Around AOTF ×

Platforms
More
I don’t want to ‘master the system’ I want to play the game. I just wish The Age of Decadence would let you do that. The Age of Decadence November 17, 2013 1

The Age of Decadence Review

The Verdict on The Age of Decadence
I don’t want to ‘master the system’ I want to play the game. I just wish The Age of Decadence would let you do that.
"disliked"


As soon as Brian Fargo tweeted ‘So, the awesome Fallout-inspired RPG Age of Decadence in now on Steam early access’ I jumped online and bought the game sight unseen.  It’s been since Skyrim that I’ve played a decent RPG and I’ve been looking for something to keep me busy until Wasteland 2, Mad Max, or WildStar, but having spent a good day and a half on the game so far and progressed not much at all, I’m thinking I may have to just wait a little bit longer.

Any game that soaks up 9+ hours of my time and has me progressing no further than the first two introductory missions is either way too punishing or an indictment on my gaming skills, and as a veteran RPG’er I would sincerely hope it’s a case of the former rather than the latter.

the-age-of-decadence-review-screenshot

My first issue with the game (and there are many thus far) lies in the descriptor.  Why bill a game as a ‘low magic , post-apocalyptic fantasy world, inspired by the fall of the Roman empire’ when there is no magic and the the definition of post-apocalyptic has been stretched to mean ‘post-war’?  By that definition Prague in 1918 would fall under the same category of ‘low magic, post-apocalyptic’ and I doubt many people would rush to play a game set then and there.   At this stage in game development and marketing, especially given the strength of titles such as Fallout, , Rage, and Last of Us, terms like ‘post-apocalyptic’ carry with them a weight of expectation.  To label a game such, and not deliver, is a disservice to customers and misrepresents the title.

The Age of Decadence is inflexible and unapologetically so

Three hours of game play later and not progressing beyond the starting area I begrudgingly acknowledged my second issue with this game; it’s punishingly difficult.  Now I don’t have a problem with difficult.  I regularly play through titles on harder settings for a challenge, and there are some fairly simple ways to increase difficulty without it feeling like the AI is unreasonably strong.  Baldur’s Gate, for example had a simple sliding difficulty scale that altered enemy damage output by a percentage.   Skyrim has a similar mechanic that can also reduce the player character’s damage output.  These are fairly simple ways in which players can give themselves a challenge appropriate to their skill level or playing style.  Age of Decadence however, is inflexible and unapologetically so.   The introductory screen warns that ‘The Age of Decadence is a hard game…a single mistake can prove fatal’.  This is on normal difficulty.  Your only other option is to play the game totally unchanged, but with a pre-made character that will ‘make short work of even the most dangerous enemies’.  My pre-made character died in his first fight, in the first round, but this is not the punishing difficulty I’m talking about.  I’m referring to unrealistic expectations the game has of players, and it’s refusal to empower them to achieve.

the-age-of-decadence-screenshot

Knowing that the game is designed to be hard, and expects players to invest in their character’s appropriate skillset, I rolled a rogue and made sure I had good sneak, steal and lockpick abilities, raised my dodge skill, and ignored things like craft and lore.  Feeling better suited to explore the world of AoD, I headed out and successfully completed the introductory mission – infiltrate a merchant’s room and steal their stuff.  My next mission involved persuading some guards to look the other way while the thieve’s guild moved some contraband.  Oops…I didn’t have any points in streetwise or persuade, which meant I had to try to steal a document.  No problem, I’m a thief.  Oops again…I need a disguise skill to be able to steal the document.  I failed, despite my relatively high steal skill, and was forced to run away.  Oops again!  My Dexterity isn’t high enough for me to be able to run away, so I die.  No combat, no options.  This all occurs through a dialogue window that reads like a ‘Choose your own adventure’ book, and this is the crux of the problem.  The narrative of the game is too rigid and relies too much on set criteria being met before players are able to succeed.  This same thief character was able to sneak into the palace compound with his high sneak skills, get into the guard area undetected, steal some guard armor and leave, but the guard armor was useless to me because I didn’t have enough disguise points.  I also failed at an attempt to get past some guards in a higher up tower because I didn’t have enough points in critical strike.  As with the document theft scenario, the penalty for not having an appropriate skill was death.

