get.

To put it another way, Decadence does not put you in the shoes of the hero. You can die in the first fight very, very easily( I have, multiple times), and I'm sure you will as well. You are very much an everyman, someone thrown into a world that can and will exist with or without you. The only time you're ever going to be anyone of status('Hero', 'Chosen One', 'Scourge of Humanity', 'Demi-god', etc.) is by putting enough people down at your feet through hard-scrabble fights and barely coming through alive. You have to live a legendary life before you can become a legend yourself.

Thereagain, that's assuming you choose to fight at all. This isn't necessarily a combat oriented game--you can talk your way out of things, trick, cheat and steal your way to success--Decadence encourages you, in a way, to avoid messy solutions. In fact, it'll often get you farther in terms of understanding the game world, story, the politics of the world Iron Tower has created and the people and creatures living in it. It'll also leave you cursing yourself as misallocated skill points cost you the opportunity to read that dillapidated scroll in an ancient library, or pull off negotiations with a feuding noble, or figure out a way to talk your way through a horde of angry tribals who want to throw you into a pit with an abomination from ages beyond. It's not any easier, certainly, the life of a silver-tongued devil compared to a battle-scarred warrior.

Sounds rather difficult, right? For people who have some kind of enjoyment of punishment and pain?

This game will teach you to enjoy failure. Half the fun will be trying again, in dealing with the failure. There are moments, certainly, where things get to be a little ridiculous(I wasn't very happy when I had to trash my first character partway through) but once you get into the game, things move quick. Trying again isn't so bad after you know what to do, how to maximize your effectiveness in the playstyle you shoot for. And sometimes, you'll just have to reload and try again, and hope the rolls are kinder to you, that your hits land this time and that four-armed monstrosity you're fighting stops landing criticals every hit for the past twenty loads in a row.

Furthermore, it's very, very hard to make a decent jack-of-all-trades character, let alone an expert in everything. Honestly, it's hard to go purely for combat, or social skills, and so on. It takes some maneuvering to get your skills where you need them when you need them. More often than not, you'll be reloading or restarting entirely, trying to find out the best order to do things, the best way to spend your points, the best options to choose in each situation so you don't hit a brick wall later on, finding out you literally cannot progress past a certain point because of errors in character building.

Going off the jack of all trades, to fully experience the game, you(probably) will have to make multiple characters. At the moment, I've got a mercenary/warrior character with some light social skills and a character who is built entirely around understanding the ancient history of the gameworld(there is actually a skill for this in game, called "lore", and it's rather useful) as well as persuasion and the like. I'm probably going to have to make another one, and one more, and so on to really get the full picture. You will too, and probably will want to. Each character has a very different story, a very different interaction with the world: you'll need quite a few to get a good picture of it all.

Speaking of the world, the "bigger picture": This game has some serious writing behind it. It, quite simply, turns your expectation from a possibly predicatable RPG storyline to feeling like your reading a novel that's just setting the stage for an entire series. There's a huge meta-plot going on beyond the actions of your character--the story becomes as much about the world your exploring and its history as it does about your character's journey through it and it left me craving more. In fact, I made that lore-based character I mentioned earlier solely for the the purpose of digging deeper into the realm presented. Like the inhabitants of the world of Age of Decadence, I wanted to find out more about the fantastic world they lived in, what happened to it, and how exactly it got to where it is now.

At the time of writing this review, the game is still in early access, and we're waiting on a big update to wrap up the exisiting questlines, locations and so on. So, be aware you might not be able finish the game right yet if you buy this in early 2015. However, there is so much content you won't get bored while waiting. Best of all, you can(probably) use your previous saves in future updates--barring any serious scripting errors that might arise in the future with updates and so on, older saves seem to be pretty compatible with new versions of the game.

All in all, I am very happy with my purchase(I've owned this game four or five days and already have 30-40 hours in it) and I can't recommend it more. Well worth the price.

If you have any doubts, try the demo first. It's there and is a good representation of the gameplay. Also, try reading the forums and asking around if you're not sure--the community is very friendly, as are the developers.

TL;DR version:

Do you like difficult, challenging RPGs with great writing that encourage that force you to learn from your failed attempts and turns it into something enjoyable?

Then buy it.

Oh, one last thing: Save like a madman! You're going to die soon.
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38 of 46 people (83%) found this review helpful
30.0 hrs on record
Posted: October 20, 2014
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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34 of 40 people (85%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
4.5 hrs on record
Posted: January 14
Early Access Review
You will know true decadence as you recline on a sofa of the finest writing as a nubile young choice hand-picks consequences and places them in your mouth and you watch nearly naked turn based combat fight for your enjoyment. You clap your hands to advance the festivities and are then treated to a unique setting singing for you and a roasted in-depth character skill system is brought in.
Mid way through the event you feel sick and rush to the bathroom, only to void your bowels as your character dies over and over again. But it's alright, here's a swan for you to wipe yourself off on.

