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Age of Decadence Preview at Rock Paper Shotgun

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Age of Decadence Preview at Rock Paper Shotgun

Preview - posted by Infinitron on Tue 29 April 2014, 20:53:57

Tags: Iron Tower Studio; The Age of Decadence

A gentleman by the name of Chris Livingston, as part of his weekly feature for Rock Paper Shotgun in which he reviews various Early Access titles, has posted his impressions of the Codex's beloved Age of Decadence. Here's an excerpt:

Imagine walking out of a store and discovering that not only have you been pickpocketed while shopping, but the expensive item you bought is actually a worthless trinket. When you complain to a city guard, he suspects you’re the real thief, and when a friendly citizen offers to help, you soon find yourself in an alley surrounded by armed thugs. You’ve been ripped off, robbed, accused, mislead, and stabbed to death, all in a single afternoon. Welcome to The Age of Decadence! A quote from the tutorial seems fitting: “Remember to save, you are going to die soon.”

Feeble Phil is my name, and dying in combat is my game! I’ve just been killed in turn-based combat a dozen times by the same single foe… and this is just the tutorial. That’s right, the NPC who exists solely to show me the ropes has instead repeatedly strangled me with them. The Age of Decadence is getting its message across: engage in swordplay only as a last resort. You’re not some near-invincible warrior and you won’t be slashing your way through scores of enemies. Combat is dangerous. Avoid it. You’re mortal. Act like it.

I’m convinced! I give Feeble Phil a few skill points in dodge (so if someone does take a swing at him, they’ll hopefully miss), sprinkle a couple in block (for the blows he can’t dodge), and the rest I funnel directly into his mouth, beefing up his talents at etiquette, streetwise, and persuasion. If politeness fails to placate someone, I’ll try being hip. If hipness fails, I’ll try to convince them not to kill me. If none of that works, well, at least I’ll have a slim chance at not being impaled.

I’m going to be vague, here, as I don’t want to spoil any storylines or surprises. In other words, I want you to suffer as I have. Let’s just say, Feeble Phil arrives in town, meets a few people, and accepts the tasks he’s given. That’s what we’ve been trained to do in RPGs, right? Meet people, accept their quests, solve their problems, complete their tasks, and get rewarded? Right.

Things go my way for a while. I’m happy with my mouth-based skills: streetwise, persuasion, and etiquette all have given me a bunch of extra dialogue options, and have helped me navigate through several tasks safely. I pull off a minor con. I talk my way out of a couple scrapes. I persuade a troublesome person to leave town, as if I pose some physical danger to them if they don’t. All this success without ever drawing a weapon!

I can also see other paths that I’m prevented from taking due to not having the necessary skillsets. The local assassin’s guild won’t even take a meeting since I don’t have a reputation for killing people. Another mission has several apparent avenues to success, and I’m barred from traveling any of them because the skills required (stealth, lore, or disguise) I simply don’t have. This clearly isn’t Oblivion, where I can be a jack of all trades and the head of all guilds. It feels odd to have to completely abandon a quest, but it also makes a certain amount of sense. I simply can’t be a success at everything.
Looks like he kinda likes it! Do read the full preview, and don't forget to check out the comments. We do have a reputation to uphold here, after all.

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