Where AoD compounds its ability to frustrate is it’s lack of clarity.

Some players might like this brutality, arguing that it’s an RPG and it reflects a harsh world.  That’s great, and I would generally include myself in this group, but where AoD compounds its ability to frustrate is it’s lack of clarity.  Thinking that I could sneak into a townsperson’s house using a grappling hook, I found myself unable to do so because I failed a skillcheck using the throw skill.  That a thief may need this skill is unintuitive and not flagged anywhere.  It would be useful to have a note in the item’s descriptor identifying that its use is dependent on a skill, and what level of skill you might need in order to successfully use it.  The tooltips for your character’s skills are similarly vague.  At the character creation screen when I was trying to select skills that would assist me, I looked at the ‘lore’ skill and while the descriptor was fine ‘knowledge and understanding of the events long gone, ancient languages…’ the benefit listed was ‘you can write your own name’.  I bumped the skill up to 4 and my skill is now ‘you realise knowledge is power’.  That’s not of any use when trying to figure out how to build my character and it is about as useful as tits on a bull when it comes to giving me an idea of what this skill level will help me accomplish in-game.  In contrast to this, combat skills are clearly defined as a percentage chance to accomplish X or to deflect Y, but the core skills, you know, the ones that let you avoid conflict if you aren’t specced for it, are frustratingly vague.

Ten hours in and I get to my third issue with this game; it pushes me to choose certain skills in order to progress, then throws me a curveball by making me rely on skills I dropped in order to get to the point I am at.  An example in point – walking around the streets of the starting city I have my money stolen by a street urchin because I failed a streetsmart skillcheck.  I reloaded a save point and dropped some points in streetsmart so the next time she appeared, I was onto her and could prevent her from taking my cash, only to end up in a close quarters fight with three armed thugs.  I didn’t have the skills I needed to survive because…I had put them into streetsmart instead.  Trial and error is no way to have an RPG run.  It just frustrates players and hiding behind a ‘this game is tough’ tagline doesn’t make up for poor game design.

These gameplay issues are, for me, the most offputting.  Everything else seems in place; decent graphics, OK music, reasonable lore and good combat.  I just get my hackles up in an RPG when I walk around a city and click on a door only to be told ‘the door is locked’.  And I’m a thief.  With some lockpicks my guild master gave me.

Disappointing.

Say Something
  • Hiver

    Thanks for the laughs! :lol:

    • Foritn

      Judging by your comments below, you sound incredibly butt hurt. Return to the Codex kid and remember that everyone has different tastes. I personally think Skyrim is a piece of shit but if the reviewer likes action-RPG’s over traditional RPG’s then that’s his preference.

      • Hiver

        Going for simplistic ad hominems about butthurt only makes you look like a butthurt codexer. Your experiences with skyrim of all the stupid games dont interest anyone, or that laughable absolute relativism about everyone’s tastes.

        The review did genuinely provide many laughs. and lols.

  • CARE BOARS CARE BOARS CARE BOA

    “Any game that soaks up 9+ hours of my time and has me progressing no
    further than the first two introductory missions is either way too
    punishing or an indictment on my gaming skills, and as a veteran RPG’er I
    would sincerely hope it’s a case of the former rather than the latter.”

    9+ hours? Buddy, the indictment of your “skills” is the least of your problems.

    • CARE BOARS CARE BOARS CARE BOA
    • CARE BOARS CARE BOARS CARE BOA

      Since my comment wasn’t approved – I’m guessing due to spam filters, let me just quote wikipedia for you:

      “Apocalyptic fiction is a sub-genre of science fiction that is concerned with the end of human civilization. This apocalypse is typically portrayed as being due to a potentially existential catastrophe such as nuclear warfare, pandemic, extraterrestrial attack, impact event, cybernetic revolt, technological singularity, dysgenics, supernatural phenomena, divine judgment, runaway climate change, resource depletion, ecological collapse, or some other general disasters. Post-apocalyptic fiction is set in a world or civilization after such a disaster. The time frame may be immediately after the catastrophe, focusing on the travails or psychology of survivors, or considerably later, often including the theme that the existence of pre-catastrophe civilization has been forgotten (or mythologized). Post-apocalyptic stories often take place in a non-technological future world, or a world where only scattered elements of technology remain.”

