Tales of the Rampant Coyote

Adventures in Indie Gaming!

Breaking the RPG Mold – “The Fanatic and His RPG”

Posted by Rampant Coyote on December 3, 2015

AgeOfDecadence2This is one of the best reviews / commentaries about a game I’ve read in a long while. The game in question is “Age of Decadence,” the long-awaited Magnum Opus from Iron Tower Studio. I haven’t played the full version yet, though it’s high on my list. I played a previous build and was impressed. I’ve definitely gotta hand it to Vince Weller and his team. They’ve pursued this thing with dedication to a seemingly impossible ideal, and from what I can tell, they pulled it off.

But your garden variety computer role-playing game, it isn’t.

Gamasutra: The Fanatic and His RPG

An excerpt. Well, two, with a bit cut out between them….

“The game is universally described as punishingly difficult, but that is not quite so. The game is impossible—at least at first pass—if one comes to it with the expectations built up by fifteen years of power-fantasy RPGs. You can’t have things in Decadence just because you want them; every fight is a struggle against enemies who are determined to live and who have lived so far by killing…”

And a paragraph and a half later…

“At the same time, if you meet The Age of Decadence on its own terms—focused in your desire, diligent in your work—anything is possible. For example, take a narrowly focused “talker” character. Bioware infamously promised that in Dragon Age: Origins, you would be able to “enslave nations with necromancy.” (Notably, the game did not include necromancy at all.) Decadence one-ups even this sales pitch: here, you can topple all the heads of state in the world through the gift of gab. My powers of speech brought me to vertiginous arrogance. But at the end of the day, you can’t sweet-talk a broken down machine; you can’t charm the secrets out of an ancient book of lore; you can’t gull a swarm of giant scorpions.”


Filed Under: Indie Evangelism - Comments: 3 Comments to Read

  • Mat Willows said,

    As the lead Designer and coder of Prelude to Darkness I approve of this post and the article. 🙂 Great stuff. Proud to have been a part of AoD’s inception and glad someone learned something from our mistakes (there were many).

  • Cuthalion said,

    Age of Decadence has sounded interesting ever since I first read about it here. And now I kind of want to give Prelude to Darkness a try.

  • Maklak said,

    Thanks for the info. Age of Decadence does look as one of the best cRPGs I’ve seen. It is realistic in many ways, with punishingly hard combat and no healing while in combat. It makes fun of some common RPG tropes “I’m an innkeeper, why would I sell anything other than food? Go see a merchant.” Everyone is scheming to gain power and your character is in the middle of it. It even looks like late medieval Itally with squabling sity-states and guilds, which is only fitting as the setting is based on Roman Empire after the fall. It has magitech. It has fallout-level of dialogue and options to go about things. Awesome. Even the graphics look alright, except for some clipping.