The Age of Decadence is a turn-based, hardcore role-playing game set in a low magic, post-apocalyptic fantasy world. The game features a detailed skill-based character system, multiple skill-based ways to handle quests, choices & consequences, and extensive dialogue trees.
User reviews:
Recent:
Very Positive (35 reviews) - 88% of the 35 user reviews in the last 30 days are positive.
Overall:
Very Positive (861 reviews) - 85% of the 861 user reviews for this game are positive.
Release Date: Oct 14, 2015

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Recent updates View all (39)

March 26

What's Next?



First, we’d like to thank you for your support. When we launched our game on Steam, we didn’t know what to expect. The Age of Decadence is a hardcore RPG that requires the player to forget everything they learned playing mass-market-friendly RPGs and approach it differently, which, in all fairness, is a lot to ask for.

We were prepared for the worst – ready to say “at least we tried” and go back to less exciting ways to make a living – but your support and open-mindedness ensured our survival as a studio and gave us confidence to continue and experiment with game design.

We’re a small studio. Our games will never sell hundreds of thousands of copies, which is fine, because we aren’t in it for the money. We want to make games that nobody else would (precisely because such games would never sell hundreds of thousands of copies) and with and because of your help we can do it.

Thank you. Again.

So what to expect in the near and not so near future?

The Age of Decadence

As our next “full-scale” RPG won’t be ready until 2020, we’ll continue tweaking and improving AoD, ensuring that there’s always something new for the returning players.

The next update will be released in a week or so and will contain:

  • Huge performance boost in Ganezzar, minor boosts in other locations
  • Animation speed now goes up to 4x.
  • Separate animation speed for combat and exploration
  • If a crossbow is loaded, a new icon shows the number of loaded bolts in the inventory screen.
  • Pressing "R" reloads the last used bolts in crossbows.
  • Option to hide skill tags in dialogues.
  • New camera option: follow the player’s character.
  • Separate camera modes for combat and exploration. For example, the camera can follow the player while moving in real time and switch to free camera in combat.

The Dungeon Crawler

Our short-term project is a dungeon crawler set in the AoD world. It's a combat-heavy, party-based RPG for people who like our combat system and want to play it in a party-based mode. It will use the existing engine, systems, and assets, although new creatures, animations, weapons and armor are being added as we speak.

We'll introduce it properly in a couple of months.

The Colony Ship RPG

Our long-term project is a colony ship RPG inspired by Heinlein’s Orphans of the Sky. We want this game to feel and play differently from AoD. The core design (turn-based, choices & consequences, non-linear, text-heavy) would remain the same.
  • Character System

    Expect the same 6 stats (Str, Dex, Con, Int, Per, Cha) and 18 skills grouped in sets of three:

    • Melee (Fist, Bladed, Blunt)
    • Firearms (Pistol, Shotgun, SMG)
    • Energy Weapons (Pistol, Rifle, Cannon)
    • Science (Medical, Mechanical, Computer)
    • Speech (Persuasion, Streetwise, Trading)
    • Stealth (Lockpick, Pickpocket, Sneak)

  • Party-Based.

    It’s a fundamental change that affects every design aspect, most notably content “gating”. If you have 3-4 party members, most likely you’ll have all skills covered.

    Charisma will determine the number and quality of your party members. The party size will range from 2 to 5. Experience points from quests will be split between the human party members (a droid will have its own leveling up mechanics and won't cost you any XP), thus a smaller party will be able to gain levels faster.

  • Party Dynamics

    Typically, RPG party members serve a purely tactical role, giving your more bodies to control in combat and access to different combat abilities. In a sense, you’re role-playing an entire squad as outside of combat there is very little (if any) difference between the character you created and the characters you’ve recruited or created next.

    It works great in RPGs that are mostly about combat, but calls for a different approach when it comes to non-combat gameplay. The main problem is that party members offer nothing but combat benefits (occasionally, freaky sex to relieve combat stress and party banter), giving you very few reasons to treat party members any differently than the main character.

    In short, the problem is that in most RPGs party members are mindless zombies lacking any free will, agenda, goals, etc – the very qualities that separate an actual “character” from a zombie. Thus, our main design goal is to create proper characters that have a will of their own, as well as agendas, beliefs, goals, and other infuriating qualities.

