Power and Revolution 2021: A Political Nightmare – PC Review
I enjoy politics. I don’t only pay attention to it when election time rolls around but at all times of the year. Rather, I am immersed in policy, rhetoric, the politicians themselves and, of course, the (usually) quadrennial spectacles that are elections. That being the case, it would go without saying that a game like Power and Revolution 2021 would suit me perfectly. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case.
The Geo-Political Simulator franchise has been running since 2008, so you would expect it to improve over time. Of course, it does in some aspects, but it has some serious bugs and crashes. This is probably the only franchise where the game becomes more unplayable with every new version.
In previous years, Power and Revolution ran into development issues. However, even a global pandemic isn’t an excuse for the current version’s sheer unplayability. How is anyone supposed to enjoy a game if they can’t even play it? Power and Revolution 2021 offers everything from minor graphic bugs to losing progress due to constant crashes, making it impossible to enjoy the game.
Most of the gameplay problems are issues from previous versions that haven’t been improved upon. The game’s main campaign and initial concept consisted of the player roleplaying as a Head of State. If that is the case, micromanaging everything is a hassle. What is the point of having an entire cabinet of ministers if I need to handle every portfolio? I shouldn’t have to make decisions on whether to increase the budget dedicated to classical music.
“This makes Power and Revolution 2021 unnecessarily micromanage intensive.”
The worst culprit is trade. When it comes time to sign a trade deal, I need to go check my trade tab to see how every single industry is performing and identify which ones might need some assistance. I then need to check whether the country that would be importing my goods even needs them, how many units they would be able to buy, and how much they would be willing to buy them. There are many other franchises like Total War and Europa Universalis that indicate the possibility of a trade deal to the player. Therefore, it wouldn’t be a chore to add this simple mechanic.
Moreover, trade deals are a serious matter; they are certainly not signed on the whims of two heads of State over champagne and coffee during a meeting in the morning. It’s not the job of the Head of State either to check whether every single industry is performing up to par. This job lies with a ministry or government department. All in all, a lot of what should be delegated isn’t. This makes Power and Revolution 2021 unnecessarily micromanage intensive.
Indeed, a single individual can’t manage every nook and cranny of the State, no matter how skilled they may be. So there will be lapses here and there. Aside from the tutorial, the game doesn’t provide much assistance in the form of any advisor, which the Head of State usually has. The player may receive some from the game performance-wise in the occasional friend or public figure coming to congratulate you on a job well done. Yet, the only approval that actually matters is from the public.
“The new campaigns in Power and Revolution 2021 are intriguing, especially the inclusion of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
The lack of information, at times, makes it near impossible to understand why I just lost 60% of public support when my growth is strong, inflation is low, and the public finances are under control. Of course, losing this much public support means riots. However, I have a hard time believing that the Communists from the Union of Workers got almost every major city in the United States into rioting against me. I decided to appoint their leader as my Minister of Economy to appease them and, unsurprisingly, the game crashed right after.
It’s not exactly anything new, but the AI in this game is rarely decent, sometimes bipolar, and, usually, just plain bad. There are times when the AI will make a good decision like signing a favourable vaccine deal when I desperately need them for the COVID-19 inoculation. Other times, a country suddenly hates me for no apparent reason. The AI could definitely use some work.
However, not all is lost. The new campaigns in Power and Revolution 2021 are intriguing, especially the inclusion of the COVID-19 pandemic. The best example is Tom Baden’s Challenge, where the player must fulfil the promises that the new US President made on the campaign trail, while also, pulling the country out of the COVID-19 pandemic. Yet, there is also the Revolution campaign where the player must lead a revolution against an authoritarian government, either by gaining political legitimacy within that State or outright overthrowing the current regime.
“The game is unfinished, unpolished, and riddled with bugs.”
The European Union campaigns and even simply playing as an EU country is quite fun as well because it reflects the reality of how much the EU is involved in its member states. Some features are net improvements on previous versions, aside from COVID-19, such as the new debt tab, the cause of death tab, foreign exchange students and scientific cooperation. While I appreciate these changes, they feel much like eating a turd sandwich with fresh rye bread. On the surface level, the game looks and feels great until you actually clock in a couple of hours of gameplay.
In the end, the high-end retail price is absolutely insane. The game is unfinished, unpolished, and riddled with bugs. While it does have some new features to offer, the developers should really focus on getting the basics down before moving onto the next instalment in the series. You can pick up Power and Revolution 2021 on Steam. However, I’d strongly advise against it.
*Disclaimer: Reviewed on PC, code was provided by the Publisher.
Power & Revolution 2021 Review
Power & Revolution 2021 Edition has the potential to be one of the best political simulators on the market. However, between the bugs, crashes, poor AI and lack of information, it is hard to recommend.