The Race for the White House 2016 is a turn based strategy game putting you in the shoes of a presidential candidate running for office. Released early September, this game strikes whilst the iron is hot and the whole world is keeping a close eye on the election. The premise of this game is intriguing and quite unique, allowing you to see attempt to win over voters and see if the power will go to your head.
The visuals are what one would expect from a game such as this, it does the job but is nothing to write home about. The character models are of fairly low quality, as are the animations, but due to the limited amount of time that is focused on the character models it is easy to look past. The map is simple but means it is easy to know exactly what is going on in each state because of this. The user interface is minimalist and prevents the player from getting overwhelmed with options.
The audio is, following the theme of today, simple. There is a single rhythm that plays throughout the entirety of the campaign, and while it is very patriotic sounding, it did force me to severely lower my volume to prevent the minute or so loop from taking over my thoughts. The voice actors are impersonations of the given candidates, they are not good ones. An attempt was made, and credit should be given for that, but they were not convincing.
The gameplay is simple and intuitive, allowing you to click and go, and a campaign of the shorter length, as the game allows you to play for one or two months before Election Day, can be flown through. However stopping and researching each event, thinking tactically, and observing what your opponent is doing provides a longer and more enjoyable experience. Random events add dynamics to the election trail, with sex and fraud scandals being given as options to impact your opponent’s chances of winning. There is some replayability of the main mode, due to the differing approaches of each party, and I found some enjoyment trying to be as left or right-wing as possible (I never once won as a right-wing candidate, to the point where the structure of race felt imbalanced), and this allowed me to see how the country would react if I, for instance, took away everyone’s rights… I was beaten in a landslide. There is a multiplayer option which is a nice addition, however due to the games servers or my ISP I was unable to get a match, but we can be sure it is more of the same.
The game is simple but competent, and its premise is interesting, and its premise is really the only draw to this game. There are countless exceptional turn based strategy games on Steam that are deeper and more worth your money, but the idea behind this game is an interesting one.
However, despite the unique premise and competent gameplay, that is not enough to warrant spending £6.99 on this game. It is fun for a round or two, but quickly forgotten, and when compared to the games of similar price and within the same genre, it will be left behind. If it ever ends up on a 50% sale then maybe, but for not, it’s best leaving it alone, unless you’re really getting into the presidential race. Bang up average.
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