Age of Decadence - Preview @ GameBanshee
If you haven't had time to check out the Age of Decadence public beta yourself, GameBanshee has a two-page preview:
If there is one thing that is both Age of Decadence's biggest strength and its biggest selling point, it's replayability. Taking on one of eight backgrounds (Assassin, Drifter, Grifter, Thief, Merchant, Mercenary, Loremaster, or Praetor), your involvement in the game's opening events can change dramatically based on this choice. Perhaps you're the assassin contracted to kill the merchant, or the bodyguard assigned to protect him, or a thief just trying to make an "honest" wage, or a noble servant of House Daratan dealing with the aftershock... either way, your perspective on the matter influences not only what details of the story you see (making repeat plays necessary to get a full understanding of what's going on), but what gameplay opportunities you have available.
Of course, those background choices don't limit what you're capable of. As background is independent of character attributes and skills (though the presets encourage you to stick to certain roles), and many more events can occur as a result of your successes or failures, you're not actually locked into anything beyond the opening sequence. Starting out as a Commercium merchant doesn't mean you have to finish the game that way - screw up and you'll find yourself out on the street, ready to join a new faction. There is huge potential for creative problem-solving, backstabbing, and using prior knowledge and events to your advantage, and frankly, it may well be the most intricate faction system and plotline of just about any game ever made.
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