The Political Machine 2016 is a decent attempt at making the extremely confusing world of Election time America into something fun. Not spectacular, but certainly not bad.
To begin with, the tutorial is very, very detailed, and explains pretty much everything your going to need to know in order to play, whether your someone who knows all there is to know about the American system, or someone who knows next to nothing. It’s very helpful, although it can be quite overwhelming, as there is a huge amount of information to try and take in.
The idea is to take one of the existing presidential hopefuls, or to create your own custom character, then to pick an opponent, such as Ben Carson if your playing as a Democrat, or Hillary Clinton if you’re a Republican. Every pre-designed character has a variety of stats in different skills, such as fund-raising ability, as well as one for money, which basically tells you how much they’ll start out with.
The game’s probably at it’s best when you make your own wanna be President. There’s a fair amount of customisation choices available, including some ridiculous stuff, that helps you to make the character your own. This helps keep the game from feeling too serious, although it’s hard to take a bobble head Donald Trump seriously. You can put points into your skills, before then putting yet more points into what policies you want to be in favour of, or not. While none of these policies seem to make a great deal of difference, it’s a nice touch that helps you figure out what you want to prioritise.
Once you get into the game , you have to fly around to different states, giving speeches on topics, fund-raising, creating adverts or building HQ’s which give you different bonuses depending on which you choose. There are randomised events, such as special characters to either help you or hinder your opponent in a certain state, or interviews, where you have a limited time to give answers on the questions they ask.
There’s quite a lot of details in this game, and it can, again, get a little bit overwhelming, as there are different map layers for different information, the amount of money you get from a state depends on whether they support you or your opponent or are indifferent as well as how wealthy the state is. The speeches are simple but well made, giving you the option of what you want to speak about as well as whether you favour it, oppose it or want to say that your opponent is for or against it. This can be quite helpful, and it’s very easy to tell how saying this should impact your popularity in that state.
All of this adds up to make a game that can be really good fun. It’s not a long game; even if you select the longest campaign length of 52 weeks, it shouldn’t take much longer than an hour or so each time. But it’s fun while it lasts and has pretty much infinite replayability.
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