floorswine's Democracy 2 (PC) review

Democracy in action - kind of

Democracy 2 is a political strategy game from Positech that allows you to play as the elected leader of a country of your choosing. You will inherit a number of problems upon taking control of the country, and in order to solve them you will have to modify and formulate policy, react to international and domestic crises and at the same time keep your cabinet of advisers - and the general public - on side by the next election to stay in government. If you find yourself horrendously bored by this description alone, then it might be best giving this one a miss - Democracy 2 is undoubtedly a niche game for politics nuts and it probably isn't for everyone.

Keep your advisers happy to avoid disagreements and resignations

Essentially then, as a game lacking broader appeal you would probably expect Democracy 2 to go as far the opposite way as possible and emphasise depth over casual gameplay. To be fair it does achieve this on one level - the scope of policies to deal with is impressive, and the ingenious way each policy area is connected to the next affects the decisions you make often in surprising ways. You can cut the national defence budget to balance your country's finances and avoid the need to raise taxes, but the side-effect will be that more patriotic citizens will stop supporting your party. Upset a social demographic enough and you might even have an assassination attempt on your hands. However, after a few playthroughs the same scenarios begin to emerge with more frequency and repetition than you'd like, and overall the game lacks solid challenge and longevity. The audio is also very unimpressive – all cheap and nasty sound effects and looped music. Visually too Democracy 2 is functional if very rudimentary. Probably the best thing about the presentation is the variety of political quotes that pop up after every round, so don't expect anything too great! It also would have been nice to play as real countries other than the bizarrely named nations on offer here. Mods are available from the game's main website, but aside from aesthetics they don't make a huge difference to the core game.

Changing one policy will affect another

Democracy 2 is a unique and clever concept, but ultimately the execution just isn't quite successful enough, and after just a few playthroughs you've pretty much seen everything there is to see here. The foundations are here for a really solid and satisfying political sim experience, but when it comes down to the meat of the gameplay there's just not enough on offer. If you like the sound of the concept then by all means hunt it out – it is worth a look, but most people might be better off waiting for Democracy 3 instead.


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