How hard can it be, saving the planet from environmental disaster? At least that’s what I thought when Fate of the World from Red Redemption fell into my lap. I couldn’t have been more wrong.
The year is 2020 and the climate is becoming more unstable by the year. The Human population is increasing at a phenomenal rate, craving more and more energy. Fossil fuels are stretched to the limit. Pollution is rife, spoiling the Earth we live on, killing off species of land animals and ruining the habitats of marine life. It’s a very grim outlook, but on the bright side, planet Earth has an ace up its sleeve, you. It’s up to you, as the new head of the Global Environment Organisation (GEO) to allocate resources, recruit and assign agents to work in environmental hot-spots, stop wars, stop pollution, save polar bears and put a smile on everyone’s face – not much pressure then.
The game starts with a number of missions to select from reducing Africa’s water wastage to saving the world from a mad despot intent on ruining the environment to the point where no life can exist. After that you are presented with a nice, yet thought provoking, cut-scene and a graphically glorious rotating Earth.
This is your main control where you can view the latest news items, see trends in temperature fluctuations, set agents to work in certain locations and so on. Fate of the World is turn based and the resources you need are displayed as cards, one card for each agent you have employed in that particular region. The cards range from an Environmental Office which can cost $25, to an armed response unit and black ops missions, which can cost over $1000. The cards are split into two groups, those that have an effect during that turn, and those that have a longer lasting effect over several turns.
As each turn in the game lasts five Earth years, quite a lot can happen, which makes Fate of the World quite a difficult game to get up and running with. Within next to no time you find yourself running out of money to spend, which is topped up after each turn and is based on the GEO’s popularity, or trying desperately to calm a civil war, or battling against the rising sea level and the full fury of Mother Nature. In fact even after several attempts at playing, you will still find yourself failing the missions.
The game is all about balance, granted you have certain goals to accomplish and others that will cause a mission fail scenario, but the essence of the game is to find a point where humanity can survive and the environment is slowly recovering, despite the fact that everyone will hate you for doing so. The major problems I found when playing were the lack of any decent cards that would solve the issues at hand. For example, North Africa had a small problem with drinking water – basically, there wasn’t any! – but the only card I had available was to send in some troops to deal with the angry population. Considering the game was developed with real-world scenarios in mind, this didn’t seem like much of a solution. To be fair, the longest run I had without losing was by acting like a totalitarian nut case and quelling every uprising with an iron hand of special ops teams. I was looking for my own methods of eliminating world hunger, by eating the unemployed, but that card never turned up.
That said, Fate of the World is quite an interesting and educational game, one that I can see being played in Science and Environmental lessons in schools as the wealth of information it contains is really quite astonishing, not to mention the real-world simulation of rising sea levels and ice caps melting. The facts are all real and, to be honest, quite scary in some instances.
Clearly the developers have a passion for environmental concerns and they share that to good effect during play. Although the fail results can be apocalyptic, it’s not all scaremongering, more like improving awareness through gaming education – if that makes sense?
The graphics are very nice. The spinning globe has lots of detail, although not quite Google Earth it serves the purpose of the game adequately. Sound effects are fine but the music is a grinding affair that, thankfully, can be turned down.
All in all, Fate of the World is quite a good game. I’m not sure if it will convert many people to being more ‘green’, but as I mentioned earlier, it would ideally suit a school’s science project or simulation. Fate of the World is difficult, but with a little thought and planning you can win over in the end, let’s hope the same can be said for the real world global implications.
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