EA Sports - It's In The Game - Because Politics is A Game
The last time I reviewed an EA Politik game was back in 2013. Since then I've been utterly blown away by the amount of functionality that the new game has over its predecessors.
The first thing that I noticed whilst playing the Australia League is the speed at which you can depose Prime Ministers and rearrange cabinets. Once you remove members from cabinet posts, their morale ratings instantly plummet and you can trigger by-elections pretty easily. In Politik '16 they haven't quite worked out by-election mode because even if you remove say a Treasurer who has made a deeply unpopular budget, it still classifies their seat as being extremely safe and parachutes in a candidate almost automatically. It's pretty farcical but at least it's something.
There is an election in Politik '16 and so gamers will have fun playing with that. Several elements from previous editions are gone and a lot of the toxic and spiky components have been removed. The problem is that although Blue gets to play with an erudite Prime Minister, Red doesn't have a leader who anyone has heard of.
You do get some fun side shows such as trying to get team Yellow, Green and the Hat Party to win more than one seat, as well as the usual arguing about things like boat people and climate change.
The British League which saw the rise of the Lib Dems as a possible breaker between the two majors in Politik '10, gave you a bleak hard mode challenge in '15 where you have to try and win government with a majorly depleted Labour Party and a surgent SNP. Most players thought that this was impossible because although you could achieve a clean sweep in Scotland, it wouldn't be enough to turn the government red.
For Politik '16, in the British League there are no elections and the only real side game that you get is to sort out who the new Red leader is. There are a few options from a capitalist Blarite to a socialist Bennite but ultimately with team Red being powerless and impotent.
A possible text blunder may have happened in Politik '15 that they've carried over into '16 in that the leader of the SNP is still named after a fish.
The American League still appears to be in beta mode from the advance copy that I've seen. The Blue side of the Presidential race is pretty well sorted and you can win with either a female or a male character but the Red side is very very buggy indeed.
In early pre-shipping versions of the game, there are twelve candidates on the red team; including one of them who is obviously some sort of joke candidate. They have loaded this character up with ridiculous money and charisma stats and it's really strange because no matter how terrible and horrible you can make him sound, voters still like him. Even things which are bordering on racist don't seem to matter. I suspect that the graphics aren't quite yet sorted either because this joke character has the most shocking hair that I've ever seen in a Politik game yet released. Probably they intend to do some sort of palette swap before the game is released; or else they'll just delete him.
There's a kind of fun short game in the New Zealand game where you get to run a referendum for the flag. I haven't worked out what the actual point of the game is, other than to say that you get a meaningless achievement and a congratulations screen whatever the result is.
There are no German, Italian, French or Japanese leagues that you get to play with in Politik '16 but we have been assured that they're going to be held over until the 2017 version of the game. Maybe there will be an Australian or New Zealand league as well depending on what the designers choose to go with.