The democracy games are a series of complex layered political simulators, by Positech Games, and puts you in the reins of a country, as you must meet the demands and expectations of various factions and lead your country. At the moment you can only play as the United States of America, United Kingdom, Germany, Australia, France, and Canada
At the beginning of each run, you will be a newly elected president in the nation you choose, who is preparing to face the difficult task of running the government. During each game you will have to resolve conflicts and tensions within your country, essentially generating a different “story” each time. Since things are completely random and based on your choices, everything is unpredictable and no two gameplay sessions are the same. Disaster could be just around the corner and could hit your government at any moment, leading it from being highly beloved to fearing for your own safety. The game rounds are divided into quarters and it’s important to be prepared for the deadline till the next elections.
Regardless of how you approach the management of your nation, the end goal is always the same – to be re-elected at the next election. By keeping an eye on parameters such as GDP, combined with macro-economic indicators such as the unemployment rate or the sustainability of your public debt, you can aspire to become the leader of your nation again. Or get assassinated for being a dictator, your choice.
The mechanics in Democracy 4 are complex and deep, requiring you to grasp all of the concepts properly if you wish to succeed. On the initial screen, you are greeted with shows the various facets of running a nation that are displayed as interconnected bubbles. These represent various issues such as healthcare, GDP, productivity, immigration, etc.
The information displayed on the screen can be overwhelming, but the UI is very clean and well organized. For convenience, the home screen has been divided into specific sectors as part of work, economic, social security, public sector, and foreign. In this way, you are always able to find which policy or parameter you want to find.
Every action you take will always have a reaction, and sometimes not the one you were hoping for. Some policies might be popular with a particular voter or focus group but not so much with another, and you will have to juggle their expectations in order to retain the majority vote. If you are not careful, you can give rise to devastating terrorist groups for being too radical or come under scrutiny for being too conservative. You have to pass bills in order to curb the problems that your nation will come to face, and it’s up to you to decide which ones require your immediate attention.
The tutorial is in-depth but the game still requires a lot of trial and error if you want to learn the game. I don’t even think it’s possible to create a tutorial that can cover all the concepts in this game without a huge manual.
Despite having almost an overwhelming amount of depth and content, the game suffers from a lack of nations to play with. Sure, all of the major first world nations are present, but it would be interesting to be able to play some of the other rising powers as well.
With that being said, the game is being patched regularly and the developers have proven themselves as being capable of handling such a daunting title. There’s simply no game out in the market that comes close to this experience.