      Zombie and nukes aren’t the only kind of apocalyptic fiction. Saying that the game was advertising itself incorrectly is ridiculous. It *is* post-apocalyptic.

      Also, “low-magic” refers to there being very little magic in the game world. Look it up. If you play the game through, you’ll find dozens of references to ancient magic, as well as opportunities to use it. Hell, it’s even possible to destroy an entire city with it. You will never become a “mage class” like in other games though. That’s what low-magic is all about.

  • Black

    As expected of yet another site that couldn’t get enough of Skyrim and its RPG greatness!

    • Simon Coles

      English much? since when does ‘decent’ translate into ‘greatness’?

  • BlastHardcheese

    > It’s been since Skyrim that I’ve played a decent RPGThese are fairly simple ways in which players can give themselves a
    challenge appropriate to their skill level or playing style. <

    Stopped reading right here.

    Anyone who thinks that turning Enemies into HP-Sponges makes combat more challenging is a fucking moron and should stop writing about videogames.
    I mean, look at this. This what Skyrim has done to people. People actually consider it a decent RPG now.

    • Simon Coles

      ‘Stopped reading right here.’

      hence the enlightening response.

      • Anonymous

        You mentioned difficulty sliders which reduce damage and bloat hp as an acceptable method to scale difficulty: “Baldur’s Gate, for example had a simple sliding difficulty scale that
        altered enemy damage output by a percentage. Skyrim has a similar
        mechanic that can also reduce the player character’s damage output.
        These are fairly simple ways in which players can give themselves a
        challenge appropriate to their skill level or playing style.” His response was properly founded on your statements.

        • Simon Coles

          His response was ‘fucking moron’…

          • throckmorton

            Thus, properly founded on your statements.

  • Pancaker

    I don’t understand why somebody who thinks the difficulty slider in Skyrim is a good idea is even approaching this game, it’s obviously way too much for anybody that hasn’t played a real RPG.

    • Simon Coles

      bro do you even read? Nowhere do I say the slider is a good idea.

      • John Smith

        If you begin a point by stating that “there are some fairly simple ways to increase difficulty” and then provide two examples of difficulty sliders to backup your point, and then end by reiterating that these “are fairly simple ways in which players can give themselves a challenge appropriate to their skill level or playing style,” its a fairly logical conclusion for the reader to interpret that as an endorsement.

        If you didn’t think they were a good idea, why would you use them as examples to contrast with Age of Decadence’s “inflexible” style which you obviously consider to be bad?

        That’s either poor writing, or a weak attempt at backpedaling.

  • Blaize

    This review made me sad. I hope nothing you say will ever have any impact on anyone’s game design, ’cause you have absolutely no clue.

  • Duke McManmuscle

    So, essentially, you dislike the game because it demands that you put forth some effort.

    You also miss the point of playing an RPG by attributing the scenario with the street urchin as trial and error. A Role Playing Game is not about savescuming until you find the most efficient way around an instance–its about taking on the role of a character, building that character up and taking on the challenges that come as that character with all their positives and negatives coming to bare.

    I understand that as a reviewer you want to blaze through a game as quickly as possible and get on to the next one, but you shouldn’t fault the game for your own preferences. If you are looking for a codling one-off experience, you should probably know enough to side-step titles like these.

    • Christopher Luther

      Do you delete your character as soon as you die?

  • Cardgage

    I had literally never heard of this game until I saw this article but this review has piqued my interest. I’m glad I didn’t stop reading when I read a sentence that had “Skyrim” and “good RPG” in them without an “is not a” in between at the beginning like I normally do with most reviews, because I might pick this up. Good to see some sarcastic humor in a review for once instead of just a straight summary, it almost had me fooled for a bit there, although the ruse was obvious at the part where it implied a thief needing streetwise and disguise skills was somehow unexpected or nonsensical. Weird that you’d spoil your ruse so easily when you even went so far out of your way as to give the game a 1/5 to fool people.
    Anyway, this sounds like an ACTUAL RPG and not some watered-down hackneyed psuedo-RPG designed to make the player feel special rather than challenge them in any way like so many have been since Oblivion/Skyrim came out. Thanks Simon.