Highly recommended.
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24 of 27 people (89%) found this review helpful
39.3 hrs on record
Posted: January 19
Early Access Review
I disagree with the "old-school RPG" label that some people give this great game. At least when comparing to games like Baldur's Gate 1 & 2, Icewind Dale, etc. which are often mentioned as said "old-school RPG". This game is called "hard" by many people, but I don't think this describes it properly either.

First and foremost it is a game set in an apocalyptic, fall-of-the-Roman-Empire inspired low fantasy setting. In such a dystopian world human lives don't matter much to most people - except, of course, their own ones. This is the atmosphere you should expect when entering this game: Most people are unhelpful, will try to cheat you and use you for their own selfish purposes, and in such cases the game rewards a character dedicated to specific skills of two categories: either "civil" or "combat". For example, when you meet a friendly guy who wants to show you something 'at his house', your "Streetwise" skill (if it is high enough) will kick in, and tell you that something isn't right. This will give you an extra dialog option to leave or at least ask an inquisitive question. You can also be a thief, who breaks into peoples homes to steal their valuables, but just make sure that you have the required skills - a sneak skill will allow you to stay unnoticed, but it will not unlock doors or prevent your untimely death by a trap. Finally, if you decide to resort to violence you have a plethora of options to choose from: axes, daggers, crossbows, throwing weapons, spears, swords, hammers, nets, bows etc. all with different versions (for example some axes are huge 2handed with a ton of damage, but a slow speed and little defense, while others will allow you a shield for protection). As if the weapon skills weren't enough you also have the option of choosing different types of defense: Block (with a shield), dodge, and armor, all which can be viable with the right build. Also there is a critical strike skill, which not only works in combat, but also sometimes to quickly end a life without resorting to the fighting part. Above all these skills there are basic attributes, which you only predefine at character creation, but these are also very important in determining your character's strengths (if any) and weaknesses. They are: Strength, Dexterity, Perception, Intelligence and Charisma. Oh, and I forgot to mention that all combat is turn based, while dialog is limited by a certain amount of choices. The "adventure" part of the game is in real time, but as soon as you run into an "event" dialog will be initiated, this still allows you to look ahead at those 5 big guys with axes and hammers and think "Hmmm... I won't go down that road".

Now I started by saying that "hard" isn't a proper word for descriping the game and here is why. While the game will end your life at any point if you don't pay attention to what you are doing, you can also be rewarded if you DO pay attention. Remember to specialize in only a few skills, because a "swashbuckler" all-rounder character is simply not very viable unless you meta-game a lot and have a lot of experience with the game. This is a more realistic experience given the setting than most RPGs which leaves you half-asleep while rushing through enemies and dialogs and even the "ultimate" endboss.

While I consider this game great already, it is still in Early access and this also means a few flaws:
The ability to predict and avoid life threating situations is generally well established (as with the guy who wanted to show you his house-example as written above). However, in a few places something just happens with too few skill options to counter leaving only a very meta-gamed style possible for success in such encounters. Here is a (non-game) example just for illustration: Encounter requires for 1. step 6 crafting skill to succeed, next step will require 3 alchemy or 7 strength, then next one will require 6 intelligence and 5 persuasion. As you can see, these skill checks are sometimes very diverse, but require a very narrowly defined criteria to succeed, and there are rarely any "partial success" or "at least I got out alive" alternatives. This is the second part that people call "hard" but I think it goes in the category "Work in Progress" which this game still is.

Overall it is a good early access game, which is forming up to be a very good finished game. Thanks developers!
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35 of 46 people (76%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
60.5 hrs on record
Posted: November 10, 2014
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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25 of 29 people (86%) found this review helpful
9.0 hrs on record
Posted: February 15
Early Access Review
If you're tired of the overblown, factory-assembled "AAA" games made for the lowest common denominator, and want instead a game that's carefully crafted and well thought out, where both the world and the plot make sense, where the world and its denizens actually react and change in response to your actions, moreover a game that has some real challege and bite to it, this is the game for you. If you're still not sure, at least try the demo.
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24 of 28 people (86%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
75.7 hrs on record
Posted: January 5
Early Access Review
Олдскульная хардкор РПГ без компромиссов. Ближе к Fallout только сам Fallout. Не поддержать рублём - отказаться от олдскул РПГ навсегда. Всё. (60 часов)

Oldschool hardcore RPG without compromises. Closer to Fallout is only Fallout. Not to support means you will not see oldschool RPGs ever again. That's all. (60 hours)
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25 of 30 people (83%) found this review helpful
18.1 hrs on record
Posted: December 19, 2014
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 pissed 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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