Age of Decadence

Game review by
David Chapman, Common Sense Media
Age of Decadence Game Poster Image
Postapocalyptic Roman tale forces immoral choices.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

Though overall moral direction of the game is dictated by player's choices, it pushes for players to find ways to solve problems without resorting to combat whenever possible.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Player character's morality is an extension of his or her choices; though nonplayer characters aren't presented as strictly "good" or "evil," they do tend to favor darker sides.

Ease of Play

Massive amount of micromanagement of equipment, skill points, inventory, more to make any sort of real progress. Very high difficulty level, with game's introduction warning players they will die frequently.

Violence

Characters get into deadly, bloody fights with a variety of brutal medieval weapons, including swords, clubs, axes, and so on, but the game generally discourages fighting whenever possible.

Sex

Various characters shown in revealing clothing.

Language

Regular use of profanity, including "f--k" and "s--t." Some sexual references in dialogue.

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Some NPC characters appear drunk; references to drinking. Some drug use, including eating hallucinogenic mushrooms to enter berserk state.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Age of Decadence is a downloadable, single-player turn-based role-playing game set in an alternate world just after the fall of the Roman Empire. Player choices have major repercussions on everything from plot twists to interactions with any of the game's nonplayer characters. The impact of some decisions is immediate, while others may take a long time to see. Characters regularly participate in a number of illegal activities (including theft, assassination, and more). Dialogue includes profanity and potentially offensive content. But due to the way the game changes based on choices, each playthrough may offer a completely different experience.

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What's it about?

THE AGE OF DECADENCE is a pseudo-apocalyptic role-playing game inspired by the fall of the Roman Empire. The world has fallen apart as a result of a massive and bloody magical war, and you have to try to find a way to survive the aftermath. While monsters, mythical creatures, and the power of the gods still exist in this world, the game is more about how the people react to the fall of a golden age. Morality has, by and large, fallen to the wayside, and it's up to the player and his or her choices to shape the fate of this new age.

Is it any good?

Imagine a masochistic world where concepts like good and evil have been tossed out the window and any decision you make eventually comes back to bite you. It's not very pretty, but it's the world of The Age of Decadence. The game warns you from the start that you're going to die … a lot. And you do die … a lot. Unfortunately, there isn't really anything you can do about that. In most games, if you get drawn into combat and lose, it's usually your own fault. But in The Age of Decadence, you might do everything right and still die, simply because no matter where you go or how well you're equipped, you going to be overwhelmed. In theory, you're encouraged to avoid combat whenever possible, but the game constantly leads you into ambushes. What's more frustrating is that many of these aren't only unavoidable, they're also instigated by characters you thought were helping you.

This leads to the other major issue. Though the game encourages players to avoid combat through more diplomatic and cunning solutions, the bulk of the game's nonplayer characters are pretty loathsome. After a while of getting mugged, cheated, conned, and otherwise stabbed in the back, you realize you can't trust anyone and you start to make choices reflecting that. You start avoiding quests altogether because you expect to get set up. You reflexively start treating people the way you've been treated in the game. And ultimately, you end up becoming the exact type of character you've been fighting against. That seems be the guiding (and frustrating) principle: It feels impossible to be good in a world gone so bad.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about mature content in games. How do things such as language, sexual content, drug use, and violence affect kids or desensitize them to objectionable content?

  • Talk about choices and consequences. How can a decision made right now affect a person's life in the immediate and the distant future?

Game details

Themes & Topics

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