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Rampant Coyote Reviews Age of Decadence
Review - posted by Crooked Bee on Wed 25 July 2012, 21:02:31Tags: Rampant Games; The Age of Decadence
Jay "Rampant Coyote" Barnson has written down his impressions of Age of Decadence, currently playable as an R2 public beta, mostly focusing on questing and combats. Have some snippets:
[...] Sometimes events seem to find you instead. For a short time, the world seemed pretty rich in events going on. I’d walk around the city and stumble into things that would trigger. This was pretty exciting. Then I seemed to exhaust the events, and the game revealed perhaps its biggest weakness – there’s no regular “loop” of activity in the game to engage in. In this way, it resembles an adventure game with RPG-style task resolutions. But if you get blocked for any reason, there’s not much to do but wander around already-explored territory poking around to find anything else you may have missed the previous dozen times you passed the spot. Occasionally it works, and it’s awesome when it happens. But when you spend fifteen minutes moving from place to place and clicking on the same people who have nothing more to say, it gets pretty old pretty fast.
Hopefully this is something that will be addressed in the full release. But whereas most RPGs have the explore-fight-loot loop to fall back on (and fall back on it they do far too often, IMO), the Iron Tower developers seem to have actively avoided this approach. I applaud them for the effort – I’m really excited to play through an entire game as a merchant and as a thief and see how those play out – but it’s going to require them to pull something out of their sleeves to make it really work.
[...] A bigger problem – and it may have been my lack of understanding – but it feels like there aren’t that many options once combat is joined. If later in the game, you get to control more people than your own character, then I can see the tactical turn-based combat being much more interesting. But lacking any sort of magical spoilers like healing spells or potions, or any special magic-like feats or special moves that demand fluid and dynamic responses, combat seems pretty limited to taking turns beating on one another until you or your opponent(s) goes down. Since you can get multiple actions – movement and attacks – in during your turn, I suspect there are some tricks I could use to try and force my opponent’s expenditure of action points to my advantage, but that’s pretty subtle stuff. The relative scarcity of combat in this game (again, that’s not a bad thing, just a different thing) suggests I may not have many opportunities to master the art.
I’m actually okay with this, in theory. If combat is downplayed for non-combat oriented characters, booyah! But something else has to take its place. I’m just not sure what else is in place in the “skeleton” of the game to give structure to the meat. But as I said before – I’m thrilled that Iron Tower is trying. There are several points in the demo where dialogs or descriptions make fun of standard fantasy RPG tropes, reminding the player that this is not conventional RPG fare. I’m on board with that. I think the game has some pretty exciting potential in its concept, setting, and approach. It’s pushing some boundaries that are long overdue for pushing. If Iron Tower can really focus on the core, without losing sight of the delightful “exception-based” events that make the game stand out, they could have a winner on their hands upon release.
Sounds like reasonable feedback to me. Click here to read it in full.