    Unlike the player’s character, the party members will have a complex personality & beliefs system that would determine their reaction. Most likely these stats will remain hidden from the player and you’d have to figure out what you’re dealing with by talking to them and observing how they act/react.

    We're planning to go with 10 traits (values ranging from -5 to +5) strictly for the purpose of reacting to different situations and the PC's choices.

    • Religion (-5 means raging atheist, +5 means true believer)
    • Politics (-5 filthy liberal, +5 glorious conservative)
    • Loyalty (-5 treacherous scum, +5 loyal to a fault)
    • Volatile (-5 comatose, +5 always ready to fly off the handle)
    • Connving (-5 honest abe, +5 Miltiades)
    • Opportunist (-5 a man of principles, +5 what are principles?)
    • Idealism (-5 cynic, +5 starry-eyed idealist)
    • Greed (-5 above money, +5 can quote Gordon Gekko)
    • Altruism (-5 selfish bastard, +5 For the Greater Good!)
    • Agreeable (-5 doesn't play well with others, +5 gets along with Hitler)

  • Feats & Character Levels

    Your characters will gain levels using experience points from quests. When you level up, you’ll select feats, unlocking or improving your abilities. The feats will be an important aspect of character development (i.e. they won’t give you minor bonuses but help you develop your characters along specific paths: lone wolf vs squad leader, offense vs defense, gunslinger vs sprayer or gadgeteer, melee vs ranged, which will go beyond which skill to develop, etc) and make as much of a difference as the skills levels.

    We want the skills to determine your chance of success with certain tasks and the feats to define what you can do and how you can use these skills to maximum advantage. For example, not every guy with points in Pistol is a gunslinger, not every guy who travels alone is a Jeremiah Johnson when it comes to survival, etc. Basically, the feats will define your character much more than your skills.

  • Skills & Learn by Using

    You will not gain XP for killing, talking, sneaking, picking locks, using computers, fixing mechanical things and such. You will not increase your skills manually. Instead your skills will be increased automatically based on their use.

    Instead of counting how many times you did something, we’ll assign a certain value (let’s call it learning points) to each activity (attacking, killing, fixing, sneaking, convincing, lying, etc). So killing a tough enemy or repairing a reactor will net you more points than killing a weakling or fixing a toaster. Basically, it will work the same way as XP but go directly toward raising a skill that did all the work.

  • Gadgets

    While melee builds will be viable, most enemies will use guns. Ranged combat will be dull if everyone just stands there, firing their weapons and dodging bullets. It needs cover but we don’t want to place cover everywhere, which means we need gadgets to make your own cover (among other things):
    • Depletable energy shield (absorbs x damage)
    • Reality distortion field (THC penalty against you)
    • Optical illusion a-la Total Recall (chance that enemies will target the illusion)
    • Cloaking field aka Stealth Boy
    • Stasis field (holds enemy, no damage can be dealt)
    • Brainwave Disruptor (don’t leave your home without Psychic Nullifier)

    Expect 10-12 gadgets with 3-4 upgrade levels.

  • Factions

    While factions will get a lot of attention and play a large role, you won’t join a faction but will remain an outsider, free to work for and deal with all factions, which fits the setting better as these factions aren’t guilds but different hubs. However, many quests would have conflicting interests and reputation would play a stronger and more immediate role than it did in AoD, so you won’t be able to please everyone for long.

    In addition to your reputation, which will play a much bigger role in the game (the main quest is sort of built around it), we’ll add two important stats that will be affected by your actions: faction strength & morale (your actions might increase or lower both or increase one and lower the other). More on that in the future updates.

Here are the first 3 design updates if you wish to read more:

Setting Overview

Party Dynamics

System Changes

Again, thank you for your support and encouragement. If you’re interested in AoD, buy it today while it’s on sale to support the games we're working on. If you aren’t sure whether or not the game is for you, read this overview first:

http://steamcommunity.com/games/aod/announcements/detail/79169731941085705

83 comments Read more

February 3

A Bit Of Everything



The update contains a lot of things that were requested by the players:

1) A Stash!

As requested, a stash to store your ill-gotten gains. Rent a room at any inn and get a magic chest that will follow you everywhere (i.e. to the inn in the next city).

