The Age of Decadence Preview

While the best way to check if you might enjoy Iron Tower Studio's The Age of Decadence obviously remains trying the beta demo available on their website, you might still be interested in reading this preview piece on the title from RobotGeek. Clearly, they didn't particularly enjoy it, though they still recommend it to "hardcore" players:
There's quite a few problems with this game. The first and most noticeable is the quality of the graphics- or lack thereof. It's an ugly game. It's not hard to deal with- Alpha Centauri is ugly as all get out too. Age of Decadence isn't just ugly, however- the controls aren't intuitive at all. Right click works on some things, but not others. The camera seems magnetically drawn to the most obtuse angle possible (and even starts off there most of the time). There are remarkably few indicators of what you should be doing, or of suggested skills for a given profession. To be fair, the game does warn you that its combat is murderously hard. Basically, if you're not trying to stab an unarmed child to death, there's a good chance of serious injury. Even shanking a loremaster (one of the elderly keepers of knowledge in the world) dropped me 25% of my total health. Outside of combat, the game might as well be called '˜Skill Check: The Game'. There's a lot of reliance on dialogue- but that's conditional. Unless you dumped stats into various skills, choosing the right dialogue choice simply doesn't work. This is definitely a game that throws you into the deep end, and sadistically enjoys your struggles.

There is some upsides to it, though. The game is like truly bad liquor: it grows on you after awhile. I spent two hours trying to figure out the best way to do the first interaction. I wasn't trying to play the game as well as I could- I wanted to spite it. Repeated failure just made me want to do it right, or at least as well as could be expected. No matter how many bad deaths I suffered or people I pissed off in game, I became hellbent of getting things right, dammit. And I mean bad deaths- even with the odds stacked in my favor, I still chronically lost combat and was subjected to two paragraphs of description of my character's grisly fate. In one instance, I was tortured to death and sent piece by piece as a threat, in another I had an arm hacked off, was crucified and used for target practice. This game simply doesn't pull any punches- I think that's why I wanted to beat the hell out of the beta so badly.