Suzerain – Review
Follow Genre: Text-based role-playing game
Developer: Torpor Games
Publisher: Fellow Traveller
Platform: PC, Mac
Tested on: PC

Suzerain – Review

Site Score
8.0
Good: Deep storytelling, in-depth decision making
Bad: No option to skip text
User Score
7.5
(2 votes)
Click to vote
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Rating: 7.5/10 (2 votes cast)

Political turmoil has never been more exciting than it is when you’re pulling the strings yourself, if you’re able to deal with all the stress your choices bring you. Suzerain is a game all about putting that decisiveness to the test. As the newly appointed president of a country caught in the aftermath of civil war and economic recession, it is up to you to make the calls that will hopefully lead to a brighter future. And if you can do that without pissing off the commoners or one of your many diplomatic allies, even better.

Story

Suzerain opens with a timeline, taking you along the life of Anton Rayne from birth until his election as the new president of Sordland. This doubles as an epilogue of the game as well as introducing you to the gameplay element itself. Reading through the text, you will be confronted with making your first choices during your teen years, and faced with the possible consequences they bring. This part also sets up your backstory and gives the needed plot threads to start the game properly. From the election on, the story is shaped partly by the decisions you make as you try to run the country in a way that brings prosperity. Keeping everybody happy is impossible, and you will need to decide where your priorities lie. These decisions can greatly alter Sordland’s history.

Graphics

Because of its text-based premise, Suzerain’s graphics can only be discussed in so much as they are present. The game is very static, but the layout is clean and some thought clearly went into designing a user interface that works well with the many different elements you might want on screen at the same time. Between the codex that gives you additional information on people and events, your resources, and the main text of the game, the screen easily gets crowded but never too chaotic to bear. The art for the character portraits looks great and the concept of using an interactive map so you can choose what decisions to tackle next is pretty entertaining.

Sound

Music-wise Suzerain is a slight letdown. While there are some well-composed tracks on the soundtrack – especially for the more tense moments – the game tends to repeat the same music or keep the same track running too long. After a while, you start simply ignoring it to focus on the text, which is never great. There is no voice acting in the game, which can be expected from a text adventure but it does mean the already copious amount of reading also includes the dialogue.

Gameplay

Suzerain is a text-based role-playing game filled with political drama and choices. The gameplay is rather linear, with the small deviation of you being able to choose which issue to tackle first on occasion by clicking on a city that is marked. These smaller, broken up story segments make the game more easily digestible since it’s 90% reading – with some of the text being rather technical. To further help, the game comes with a codex. Highlighted words, which are usually names, places, or historic events, can be clicked for further information on them. These codex entries do get updated as the game progresses and situations change.

Aside from the reading, the game consists of decision making. Dialogue options will have few consequences, though they might alter your relationship with the members of your cabinet or how the other parties view you. Larger decisions come in all shapes and sizes. From what projects the government should invest in, which neighboring countries to ally with and how to run the army, everything is up to you. Keeping everybody happy is impossible and Suzerain can quickly dissolve into picking the lesser of two evils or trying to juggle what promises to make. Overall this makes for an intriguing story to play through.

To keep track of all that’s going on in the country, you have some useful tabs. One will allow you to know who is currently in the assembly, and which ministers you have serving under you. Another will give you a rundown of the campaign promises you have made, which laws are in effect, and some of the issues your people are struggling with. The game even comes with a notes section where you can write down your own musings or details you want to remember for later. This might seem like a lot, but it can come in handy when you realize the game only has an autosave function, and it’s impossible for players to go back to an old save. This was done to give your decisions more weight and make it so the story is experienced as intended.

Conclusion

Suzerain is a hefty game, with a runtime easily over seven hours in length full of a deep plot, intriguing characters, and hard choices. Even among fans of the text-based genre, this one might not be everybody’s cup of tea, but if you’re into political dramas and heavy-hitting intrigue, Suzerain deserves a try.

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Rating: 7.5/10 (2 votes cast)
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Suzerain - Review, 7.5 out of 10 based on 2 ratings
Jessica


Games are my escape and writing is my passion.

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