2) Sneaking & Stealing

As requested, more opportunities to ply your shady crafts. Stealing from sleeping inn patrons and merchant stalls is now a thing.

3) Spearman's Kit

As requested, a one-handed spear with a longer reach. It comes with a fancy buckler, a well-crafted blue steel helmet that doesn't restrict your vision, and its current owner. Enjoy!







To get your hands on that kit you have to bravely enter a tavern in the Arena district and challenge a dreadful pirate currently terrorizing the peaceful patrons. Are you bad enough dude to save the patrons and claim the villain’s spear for yourself?

4) Trading Cards.

As requested, now you can trade cards and craft your very own badge (or two). Steam gave us hard time ensuring that the divine badge is up to the code and meets the highest requirements (shines like the North Star on a dark night), so hope you won't be disappointed.


One of the badges

5) Expanded Endings

If you always wanted to know what the Zamedi demon is up to (and other memorable characters you've met on your journey), well, now you can. As requested.

6) Camera & Interface Resolutions

As requested, the camera's code has been updated and now it's much smoother. Don't expect any miracles but it's better than before. Plus we added higher resolutions support for the interface.

7) Minor things

Several new characters, text descriptions, bug fixes, improved textures and models, minor balance tweaks.

Thanks for playing.

34 comments Read more

Reviews

“Age of Decadence is an RPG to its core. It offers the player a wealth of choices, many of them carrying lofty consequences along with them. The core design element of player choice transcends simple dialogue choices, as players can progress through the game in a variety of styles. Many games offer up the illusion of choice while failing to actually deliver, but Age of Decadence serves up difficult and tangible crossroads with no looking back. It may have some rough spots, but it is one of the most well-designed RPGs I have had the pleasure of enjoying.”
9/10 – Destructoid

“But Age of Decadence wants nothing to do with kobolds, just as it wants nothing to do with Doo-dads of Unimaginable Power. The overarching idea is a crumbling society divided among three noble Houses, each fumbling around in its own version of darkness to comprehend what destroyed the world. That’s the central mystery. It plays out like noir in that you are the detective, piecing together what really happened from differing accounts, all vividly written with clear voices and efficient prose. And like a detective in a noir yarn, you can’t help but become part of the central mystery, effecting an outcome you might not have intended. Age of Decadence might run away from you.”
4/5 – Quarter to Three

“The Age of Decadence is a dream game from fans of the purest form of cRPG to others. An very interesting narrative driven title with a superb C&C system in place, a well meditated combat system and a world and inhabitants that keep surprising you at every step.”
9/10 – Meristation

About This Game

The Age of Decadence, our first but hopefully not the last RPG, is now available. If you've been following it or playing it in Early Access, you know what to expect. If you've just discovered it, "stay awhile and listen". The most commonly asked question is:

What Kind of Game Is It?


It’s a very different game than anything you’ve ever played. I’m sure you’ve noticed that the RPG genre hasn’t really been explored yet and most RPGs follow the formula that didn’t change in 20 years. While there were always games that strayed off the beaten path – Darklands, Planescape: Torment, King of Dragon Pass – such games were the exceptions that only reinforced the rule.

The Age of Decadence is an experiment, an attempt to explore a different direction, taking you back to the PnP roots of the genre. It doesn’t mean that the game is awesome. In fact, there is a good chance that you won’t like it, precisely because we took too many liberties with the established design.

So What Sets The Age of Decadence Apart From Other Games?

1. The Setup


Traditionally, many fantasy RPGs are about killing things, clearing up dungeons, and being a hero. There is nothing wrong with mindless fun and wish fulfillment, but we want to offer you something different. To quote Tom Chick (Quarter to Three's game critic):

"But Age of Decadence wants nothing to do with kobolds, just as it wants nothing to do with Doo-dads of Unimaginable Power. The overarching idea is a crumbling society divided among three noble Houses, each fumbling around in its own version of darkness to comprehend what destroyed the world. That’s the central mystery. It plays out like noir in that you are the detective, piecing together what really happened from differing accounts, all vividly written with clear voices and efficient prose. And like a detective in a noir yarn, you can’t help but become part of the central mystery, effecting an outcome you might not have intended."