    • Augustus

      Hope you enjoy it; I found this game a few years ago (it’s been in dev since the stone age, give or take a few years). I personally love it though, so here’s hoping.

    • tonystarkAJ

      Yeah, can you IMAGINE the nerve of this guy wanting to play a GAME for FUN instead of the proper self flagellation that most of us normal people expect from a game? I Want to hurt when I play a game. Fun should never matter!

  • Mein Negger

    Is this like reverse psychology?

  • Incontinentia Butttocks

    Now I’m really interested in this game. This game has to be fucking sharp to make a casual bleed this much.

    • Simon Coles

      It *is* sharp. I have no problem with that, as I stated in my piece.

  • Volllllllllume 3

    This is just the result of what years of playing dumbed down consolised popamole shit has done to you. In other words: git gud.

  • Hiver

    Let me try this then:

    Ding! achievement unlocked!

    As a reward you get a felipepepe trailer!

    youtube.com/watch?v=3JSV1ei6OjY

  • Haba

    “It’s been since Skyrim that I’ve played a decent RPG–” Wait, why are you writing reviews for RPGs again? No seriously. This is like having a blind person review paintings.

  • GK15

    Pretty funny review.

    And Skyrim was amazing for the record.

  • NathGamer

    Pahaha! This review got SLAMMED!

    Simon Coles, must try harder.

    • Simon Coles

      It hasn’t been slammed, just visited by the trolls.
      I’m interested to hear from players that have spent time with the game and enjoyed it.

      • CARE BOARS CARE BOARS CARE BOA

        I’ll take you up on that. It’s a difficult, but fun game. Trick is, to enjoy it, you can’t treat it like your typical power-fantasy game. You have to accept that there are things your character can’t do.

        That’s actually where this game shines. In most games, you know your character can win almost any fight. When a challenge or threat comes up, there is no fear, there is no moment of “can I do this?” consideration going on in your head. Skyrim was a huge offender in this regard. In the first hour or so of gameplay the character kills a dragon. Boom, there goes all the suspense for the rest of the game. You can kill anything, provided you exercise a modicum of thought – just enough to down healing potions and dodge fireballs. AoD is different. Take that situation with the pickpocket: you are surrounded and offered the choice to leave – in any other game would you really consider it? Of course not. In Skyrim you know that they are level scaled and will be brought down without much of a fuss, Fallout’s combat was piss-easy so I’m not even going there, in BG you had a party of 6 battle hardened adventures – each of whom could beat the game on their own (I know because I’ve soloed it many a time).

        Yes, the game is hard. Yes, it’s unforgiving. But once you get over that fact, you’ll find it’s a really decent game that responds to your choices. Again, yes, all lot of those responses are going to be failures, but a lot of them are also going to be successes too. Practically every skill has uses outside combat. Investing in Critical Strike doesn’t just get you damage bonuses, it can let you take out enemies before combat even starts – either swinging the tactical situation to your advantage, or avoiding a drawn out fight altogether. And it’s not just your stats that the game responds to, but your choices. Choosing to fight a difficult battle will have different long-term consequences than merely talking your way out etc.

        This game excels at giving the player choices and then presenting consequences for those choices – both positive and negative – in every aspect of gameplay. There are no “dump stats” every point you invest into your stats and skills matters, every choice as repercussions. You actually have to think about what it is you are having your character do, rather than just spamming the attack button and hoping the enemy drops something shiny when you inevitably kill them.

        So, it’s a question of why you are playing the game: If you are playing just to live in a fantasy world and pretend you are an assassin that can kill anyone, a fighter with no equal, or a thief that is undetectable by even the most vigilant of guards, then I suggest you pick up Skyrim. It’s made for playing pretend. If your goal is to play in a dangerous yet fascinating gameworld with a battle system that makes victory an actual accomplishment and a character system and plot that makes sure your every choice matters, I suggest giving it another go.

        • Christopher Luther

          So you think it’s brilliant game design if your character is led on for several scenes, then suddenly they’re presented with a dialog screen that will inevitably kill them no matter what because they didn’t distribute their points in exactly the way the game wants them to?

          Forcing you to metagame in order to not die isn’t challenging; it’s a shell game.

