Parents' Guide to

Age of Decadence

By David Chapman, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 16+

Postapocalyptic Roman tale forces immoral choices.

Game Windows , Mac 2015
Age of Decadence Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this game.

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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.

Game Details

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