The Age of Decadence is not a game about killing monsters or exploring mystical lands, but rather, surviving amid the greed and brutality of your fellow humans and carving out a name for yourself. Good and bad are purely relative. It’s a world of scheming and backstabbing in which your words and actions have the potential to forge alliances and sow discord, and your path is never certain.

You get to play with seven different factions: three Noble Houses and four 'professional' guilds: merchants, assassins, thieves, and the army, all fighting for power or influence; over 100 named characters, over 750 ‘generic’ characters with unique IDs taking part in violent take-overs, assassinations, and power grabs, and over 600,000 words of dialogue: a well-developed and thought through world, believable characters, realistic motivations, but no elves, dwarves, magic, and wizards in fashionable, pointy hats.

2. Combat difficulty


Another design aspect worth mentioning is combat difficulty. It’s a hard game.

Combat difficulty is integrated into the setting. You can’t say that the world is harsh and unforgiving and then let the player kill everyone who looks at him or her funny. The game has to be hard, dying should be easy, and you should have reasons to pick your fights.

You aren’t a powerful hero who can defeat anyone and save the world and it is the difficulty that reinforces this notion. Make the game easier and we’re back to the powerful hero setup. So unless you’re a natural born killer, watch what you say and think before you act or you’ll end up dead before you can blink.

3. Choices & Consequences


Choices are what the game is all about - crafting your own narrative via a variety of choices that alter the story, playing field, and your options down the road. From multiple quest solutions to branching questlines you'll have plenty decisions to make and consequences of said decisions to deal with, which is what makes the game incredibly replayable.

Starting the game as a mercenary and joining the Imperial Guards will give a completely different experience, different quests, different content and points of view than, say, playing the game as a merchant (less buying low and selling high, more scheming and plotting to gain advantages for the guild), a praetor serving a Noble House, or an assassin.

The questlines are interwoven, forming a large, overarching story, so playing the game only once will be like witnessing events from a single perspective, which is limited by default. You will have to play the game several times to better understand what’s going on, piece everything together, and see the full effect of the choices you make.

The Big Question: Should You Buy The Game?


Try before you buy. Even if everything I said sounds exactly like your kind of game, try the demo first. That’s what it’s there for. It gives you access to the first Chapter, consisting of 3 locations and about 30 quests split between mutually exclusive questlines and decisions.

System Requirements

    Minimum:
    • OS: Windows XP/Vista/Windows 7/Windows 8/Windows 10
    • 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
    • Storage: 1900 MB available space
    Recommended:
    • OS: Windows 7/Windows 8/Windows 10
    • 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
    • Storage: 1900 MB available space
Customer reviews
Customer Review system updated! Learn more
Recent:
Very Positive (35 reviews)
Overall:
Very Positive (861 reviews)
Recently Posted
redworld
( 11.5 hrs on record )
Posted: June 23
Very interesting game. Combat is brutal and difficult, so patience is key. However its always fun to play a game that you can talk you're way through. Intriguing world that unfortunaly (imo) didnt have the best characters. Well worth a try, kudos to the devs!
Helpful? Yes No Funny
sundog1
( 16.0 hrs on record )
Posted: June 19
Didn't really like being alone, i like companions...but still a breath of fresh air in a *stagnant dumbed down by mass appeal marketing pressure, RPG market*. Well done for making a game for the right reasons!
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Brimund
( 16.6 hrs on record )
Posted: June 13
I make dude with good spear use and good dodge. He bad ♥♥♥. With his help Cado steals 50 000 euros from local government. We have to get gold out of city. We kill many mobs of useless poor people, then we kill two trained guards at the gate.

But there is crossbowman up on wall. I go get him, get hit a bunch but buddies follow me. With their help we kill the crossbowman. I rejoice and steal his 5 yen. then i go to stairs to leave to next part...

Cant leave because buddies are in the way. I cant talk to them... I cant move them... I come to the conclusion that this is where I will die.

9/10 would starve by allies again.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Leotsu
( 38.6 hrs on record )
Posted: June 11
Great idea, great concept, good writing. Problem is your put into too many situations where you have to save scum just to get by.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Cognitive
( 0.6 hrs on record )
Posted: June 11
Feels cumbersome to play. It reminds me much of Divinity Original Sin, which I prefer instead.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Darkmoore
( 39.5 hrs on record )
Posted: June 8
As far as isometric role playing games, this one is not your father's Baldur’s Gate. I actually found it very easy to slip into the role of my character. You are not a great fighter who is going to change the world with your sword. You are a complete novice in whatever role you play. While you can make your character great and able, you alone are not going to move the mountain with your shoulder and sword.

