Democracy 3 + Social Engineering DLC – Review
Follow Release Date: October 2013
Genre: Simulation
Developed & Published: Positech Games
Platform: PC

Democracy 3 + Social Engineering DLC – Review

Site Score
8.5
Good: Realistic, Engaging, Addictive
Bad: Slightly Complex, Longevity
User Score
8.5
(2 votes)
Click to vote
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Rating: 8.5/10 (2 votes cast)

From the developer of Gratuitous Space Battles ( and Gratuitous Tank Battles for that matter)comes the third installment of this highly addictive political simulator. Democracy 3; now with 100% more social engineering!

Now before we get into the arduous task that is the reviewing process, allow me to take a few moments and jeopardize my journalistic integrity; I have to beg for the reader’s indulgence in advance.

Democracy 3, for the most part, is a good game, but I would go on to say the following even if it wasn’t. Positech Games, the company behind the game, is for all accounts and purposes, a one-man crew.In this time of game studios with staff members ranging in the thousands, its refreshing to see that someone can come up with, and consistently develop, successful games on all their own. Hopefully, this will set a trend that others will seek to follow; the gaming scene sure could do with a change.

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Story

Democracy 3 is in a weird sense, a sandbox, make-your-own-adventure kind of game. Now this is not to say that there are no limits or goals in place. More than anything, its about how you get to achieve said goals that adds this level of diversity; each time you play, you can expect to have a radically different result in how everything plays out.

As of writing, you can choose one of the five basic countries ( USA, Canada, Britain, France & Germany ) and proceed to lead your people to prosperity. And that’s where the problem starts; you see, countries have issues that can range from budget deficits and crime sprees all the way to health pandemics and terrorist plots. You ‘ll find yourself constantly faced with double-edged decisions that will seek to challenge both your value system and your sense of priorities.

Every action you take will most probably cost you money and is bound to anger as many people as it tries to please. You ‘ll find yourself the captain of a sinking vessel, constantly trying to stay afloat for just one more month.This game will teach you, and trust me it will do so without any qualms, the price of values in today’s society.

You ‘ll find just how low you can stoop and how many things you ‘re willing to sacrifice, all for the greater good. If nothing else, this game has imparted me with a sense of pity for today’s politicians. If I can go through this much ethical turmoil in a space of a few minutes, I ‘d hate to think what doing this for four years does to most people.

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Graphics

Now Graphics for the most part, are simplistic in nature. We ‘re talking after all about an indie-game developed by one man. Most of the action takes place on a white background with corresponding icons placed on top.There are some change in background pictures here and there to break the monotony but its overall, game that revels in its simplicity. In fact, one can argue that in a true simulator, you want as much clarity as possible; complex and intricate graphics could very well detract from the experience.

Having said that, there is a bit of “Icon-clutter” at the main screen at times and that can lead to some confusing moments of trying to find the right icon for the task at hand. Not a very big issue but one that could prove challenging at times. Finally on the hardware side of things, it stands to mention that this is a fairly light game and it shouldn’t stress out your computer too much.

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Sound

As can be expected, you have your usual assortment of sound effects; from cheers and moans all the way to police sirens, coughing sounds and the ever present  “cha-ching” of coins to signify whatever policies you might be fiddling with at the time. For the most part the sound effects make a good job of not overwhelming you, leaving you focused at the task at hand, while still providing a nice backdrop.

If there is one criticism to be had, is that the main soundtrack is somewhat limited in scope I found myself becoming aware of the main theme as it looped back into action; perhaps a somewhat greater variety would be good here, it does get slightly monotone (no pun intended ) at times, but overall it doesn’t detract too much from the experience.

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Gameplay

The game consists of you, taking the role of President ( or Prime Minister for that matter, depending on the region ) and being given complete control over your country of choice. “Complete Control” of-course being the matter of no small scholarly debate; you are tied to your ministers and if your infamy grows, you will find your political capital severely diminished.

You go on about governing your country over the next four years (unless you ‘re lucky enough to get re-elected) using the aforementioned Political Capital. This is represented in a series of points that you earn, based on the loyalty of the ministers comprising your cabinet. Everything, and I cannot stress this enough, costs political capital, in one form of another. From lowering and raising taxes or funding all the way to implementing new policies or modifying existing ones. If you please the constituents that your ministers support you will be rewarded with more loyalty and in turn more capital, displease them and well, you will find yourself limited in the amount of choices you are able to take.

As mentioned before, every choice you make has a ripple effect on the world around you. Increase public healthcare spending and you will find capitalists outraged at what is considered to be the state interfering at the natural order of things; at the same time, the poor will love you seeing as they now get to live longer.

Choose to cut military spending? The liberals, and your budget for that matter, will appreciate the gesture but the patriots will see it as an insult and terrorists will now find it easier to infiltrate your country. Create a fair tax system where the rich are taxed proportionately and you will find wealthy investors are leaving your shores for greener pastures and your budget rating declining in turn.

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At the same time you have to keep an eye at your popularity rating, especially when it comes time for re-election. When you once tried to pass laws and legislation that would serve the common good, now you find yourself trying to win enough voters to swing the votes in your direction; ethics can take a back seat. Democracy 3 is far from perfect; its complicated and you need to take time to learn how to navigate the treacherous political currents. There are times when you will feel helpless unable to do anything as your country slowly sinks into deficit.

Conclusion

Democracy 3 is not a game for the feint of heart or those seeking an easy “flappy-bird” experience. It will take time, careful thought and patience to even begin to master it. Having said that, it sets out to do exactly what its supposed to; make you feel the stress, lack of power and ethical quandaries that come with running a country and that, it does with high colours.

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Rating: 8.5/10 (2 votes cast)
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Rating: +2 (from 2 votes)
Democracy 3 + Social Engineering DLC - Review, 8.5 out of 10 based on 2 ratings
ModernDayCourtJester
ModernDayCourtJester


A late-twenties old soul stuck in limbo playing videogames; could be worse.

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