      • Brandon

        I’ve become absolutely addicted to this game, I love it. But you can’t approach it the way you do other RPGs, especially more recent titles. It is a very unique game.

        Most RPGs today have a long mostly linear story. You pick your class/skills/traits based on how you want to play, and then go through the game. You will generally be able to overcome every quest and obstacle, your class is more flavor than strategy. You will also see most of the game on your first play-through. You may miss a few different endings to side quests, but you generally will see the entire story.

        Age of Decadence on the other hand plays more like an adventure RPG. It is designed around replays. You aren’t meant to solve every quest your first time through. If a situation sounds dangerous, find a way out. You can fail some quests yet still continue the game. Or if you die, reroll and try something new. If you stick with a pure combat character, try different armor, weapon type, or attack type. Or try crafting & alchemy.

        I have had certain fights that seemed impossible, but I keep trying new strategies until I figured out one that worked for me and then I was able to beat it multiple times easily. That feeling is glorious. And then on top if it I find out that if my character had another point of intelligence, I could have taken a path that would have made it simple from the start. Discovering all these little paths is a great deal of my enjoyment, its amazing all the different branches quests can take in this game, and the fact that many are based on your stats, skills, and reputation of your previous actions.

        And the more I play the game with different characters, the more of the story and politics is revealed to me in bits and pieces. It is a story that develops over multiple games, you won’t see it all in your first go, not even a fraction.

        If you go in with the attitude that you should be able to beat every quest that comes your way the first time through, then honestly you are missing the point of this game, and you will be understandable frustrated.

      • Anonymous

        Basically, your problem is that you’ve come to this game with the wrong preconceptions. The main one being that an RPG looks like Skyrim.

        In that sense AoD is not an RPG – it is not what RPGs have become these days. But it is a role-playing game. You play the role of some dude / woman. Not the second coming of Jesus Christ twinned with Lucifer who can kill everything that moves, like in most so called RPGs.

        In AoD you are not special. You’re just some chancer that rolled into town. And if you think you can just start a fight with a bouncer / Praetor, then you deserve to be flattened. In fact I think the developers have made too many concessions on fighting mechanics. No matter how badass you develop your character to be, you should never be able to kill more than two enemies in a fight (which you can do if you develop your character right).

        In AoD, combat really is the stupidest way of going about progressing in the game. And that is absolutely great! It may not be what you are looking for , but for people like me who are bored rigid with the RPG meme that every problem can be solved with a big mallet, it is super refreshing. It’s also much more true to life, which also appeals.

        Now others have pointed this out as well: with the right non-combat skills this game is NOT HARD. In fact, it’s piss easy. But it’s still great fun in the way the non-violent story-lines are weaved in together, and how you can learn more about the game universe by playing different characters.

        It’s a great, fun little game, with a charming insistence to be unforgiving to console-wielding button-bashers. And if the game mechanics offend against your need to feel special when you play a game, then good. That is very much the point of the game. And bless the developers for having the balls to release a game like that.

  • deadsanta

    I just finished playing the demo, gave my impressions on the steam forums and immediately got troll-rolled, with even the dev there piling on and ignoring everything I posted just to tell me to L2P. It’s sad really, because without any interest in customer response to his game, there’s a huge wasted investment in what could have been a gem of an RPG.

    It’s absolutely a fallout-inspired game, and that’s a great thing IMO, but it plays not like a “post-apocalyptic” game, but like a Dark Ages of Rome RPG with some off-putting science elements cobbled on. If you were to tell me that this game started life as a Rome-era RPG and got repurposed, I’d believe you in a heartbeat.

    I just don’t understand how absolutely no gunpowder-age technology survived the mythological apocalypse, and yet everyone seems to be using western Roman technology and cultural concepts.

    The gameplay is exactly like the reviewer described, and when I pointed out how even in hardcore old CRPG games like Wasteland and Fallout there were multiple paths through a situation for different builds and there were none here (run away if you can’t fight being the #1 solution to everything, and reload and try again if you have combat skills being the #2 solution) unless you were prescient enough to guess that 3 questlines from now you’d be stuck in a chain of combat-reloads unless you leveled one skill up that is entirely outside of anything you expected you’d need for your gameplay style (like throwing weapons for a thief, as the author notes), I was told brusquely that “this wasn’t those games, and shouldn’t be compared to them”. Oh please.