Deep thought, craftiness, and planning are absolutely necessary for the end game. You will restart this game more than once when you hit that brick wall of the fight you just can’t win.

Virtue means very little in this game. A grafter with a swift tongue can move just as fast as an assassin with a swift blade. The right points in conversation and skills can assist more than the best gear. Attention to detail is an absolute lifesaver.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Verkkosissi
( 120.9 hrs on record )
Posted: June 2
This is just awesome. Combat is hard but nothing you can´t handle with good combat skills, bombs, poisons, alchemical fires and couple of loads.

Wating the developers new project
Helpful? Yes No Funny
m.kernahan.mk
( 30.8 hrs on record )
Posted: May 29
Someone keeps harrassing me about my review so here is my review plain and simple. ♥♥♥♥ this stupid game and ugly ♥♥♥♥ing graphics. It is worse graphically than Final Fantasy Tactics.. I thought it was 2016... didnt realise I had to be nice to companies I gave money to. ♥♥♥♥ this game.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Frigidfrost
( 14.8 hrs on record )
Pre-Release Review
Posted: May 27
Imma try a review in one sentence.

-A very immersive, brutal, challenging, intelligent, and unique indie RPG that is a must buy if you like all the above in an RPG.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Allan003
( 27.9 hrs on record )
Posted: May 27
I don't usually rate games... but when I do, it's because they are good. 9/10 (I NEVER give 10/10)
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Most Helpful Reviews  In the past 30 days
14 of 17 people (82%) found this review helpful
Recommended
39.5 hrs on record
Posted: June 8
As far as isometric role playing games, this one is not your father's Baldur’s Gate. I actually found it very easy to slip into the role of my character. You are not a great fighter who is going to change the world with your sword. You are a complete novice in whatever role you play. While you can make your character great and able, you alone are not going to move the mountain with your shoulder and sword.

Deep thought, craftiness, and planning are absolutely necessary for the end game. You will restart this game more than once when you hit that brick wall of the fight you just can’t win.

Virtue means very little in this game. A grafter with a swift tongue can move just as fast as an assassin with a swift blade. The right points in conversation and skills can assist more than the best gear. Attention to detail is an absolute lifesaver.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
4 of 5 people (80%) found this review helpful
Recommended
16.0 hrs on record
Posted: June 19
Didn't really like being alone, i like companions...but still a breath of fresh air in a *stagnant dumbed down by mass appeal marketing pressure, RPG market*. Well done for making a game for the right reasons!
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
7 of 11 people (64%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
Recommended
120.9 hrs on record
Posted: June 2
This is just awesome. Combat is hard but nothing you can´t handle with good combat skills, bombs, poisons, alchemical fires and couple of loads.

Wating the developers new project
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
9 of 15 people (60%) found this review helpful
Recommended
14.8 hrs on record
Pre-Release Review
Posted: May 27
Imma try a review in one sentence.

-A very immersive, brutal, challenging, intelligent, and unique indie RPG that is a must buy if you like all the above in an RPG.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
2 of 3 people (67%) found this review helpful
Recommended
11.5 hrs on record
Posted: June 23
Very interesting game. Combat is brutal and difficult, so patience is key. However its always fun to play a game that you can talk you're way through. Intriguing world that unfortunaly (imo) didnt have the best characters. Well worth a try, kudos to the devs!
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
Most Helpful Reviews  Overall
313 of 332 people (94%) found this review helpful
20 people found this review funny
Recommended
34.4 hrs on record
Posted: October 17, 2015
I have to admit on first glance this game does not seem appealing due to many factors but after deciding to give the game a go I have to admit it is one of the most broad RPGs ive seen in a long time.
To explain what I mean by broad, at the start of the game you chose to play one of roughly 8 classes and then build your character with combat skills and civil skills.
For an example you can build a mercenary who is actually a lover not a fighter, an merchant who responds to denial with an axe to the face and many other combinations.

