Age of Decadence surprised me. As I wrote in the forums earlier, I was expecting a classic, Fallout-style RPG. I feel that at its heart, AoD is something different, although a lot of inspiration is certainly derived from these classics. It is, for me, a hybrid of classic RPGs and interactive fiction, and strikes me in some ways as a re-imagination of RPGs from the P&P template, tossing away many of the tried and true conventions of the genre – sometimes to great effect, sometimes to its own detriment.
Where I feel that AoD excels over any other game I played so far (admittedly there are some classics I still haven’t played), is the sheer amount of alternate paths it provides through the game. A lot of love and thought have gone into that aspect, and I have very much enjoyed trying out different characters and skills just to see where it would take me. The Teron demo alone provides a lot of entertainment in that respect. However to appreciate it, you HAVE to replay. Some single playthroughs may be very short (I think you can breeze through the demo in < 30 minutes, maybe less, for some paths) and doing so may leave you wondering what the fuck just happened. It will only be after multiple playthroughs (both different backgrounds and different skillsets) that you start to see the whole story, and have a chance to appreciate the love and care that went into the branching story design.