    Bad design is bad design, and yes, it makes for a harder game, but not a fun one IMO. Have fun reloading those combats, kids, your elders beat Wasteland without yanking the powercord out of the wall, and we know from good games :P

    • Simon Coles

      I’m at 19+ hours in this game, and I’m still not liking it. Good to hear from those that enjoy playing (thank you for the responses) but to my mind it’s little more than a PC version of a Steve Jackson book.
      Each to their own.

      • CARE BOARS CARE BOARS CARE BOA

        Well, can’t fault you on persistence. 19+ is a long time to spend on a game you don’t like, so bravo. It’s more than a lot of internet reviewers would do.

    • Brandon

      On your gameplay comments in comparison to older CRPGs: There are definitely multiple paths through a situation for different builds, in fact there are tons more than Fallout ever dreamed. If you spend even a little time going through some of the main quests with different builds this is very apparent.

      Now, there are mini ‘side quests’ around the city (I use quests loosely as these are short and not put into your journal) and not all of them can be completed by every build. To go back to a Fallout comparison, I would see them akin to a broken computer that can be fixed by a character with repair skill only. True, some can get you killed, but those generally have a warning, a way to escape (the dexterity run check you pointed out), and if nothing else you reload and learn from it. I ran straight away to the Radscorpion cave on my first Fallout play and got killed almost instantly, so I learned on my next game to not go there unless my character was strong in combat.

      And not every item will have a clearly stated purpose, sometimes you just have to figure out the game’s logic with your own common sense. Fallout didn’t tell you “get a rope” to climb down the shaft to the abandoned vault, you just had to put two and two together. Same goes with throwing skill and a grappling hook, or climbing hooks to scale a wall if your dexterity and strength isn’t quite high enough. Discovering how the gameworld works can be half the fun, like noticing there is a section of the cave in Fallout that you can blow up with dynamite on your second or third playthrough: something that wasn’t readily apparent and many gamers missed.

      It really sounds like both you and the reviewer got stuck on some side quests (that can be avoided – they only give a few skill points) and didn’t progress since that is the majority of the complaints I am reading here. That would be a real shame, cause you missed some very interesting branching gameplay in the main quests if that’s the case.

  • Dave L

    This game is shit

  • Crius

    Sorry man. You just didn’t know what you’re talking about.

    This whole things is fucked up the moment everyone with a little experience in ARPG read the line about skyrim being a good RPG.
    You seriously need to reconsider your interest.

    Oh, side note, i’ve enjoyed playing skyrim but it’s far far away from the concept of a “good” RPG.

    • Simon Coles

      Well they mis-read. I did say ‘decent’…as in ‘it killed some time waiting for Wasteland 2 or Fallout 4 (hoping it’s good)’.

      • Anonymous

        That’s not even “decent.” You’re just backpedaling.

  • Thomas Ting

    It’s really sad how the “defenders” of AoD are simply resorting to ad-hominem attacks; like questioning the fact that the reviewer liked Skyrim. Because really, they have singularly failed to address any of the issues that AoD – as a “game” – actually has. It is not a difficult game, as its defenders claim. It is simply a bad game; and the people defending it are simply those who have already “solved” the game and are pretending it as some badge of enlightenment (or hardcoreness. Or whatever) when in fact they’re just engaging in pointless elitism.

    In reality, AoD is an arbitrarily (and disjointedly) hand-crafted adventure with a very opaque levelling system that is more about giving players rope to hang themselves with. It is not, as games should be – a world full of challenges wherein characters have an actual opportunity for flexible and varied problem-solving.

    It is _not_ a difficult game once “solved” – you only need to know what skill checks are needed at specific points of the game and adjust your character accordingly; and these checks remain the same in subsequent playthroughs anyway so the replay value is virtually nil once “solved” (unless you’re a machosist and want to see the other possible “solutions” through trial-and-error). At its worse, the game is little better than “Long Live the Queen”, except that “Long Live the Queen” was marketed more as an interactive novel and the draw of “playing” the game is reading through the story and achieving different endings (not to mention it’s a fast game, and can be finished in less than an hour with experience).

