Democracy 3 gives you the chance to run a country and affect the many lives you are responsible for over a whole host of variants including labour laws, taxes, the environment and education. Playing as the newly elected leader of government, you have a limited amount of time and political capital to fix the societal issues and stay popular enough to get voted back in for another term. This is a game for anyone who has ever said they could do a better job than the current government, and shows the difficulty in holding popularity amongst the various political and social groups. The new DLC for Democracy 3 implements twenty six new policies and eight new dilemmas, increasing the growing complexity of running a country.
On choosing a country to lead you are faced with a visually daunting web of statistics, graphs and variables concerning everything from street gangs to an asthma epidemic, and your job is to fix these issues whilst keeping the income and expenditure of the government relatively balanced. Changing policies to fix issues such as alcohol consumption, a big problem in the UK, may in fact make you less popular amongst voting groups such as the poor, who feel like they deserve a binge after a long day at work. Viewing the statistical data on the causes of societal problems often ends with you clicking in circles, trying to find a non-existent solution to a problem. All whilst this is happening, the game gives you choices such as implementing stop and search procedures or curbing banking bonuses, which drastically affect your popularity.
Initially the tendency is to makes choices based on what you think the game wants, and try to please everyone and fix everything. This is impossible. The gameplay is seriously hindered by your lack of political capital, which is needed to change the intensity of policies, and everything you do seems to annoy someone and cause lowered credit ratings, crimes to increase and cause groups to plot your downfall. Eventually this becomes too much and you opt for doing things that you actually want, changing working weeks, drugs and alcohol laws to suit you. Whilst this makes you more popular amongst many, capitalists will hate you for making everyone lazy, drugged up blobs living off the government. Sound familiar?
Graphically Democracy 3 is a difficult and confusing game, with a screen full of icons and flow lines in a horrible tangled mess at times and for some reason after ever quarter it decides to shuffle the icons around, making you forget what you were going to do once you got more political capital. Your cabinet members look like stereotypical politicians, making the desire to slap them as realistic as it is in normal life.
For the gamer who is not completely politically clued up on a country, the favoured and most fun way to play Democracy 3 is to throw policies at the wall and see what sticks. Making drugs and guns legal with no restrictions whilst making it so taxed that only the wealthy can afford it leads to hilarious results, making the whole game feel less educational and more like a proper, however slightly pointless game. If being in charge of everyone and everything gives you a tingly feeling then this game is for you, but you better read up on the views of your voters, or you’ll slink back to your fancy house a beaten politician.
Words by Louise Egan