Governments, particularly ones that are based in any level on democracy, are complicated. First, you must realize that people are far more complex than just capitalist or socialist, conservative or liberal. Actually, in a country like the United States, you also have to realize that there are more than just Democrat or Republican. People are complex and many people adapt to the needs of the various stations they hold. It is important to keep that in mind when talking about Democracy 3. The game, quite simply, is a government simulator where you act as the president or Prime Minister of a fully simulated country.
Claim your rule
Democracy 3, much like the other games in the Democracy line, has you going through a term as President. It runs until you either lose an election, are assassinated, or hit your term limit. Your choices affect how the various demographics of your country view you and the prosperity of your country. So, you rule as you like at your own benefit or peril.
The mechanics of Democracy 3 are simple. Depending on the loyalty of your cabinet, you get more political action points that can be used toward the implementation of new policies or either the adjustment or cancellation of existing policies. The most you can gain per turn is about 36 points with a total action point count of 54. Your choices affect multiple issues due to the way they tie together. It’s a hell of an interactive cluster map that is thankfully well executed.
Democracy 3 illustrates the complexity of governing and the behavior of people. As said earlier, the game doesn’t just look at conservative vs liberal or capitalist vs socialist. There are some focus groups in the game that identify as conservative on the conservative/liberal scale, yet, due to being a low income parents in school who are commuters, also identify more as socialist on the socialist/capitalist scale. Basically, it points out that you cannot pigeonhole someone politically. It’s partially because people tend to act differently when an issue has a direct effect on them. You also need to keep the people in your cabinet happy, because the happier they are, the more action points you get. The more action points you get, the more you can do.
Democracy 3 also tries illustrate the complexity of policy issues. After all, if you do things that increase racial tension, it could increase crime, reduce tourism, and reduce the GDP. If you increase spending to improve the environment of your country, you might reduce your GDP and irritate the capitalists, but increase the health. Which, in turn, could increase productivity, regaining lost GDP while decreasing unemployment. Building a better road system will turn off environmentalists, but it will decrease unemployment and have a direct effect on GDP, productivity, and your standing with motorists, commuters and cyclists. These are just some examples. Just factoring in the global economy makes the picture more complex.
The only problem is, the UI isn’t very intuitive. After being assassinated three times due to allegations of widespread racism, I finally figured out where to go for implementing new policies. That, in turn, stopped the racism assassinations. Which meant I had to start contending with the capitalists trying to take over the country because I was capitalistic, but not giving corporations enough power. Basically, there’s so much there that it gets very complicated, very fast, and it’s different to know what to do and where to go to do it.
Why only two parties?
Another thing that is odd about Democracy 3 is that it is limited to a two party system. Perhaps it’s because a two party system is still in effect in the United States. Still, other countries with democratic systems of government have evolved beyond have two or even three established parties. With as politically realistic as the game is, the lack of a multiparty system is pretty unrealistic. Especially since it doesn’t limit it to just the United States.
The good thing is that you can play as any of the parties that had shown up on a ballot in recent history, third party or otherwise. However, it’s limited to your chosen party against only one other party. This could just be due to the complexity that a realistic multi-party system requires and Positech Games is a one person operation. Hopefully, the option for expanding beyond a two party system is instituted through further DLC.
Democracy 3 does an incredible job with simulating the complexity of political policies. It also also has a remarkable amount of replay value, which only expands as more DLC like the new “Social Engineering” DLC, comes out. Some revisions could make the game better and more realistic. However, as it stands, if you’re interested in governmental or political simulations, this game is for you.