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.