One of my favourites is playing a grifter/con man and taking the skills impersonate, streetwise and persuasion.
With that character I was roaming around town and conning people into thinking I was the messiah, a noble, a merchant lord, a soldier, an imperial envoy, some friendly stranger and pretty much anything I need to be.
Your class and skills dictate how you need to play the game as you cannot be a little of everything, for example with my grifter if I ever went into combat I would die in 2 rounds since he was not well suited for combat.
But if I dressed as a bandit, convinced the leader to parley, went to the lord of the area and told him about a possibility to kill 2 birds with one stone then went back to the bandit leader and convinced him to attack an enemy of the local lord getting both sides killed in the process to find the bandit leader still alive in the end begging for his money just to slit his throat makes up for the fact that my grifter couldnt actually fight.

This game can be very cruel to people who are the usual goody-2-shoes, in fact the game hates that architype and out right punishes you with unwinnable fights, people backstabbing you every second until you are finally broken and ready to look after yourself and do what you have to do to survive.

So if you enjoy Fallout (1 and 2) like games with tons of replayability and many ways to survive be it masquerading, lying, killing, poisoning, backstabbing, talking your way out of trouble or just plain paying other people to do your dirty work then I would highly recommend this game especially if you ever wanted to RP a social character and actually never have to fight anyone in the game.
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
222 of 253 people (88%) found this review helpful
Recommended
17.3 hrs on record
Early Access Review
Posted: November 26, 2013
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).
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
249 of 293 people (85%) found this review helpful
99 people found this review funny
Recommended
49.1 hrs on record
Posted: October 14, 2015
Nice game, interesting lore, belivable characters.
One tip : no matter what your mom told you, you can not be anything you want to, so spend points wisely, use real life logic and youl be fine (probably)
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
160 of 185 people (86%) found this review helpful
3 people found this review funny
Recommended
108.6 hrs on record
Early Access Review
Posted: November 30, 2013
In brief: AoD ditches many of the genre long established staples to focus on the roleplaying, and this it does amazingly well; there really is nothing quite like it out there. The EA version is very much playable (there are less bugs than in many releases). The combat, which has been much the focus of attention due to its difficulty, is not awesome, but it gets the job done and it is optional.

***Since for some reason Steam has decided to implement a character limit to user reviews (what's up with that Gabe?), you can read my whole review here: http:// http://steamcommunity.com/app/230070/discussions/0/666827315713399977/ , but below is a very long extract:

AoD is a turn based cRPG set in a post-apocalyptic low magic/low tech world. So naturally one might think that this is something like Fallout in a “fantasy” (as opposed to sci-fy) setting. But it’s not and both games suffer from this comparison.

So, if it’s not Fallout in a low fantasy setting, then what is AoD? The best way to approach this is by considering that cRPGs tend to be very long games, with the first playthrough taking at least 20-30 hours. A first playthrough of AoD EA version, which according to the devs contains about 60% of the final content of the game, can take anywhere between an hour and 5 hours. However, while in the typical cRPG you see about 80% of the content in the first playthrough, in AoD you see anywhere between 5% and 15%.

This has a huge impact on how you are meant to play the game, the importance of which cannot be understated. It took me a long time to realize this, despite warnings from other players and the devs on the forum. You are not meant to constantly save the game and load it when you die or when something goes wrong. If you do this, paradoxically, the game becomes much more difficult and frustrating than it is, particularly when it comes to combat. This is because you can’t compensate through luck “bad” playing character stats, as AoD gives very little margin to luck. The problem is that at first it might seem exactly the opposite, because even though the to hit chances (expressed as a %) are low, you think “if I get a bit lucky with a couple of hits, I can pull this off”. But the outcome is not decided by a few very lucky rolls: you have to be consistently better than your opponent (e.g. not like in Fallout, where you can finish or disable an opponent with a single lucky shot). But, not realizing this at first, you save before a combat and reload when you fail, which you will do again and again. I’ll return to the combat in AoD in more detail later.

So how does the game play? Essentially you move your PC around in a fully 3d isometric view. Combat is never automatically triggered; it is always preceded by a dialogue window, more often than not giving you the chance to avoid it. You can talk to NPCs, examine some objects in the environment, or very occasionally pick up “loot” on the map. You don’t “hunt” for containers, checking every pixel for chests, drawers, bag, barrels, etc. You don’t worry about enemies spotting you, you can’t “turn on” sneak, there are no traps, pool of poisonous green goo to avoid, etc. The main view is, so to speak, just a convenient tool for showing how the world is and what is around you, allowing for some exploration and generally getting the character from one place to another. You can also use a map for convenient quick travel, and many times in a dialogue you have the option to appear directly in the place you want to go to. The meat of the game is in dialogues with NPCs, text adventures and combat.

