Geo-political Simulator Review: Running The World… Or Ruining It?

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Many strategy games give you a role as a commander taking control of a battle or overseeing a campaign, although they are often taken place in fictional settings. For those of us who prefer to launch nukes instead of spells, with our targets being authentic countries, there is the political genre. It is a genre within a genre, giving us strategy gamers a world where can relate to: ours. Unfortunately, many political games tend to focus on one area of politics, such as getting elected or preventing warfare. “Geo-political Simulator” tries so hard to cover all the bases of politics and fails on nearly every single one; which is pretty damn shameful because this game has a lot of potential.

“Geo-political Simulator” truly feels like a political game, where you have the freedom to be the biggest fascist in history, the nicest guy on the planet, or someone who likes to dance on thin moral lines. It’s such a unique experience that I’ve never experienced a political game where I managed to convince a local tennis star to endorse my leadership, only to find out that my defense ministry was kidnapped by the Russian mafia. This game demonstrates how chaotic and unpredictable politics really can be.

I wouldn’t mind the anarchic nature of politics, if the game gave me an idea on what the hell I’m supposed to do. There isn’t a manual that comes with the game (or at least not in PDF), and the tutorial is simply non-interactive movies that show you how to navigate the interface. Otherwise, when chaos strikes your beloved country, you are out there on your own. The most common example of the frustration in my games was the labor unions constantly protesting when I cut income tax by half a percent. Now why are they protesting? I don’t know, they just keep saying they are pissed off at me. It would be nice if the game would advise me on what to do, or at least tell me why the union wants to bite off my head. Instead, all I get is some barely pseudo-English words being spewed at my direction while the game twiddles its’ thumbs expecting me to know what to do.

This is why I categorize the game into the “bad” instead of good, because I’m not sure what is expected of me. I have a crappy tutorial, no manual, and advisors who can barely speak English. I wouldn’t mind the ugly characters, war-only multiplayer, the bugs, or the poor graphics if this game could at least give me a reasonable direction. It’s a damn shame, because the game definitely gives you choices via its’ somewhat user friendly interface. You can choose your country’s national sport, change the interest rate, develop your theater culture, ban a religion, or leave the UN. If you can think it, chances are it can be somewhat pulled off, but choices don’t matter much if you can’t understand the consequences.

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Additionally, if you’re the type of person who loves authenticity, you won’t find it here. The leaders, political parties, terrorist groups, and so forth, are all fake. This wouldn’t be such a huge problem if there was some effort to make them look “real”, such as a neat logo, but instead we are given a box of one color with some letters over it lead by an ugly computer generated aberration of a human being. As for your opposition, they make questionable decisions such as Iran attacking Europeon nations or Israel attacking China, defying all sorts of logic.

The saddest thing about this game is that it shows a lot of promise. If you’re willing to go through the muck and understand the game’s creative grammar, you might find one the most free form and deepest political games out there. The amount of control you have in your chosen country is intimidating, and can be a fun experience, but only if you are willing to invest your time into understanding it and don’t mind the numerous glitches this game has. However, if you are a person of high expectations, avoid this one.

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

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