Post-Imperial Play: Age Of Decadence Demo

By Adam Smith on December 6th, 2012 at 5:00 pm.

I barely scratched the surface of the Age of Decadence demo when it was released so when I received word from Iron Tower that a new version was available, with all kinds of additions and fixes, I thought it might be a perfect opportunity to revisit. And so I did, only to realise that even the surface is the sort of thing I’d have to scratch at until my fingers were blood-encrusted nubs of bone to form a proper opinion. I’ve played the opening sections with two different character classes and there’s a staggering variety in dialogue, choices and skills. This is shaping up to be the sort of RPG people often complain ‘they don’t make anymore’, or Kickstart with wild abandon. I urge you to try it.

The main addition to the new demo is the alchemy system, which I haven’t even tried yet because I was too busy grifting and charming my way across town. I’m not sure about the teleporting effect that occasionally plonks my character down wherever a quest needs him to be, although I can imagine being quite grateful for it as the world grows wider, but the dialogue and setting are extremely intriguing.

Perhaps the thing that I enjoy the most is that the world, a patchwork of factions in the ruins of a powerful empire, has the sense of history rather than fantasy. It’s an unreal history and steeped in myth, but the dangers of unquestioning admiration for a former age and the anxiety that can grow from cultural memories are both themes that Age of Decadence seems ready to tackle. The small portion I’ve played touches on that but also manages to provide choices that make for a personal story. I was genuinely taken aback by how different the same events play out when the player character is clothed in a different class, with all the abilities and assumptions that come with it.

You can download the demo from the links provided here.

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31 Comments »

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  1. Unaco says:

    Age of Decadence eh? More like… Ages in Development. Thank you, thank you… I’ll be here all week. Please, try the veal.

    • dE says:

      Mon dieu… beautiful. Work of Art. Extravaganza extraordinaire. It’s the Age of Renaissance for the Arts! Chapeau.

      • rebeccaadams15 says:

        Grace. you think Peggy`s remark is exceptional, yesterday I got a new BMW M3 when I got my cheque for $9829 this-past/five weeks and over 10-k last-month. without a doubt its the most comfortable work I’ve ever done. I started this five months/ago and almost immediately started making a nice minimum $70 per/hr. I follow instructions here..Read More

    • -Maelig- says:

      This. I’m still unconvinced the final game will come out in my lifetime.

    • luukdeman111 says:

      Please everybody! Stop whining about games going through a long development…. It only makes games better (mostly) I mean… just look at masterpieces like L.A Noire, Dwarf Fortress and Black Mesa!

      Why are you people always complaining! One company throws games out the door too quickly, the other takes too much time….. Just stop whining and let those teams take their time too provide something good for us!

      • ZIGS says:

        You forgot Duke Nukem For*gets shot*

      • Unaco says:

        Who is whining, apart from you? Who is complaining, apart from you? This is RPS, and my post was a pun. Part of the grand and great tradition of puns here at RPS. A pun that I’ve been working on for probably as long as Vince has been working on this.

        • Ancient Algae says:

          Who was whining and complaining apart from everyone again?

      • Fattsanta says:

        Its too bad LA Noire was garbage.

      • Hahaha says:

        Can we put you forward for the official pun combo killer?

    • D3xter says:

      I looked up the RPGs of 2013 lately and came up with this:
      The Banner Saga (February 2013), South Park: The Stick of Truth (March 2013), Divinity: Original Sin (May 2013), Shadowrun Returns (June 2013), Grim Dawn (August 2013), Wasteland 2 (October 2013), Age of Decadence (October 2013), Dead State (December 2013)

      So it shall be!

      • Lawful Evil says:

        *takes a screenshot of your post*

        Sometimes it’s difficult to keep track of them all, and one needs to save some money in advance, so he doesn’t end up just reading the review and the comments, without being able to play the game(s)…

      • Koshinator says:

        I probably wouldn’t list Grim Dawn as an RPG.. unless you are counting ARPG as well.. in that case add the Path of Exile Open beta in January

    • sektor666 says:

      it’s still going to come out before genRogue

      • Supahewok says:

        Hmm. I’ve tried looking for an original start of development date, but the best I can get is an inference of only mid-90’s.

        So let me fix it. It’s still going to come out before genRogue Grimoire.

  2. InternetBatman says:

    I appreciated a lot about the demo when I played it. The skill system seemed rock solid, and the way they worked skill checks naturally and believably into the world at every opportunity is a great achievement. I didn’t enjoy the writing at all though, and the graphics are bit dated.

    I would like to see them succeed and then pick up more professionals (like the Mitsodas) to build more on a solid foundation.

    • Imbecile says:

      I actually did like the writing, but found the hopping about and making choices made it feel like a whole different kind of game that was closer to some kind of strangely abrupt dialogue focussed adventure/RPG. That may have changed slightly – I’ve not played the most recent version of the demo.

  3. The Smilingknight says:

    Age of Decadence demo will make your chest hair stronger.

    Writing is pretty, pretty solid actually. And Chris Avellone thinks so too.
    – just to nail it in a bit more -

  4. Premium User Badge

    Smashbox says:

    Is this the one they’re building Dead State on top of?

  5. Demiath says:

    As far as old school RPGs go I prefer the party-based combat-heavy stuff over the fancy choices & consequences-heavy Fallout 1&2-style “roleplaying” that Age of Decadence is so clearly going for, but I’ve been consistently impressed by the depth and maturity of Iron Tower’s project ever since I first read about it in 2008 (also, I have already invested $60 in the project via that flexible funding “this is totally not a Kickstarter” pre-order thing they had a while back). Occasionally the writing is somewhat horrible, though, which is worrying given the emphasis on storytelling and character interaction…

  6. njolnin says:

    Something about the demo just didn’t click with me, despite attractive visuals in a unique setting. The minute to minute writing also seems pretty good. Although the combat was a chore and the skill system was a bit dense, that shouldn’t be enough to deter me.

    I think that the introduction to the game world was poor, and I felt little stake in what was going on. After playing it a bit, I really couldn’t care what happened next. Of course, the game still seems far from release, but as is I plan on skipping it.

    Edit: The comparison to Fallout 1 and 2 may be apt. I couldn’t get into those games, either.

  7. BockoPower says:

    This game is becomming like a high-school crush who gives you sometimes sure signals but then leaves you only with your dreams for when you will be together…
    I was so excited when the first combat demo was released . The gladiator arena battles were fantastic. I had so much passion for this game that I bookmarked their forum to fast check for the release. Now with the time passed this fire is almost gone. I barely even want to touch this demo and be left alone again. It’s a sad story :'(
    And since when developers use PirateBay to share their games? The Irony Tower !

  8. Infinitron says:

    Don’t forget to vote for AoD on Steam Greenlight: http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=93102452

  9. bluebottle says:

    As an aside, ‘Vince’ interviewed Josh Sawyer about Project Eternity on the Iron Tower forums:
    Interview