As to the dialogues and the text adventures, their outcome depends a lot on PC stats, to a lesser degree on prior game choices and occasionally on equipment. And they are very good! Actually, they are so good that it is very rewarding to play a PC who doesn’t get into a single combat (yes, you can definitely play through the whole game without having any combat encounters at all). They are generally very well written (minor criticism: the swearing arsenal seems limited to the f word, which makes me miss Annah and Morte from Planescape Torment), the NPCs descriptions, motivations and actions are very solid and follow an iron logic action-consequence pattern, the PC has many different options when approaching them and more often than not they allow for a lot of roleplaying and expressing how your PC is. The mechanics themselves are unremarkable, but what AoD manages to accomplish through them is brilliant.

A warning though: because the outcome of both dialogues and text adventures is largely determined by skill checks (e.g. you must have a persuasion of 4 to convince an NPC) and as a player you have no way of knowing what level of skill you must have to pass it (it’s not shown in the text and you can’t possibly derive the exact number from the context), at first you might feel very frustrated that you don’t get the best outcome (or even fail, which in some cases means outright dying) because of something so silly and arbitrary. But it’s part of the game design that every PC can only get the best outcome in some cases and that you die a lot. Remember that each playthrough is relatively short; this is not Dragon Age where you invest 50 hours in building a PC. AoD is meant to be replayed many-many times, and the story and the world come together as you replay the game following different paths and failing in many of them . I can’t stress this enough: you gain insight into the story, the NPCs and the setting when your PC fails/dies, thus losing is an integral part of playing AoD.

As to combat, as I mentioned earlier, there is very little luck involved. If you face an opponent against whom your stats and equipment compare unfavorably (not in absolute, but relative terms, i.e. your stats and equipment don’t allow you to have an advantage over your opponent) you will lose. Again and again and again. The room for tactics in combat is also quite limited: there is positioning (counterintuitively, this usually means getting yourself into a corner where you are attacked by the fewest number of opponents at the same time), armor, quite a few different attacks (but ultimately not that different between them) and some variations between weapons of the same class and some auxiliary thingies you can use (like nets and alchemy bombs, but not much more, at least in the current version). Breaking it down, I think it would be fair to say that the outcome of combat depends mostly on the stats and equipment, somewhat on tactics, and very marginally on luck.

Personally, even though now I feel quite comfortable with combat in AoD (I better, after sinking so many hours into it) and I don’t find it too difficult or frustrating, I’m not thrilled by it. It does get the job done and it’s important to realize that without a very serious investment in AI, the most practical way of making combat hard (as is part of the game design) is to make it dependent on stats and populating the world with opponents with high stats. If tactics played a larger role, a human player would have a huge advantage over the AI controlled NPCs, which would go against the whole philosophy of the game.

Fortunately, you can play AoD without ever getting into combat. To avoid it you just have to be cautious in your dialogues and text adventures, which means as a rule of thumb behaving as you would in a real life situation (e.g. if you see some thugs, don’t approach them; if they ask you for money, give it to them). The best thing that can be said about combat in AoD is that it does succeed in making combat a very dangerous business that one should avoid unless very confident about his or her martial skills. (..,)
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148 of 170 people (87%) found this review helpful
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Recommended
133.6 hrs on record
Posted: October 14, 2015
Very much an old school rpg. No quest markers, lots of (pretty good) dialogue, plenty of stuff to discover. Its turn based combat is pretty darn brutal when you first start playing the game, you need to specialise and learn the system. I can certainly see some people getting frustrated with it and giving up, but it's fairly satisfying once you get the hang of it.

Of course, you can build an entirely non-combat character and get through the entire game without ever having to lift a weapon. There's tons of skill and dialogue and reputation based options to use, but again you need to specialise.

The game really does change depending on which faction you align with, so it's good for more than one playthrough. It's certainly worth a buy if you like old turn based rpgs.

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