Republic: The Revolution
(PC - Elixir/Eidos)
Dude, direct political action can be cool. Republic: The Revolution places you as the leader of a revolutionary movement in a former Soviet republic, fighting against other factions to take over. While the core gameplay is very engaging, a lot of complicated and unintuitive interfaces stand in the way.
Let’s get this out of the way. This is a complicated game, even sober. If you only play stoned, and you don’t like thinking when baked, stop reading. This game isn’t for you. However, if you are a politically motivated stoner and have dreams of toppling governments, this is game may be worth the effort you’ll put into learning it.
You start by answering a questionnaire about how you’d handle situations. Your answers determine the philosophy of your faction, distributed among three categories (influence, force, and wealth). Starting from nothing in your hometown, you have to recruit followers and gain dominance in the city by raising support. You gain control of areas by performing actions such as holding rallies or handing out leaflets. By controlling areas, you earn that area’s resources (more influence, force, and wealth) that you can spend on more actions.
You aren’t alone, however. There are other factions fighting for control that you have to battle directly or indirectly. To wrestle control of areas, you can either start various negative publicity campaigns against them, or take direct action like shaking opponents down, beating them to a pulp, or eventually assassinating them.
You will have specific goals to achieve (such as finding a new headquarters or digging up dirt on opponents) while keeping your opponents at bay. The strategy comes from budgeting your actions, as each of your characters has only two “active” periods a day, and using the correct action for the job. As you progress, you and your followers can raise their skills and abilities, giving you more options in your arsenal, as you progress from city to city.
While this sounds relatively straight forward, it’s not. The interface is anything but intuitive, the manual is poorly organized, and the tutorials are nearly worthless. Completing some missions requires you to tag along with your operatives, but there’s no indication that may be the case. While you’re on missions, what you need to do is sometimes unclear, even with the tutorials. And load and save times are simply atrocious. This is all a shame, because underneath it all is a fun political strategy game marred by a bad interface.