Oct 19, 2017 Last Updated 2:01 AM, Oct 19, 2017

Dead Age Early Access Review

Dead Age is a must have for any RPG fan who has always hoped for a post-apocalyptic theme replete with realistic graphics and an awe-inspiring soundtrack.

It is just slightly unforgiving, where a decision could set you back some. It features nearly everything an RPG fan could hope for: questing, crafting, different instances of various types of gear, character customization, and so on.

As Dead Age is about survival, you will not find areas to farm easily for resources or any place to fully restore your party's health. Health regenerates at a static rate daily, provided that the resources are available; otherwise, the player must scavenge this post-apocalyptic world for supplies. There is some lack of variety in enemies (at least if you try to play it safe and stick with the enemies in the easier areas). There's also a need for more areas to explore, although more may become available as the game develops, and loot sometimes seems thin. Then again, because this is a survival RPG first and foremost, farming is made sparse to start. Once the player reaches the later and harder areas of a location, loot becomes more frequent particularly given the fact that food and other resources are consumed daily.  This makes the first few days of survival crucial: either you find the resources you need to continue, or you do not; either you make smart decisions that make the subsequent days easier, or you do not. I have not yet found a consequence to a decision that set my party up to die soon after.

Perhaps, Dead Age is not that unforgiving, as one might expect from a survival RPG. Although, your party does suffer a noticeable drawback if the camp is ransacked overnight. Additionally, strategy and careful planning do play a role, so any bad decisions can be offset if your party is doing well otherwise. As more members become available, one or two can be sent off for the day to hunt for resources, craft an item, or some other job that is available. The crafting system does not seem too crucial. During the first nine days, I only crafted a couple of medkits; most of the time I either did not have enough party members to have one of them complete a job, or hunted for food.

Dead Age is quite enjoyable, and one can quickly become immersed in it; there is about the right amount of risk to ensure the player is paying attention, while also not being frustratingly difficult. However, the battles do feel a bit easy. The quests are time-sensitive, forcing the player to be even more aware of one's strategy and planning. It may not be possible to complete every single quest, and I think this feeds directly into more or less forcing the player to be able to adapt playing style and tactics when the occasion demands it.

The soundtrack gives Dead Age an almost cinematic feel.

It is what one would expect from playing a survival RPG, as it gives off a vibe of melancholy and hopelessness. Even though there does not seem to be that much variety in the soundtrack, it is nevertheless well executed. The graphics are equally superb even at the current lowest setting; they were something that stood out—especially the quality of the characters and enemies during a battle. There is, however, at times a slight lag in what would otherwise make for a smooth feeling battle. A couple of times, there would be a one-or-two-second delay in the movement of an attack. This is by no means game-breaking but becomes somewhat distracting. Admittedly, this may be due to the specs of the player's system, as opposed to the game itself.

In-game days feel as if they drag on unless one speeds through the battles, and as there is no manual save option (rather it saves automatically after a day is over), playing several days in a single session is not the easiest task. Although, perhaps Dead Age is designed like this on purpose. Where each and every day is crucial to survival, a bad decision can set your party back, forcing you to accommodate for the consequences, making days longer than one might expect may afford players ample time to plan out their tactics carefully.

The amount of points to spend on a character upon leveling seems fair. One can invest these points in not only combat related attributes, but also in areas that make success at completing certain risky actions more likely, and allows access to more recipes (i.e. gear) when crafting. I think the crafting system would have more intricacy, depth, and incentive, if characters could gain gear-making experience for crafting weapons, armor, and so on, although the leveling system as it currently stands does assist in providing such depth. In regards to combat, it did not seem as if a character became noticeably stronger against an enemy upon leveling. However, as noted above, battles do become much easier once one's party is levels higher than the enemies. Upon dying, and this is when the game's rouge-lite features come into play, one can invest medals earned into various upgrades that will take effect in subsequent playthroughs. This is a nice feature; although, in the next play-through, the challenges are not reset and cannot be beaten again, which is slightly disappointing. Maybe they will still offer medals upon re-completion—and there must be a way to obtain more medals, as some unlockables more or less require the capability of getting more and more medals.

Although the combat does become easy eventually, and making a bad decision does not set a player's party back as much as one might hope from a survival RPG, Dead Age is still good otherwise. The emphasis on requiring resources that are used daily, time-sensitive quests, and other features make this title worth checking out for players who enjoy a need for strategy in an RPG.

Although the combat does become easy eventually, and making a bad decision does not set a player's party back as much as one might hope from a survival RPG, Dead Age is still good otherwise. The emphasis on requiring resources that are used daily, time-sensitive quests, and other features make this title worth checking out for players who enjoy a need for strategy in an RPG.

7

The Verdict

Dead Age is currently in Early Access and it looks promising. It is hoped that more content is added to give it a completed feel and to offer greater replayability. Overall, I can recommend this title to RPG fans.

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Chris Hubbard

A fan of RPGs above other genres, Chris has been playing video games for as long as he can remember. Some of the games that had the most influence on his gaming preferences have been the Final Fantasy and the Diablo series. More recently, most of Chris' gaming time has been going toward Gems of War and Clicker Heroes (give it a try, it can be addicting), along with open-world RPGs such as Skyrim and ESO. He's also dabbled with RPG Maker software, and it is a goal of his to someday create an RPG.

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