Democracy 3: Social Engineering DLC makes D3 even more complicated than it was in its original form. Unfortunately, it doesn’t fix the major flaw with the original game.
The DLC aims to add extra depth to an already fairly dense game by tossing in all sorts of social policy options to your quiver for currying favor with the voters. Well, that is the idea anyway; get it wrong and a faction that doesn’t like your social policy will off you at the polls next time around.
D3 is not a democracy simulator at all, but rather a bunch of devs’ views on how politics works. Why they haven’t bothered to handle the realities of multi-party politics in the countries in the game before making a DLC is quite odd, and the results are more than a little disappointing.
In short, the game portrays itself as a governing simulator for those interested in seeing what it takes to run a country as leader. It is in fact a less graphic-intense version of Tropico, without the sun and the building aspects.
Why is the basic game flawed? Well, it assumes that all the nations that you can plan in are a political duality when in reality, none of them are. Yes, the US has two major parties and that is it, but that is changing. I am sitting in a state where one of our Senators is neither Republican nor Democrat. Not only that, but that election, in which I was one of the candidates, had a total of four independent candidates. There are other states in the US, like Vermont, that have an independent in high national office.
The rest of the countries offered up have at least four viable parties in national elections. So why have a “simulation” game that does not reflect reality? The entire game is set up on a left-wing bias and perpetuates the left-right paradigm which is not grounded in the reality of modern-day politics. There is no reflection of libertarians, so as a simulation of actual politics it falls way short.
Beyond that, the game forces you to have people not reflective of your party in your cabinet. A PM from the “Liberty Party” would not have to deal with socialists, trade unionists, and environmentalists in his cabinet as they would not be members of his party in the first place.
As stated, the new DLC adds lots of social causes to the games mechanics which make it more complicated, but not more accurate as a simulation. It also does nothing to improve the clunky interface. The game looks terrible and is more complicated to get into than it should be.
Oh, and to add the silly nature of the game, I was doing rather well and then got assassinated. I was playing in the UK, a country where this has never happened. What is even worse is that I was killed by a “capitalist cabal” when I was playing the game as an ardent capitalist, lowering taxes, getting rid of regulations, and the like. In other words, my killing was random and did not reflect my policies, which seems a bit disconcerting.
This adds to the lack of realism in a game that is, again, meant to be a simulation. One has to hope that next time someone offers up a similar title, it is both less clunky and more reflective of reality.
It should be noted that my review of this game is heavily colored by the fact I have two degrees in politics and quite a bit of experience as an activist, pundit and candidate. Anyone who has read my gaming reviews knows that I am also an avid fan of many titles. From neither of these perspectives does the main title here, nor the DLC, perform in stellar fashion.