    Designers of truly challenging games such as FTL (very few playthroughs result in winning even “normal” difficulty – no matter how experienced the player) understand that while players may be thrown into impossible situations, they must be made to understand why they lost and their actions must still ultimately affect the outcome. More importantly, what they learn about the game mechanics must be applicable to the game as a whole, not highly localized situations (AoD’s countless skill checks).
    The consistency of this cause-and-effect cycle is so strong in FTL that, despite its procedural and random nature – it is in fact possible for players to become more skilled at actually _playing_ the game and thus have a better chance of defeating it in subsequent playthroughs. More experienced FTL players know how to use more weapons, which enemies to fight/avoid, and have an idea of how weel they are doing.
    In short, challenge is about getting better at playing the game; and being able to adapt your mastery of the game mechanics to whatever situation (randomly generated even) that the game throws at you. It is not about solving the game once through pointless trial and error of very localized skill checks. “I know that guard will ask for a Disguise check” is not system mastery; it’s just flipping through a choose-your-own adventure in advance and gloating over those who didn’t cheat this way as being incapable of overcoming “difficulty”.
    False difficulty through opaque gameplay is simply not good game design; and the defenders of AoD should stop deluding themselves otherwise.

    • Jim

      Most of the comments by players, and indeed the ‘master the system’ are in reference to the combat which is difficult and does have a learning curve where one can “understand why they lost and their actions must still ultimately affect the outcome.” No one is pretending that the meta gameplay of skill checks is hardcore or elite, that’s just silly.

      The only ‘hardcore’ aspect is the fact that you can come to a dead end. I find that perfectly reasonable in an rpg (especially one that is overall short for a single non-combat playthrough – and indeed can be finished in less than an hour). And in many cases the outcome is alluded to, and not as arbitrary as you claim.

      If you still don’t like the skillchecks or the choose your own adventure style, that’s fine. To each their own. I thought FTL was brilliant at first, but subsequent playthroughs revealed that despite the random nature to levels, I still came to the same conclusion (and the last level seems to have much less randomness) and I quickly became bored. AoD is quite fun for many of us, and so very fresh in a market of rpgs that all seem clones with game play that is devoid of challenge or fun.

  • Re

    Simon you wait for that Mad Max game too like me : )

    http://www.examiner.com/article/mad-max-dev-subscriptions-micro-transactions-the-future-of-next-gen?cid=rss

    But i’m quite sure you can switch the Hardness scale there without paying to much more for a game you allready payed the full price.

    So the future of next generation sounds quite “post Apocalyptic” to me.

    Back to topic.

    The price of the game, althoug its not that much (Europe 22,99€).

    I absolutely trust you with that frustrating things you experienced so far but it seems that you have forgotten that you are playing an early access game.

    From a small group of people wich had the luck that it got greenlight on steam.
    In a world where i have to play dumpfuck like “Arcania a Gothic Tale” or other stuff like this for an even more expensive price than this game.

    And as far is i have understand from your testing this game seems to be an RPG wich deserve that description.

    A worse one, maybe, remember its not finished, but at least a real RPG.

    Not that bullshit out there where i feel like a 14 years old kid wich doesnt has a clue how to use a mouse and a keyboard. (Press W to move forward. But first press a button on that box you use to activate it)

    Or where the responsibles think it is okay to let me pay even more for a full price game i already bought.

    Or where the responsibles think “Give it a shiny name, more shiny graphics, the ability to sit on a chair and something that has to do with a bad army and Cyborgs and DLC zombie hordes.

    Exploding buildings always sell put that in too.
    Give it a story wich i’ve stolen from a drunken monkey.
    And release the advertising with all the good parts it has.

    25 secounds in the primetime?

    Too long.

    Remove 1/3 of the good parts out of the game and sell it later as DLC/micro transaction so we can get the most of money out of it.
    It doesnt run in the first place? Well fuck it we can patch it right after we sould a million of this.

  • Baghtru

    wow, if you dont know what post-apocalyptic and low magic means you really shouldnt write a review about a game that is both….

  • Commie

    I think I speak for every real gamer when I say “shit ‘review’ is shit.

Related Popular Steam Content