Democracy 3: Extremism DLC Lets You Go A Little MadFiled inside: Reviews
I’ve said it before, but if you have any friends that love to make unfounded blanket statements about politics, have them play Democracy 3. The game does a fantastic job of displaying the careful balance it can take, and the difficult decisions involved in many parts of occupying a position of power.
The new Extremism expansion for Democracy 3 introduces many new policies for appeasing (offending) your citizens, or programs to save your taxpayers money (generate massive amounts of capital for yourself).
My experience with the base game was a torrid one. The game is extremely difficult. Your initial instinct to just run wild with the policies you personally think will work to solve all the problems in this country will likely prove massively ineffective quickly, at least in the sense that they’ll do what you thought they might while offending a majority of your constituents.
I was widely hated in my first foray as the President of the United States. I did everything I could to give the poor a chance, curb crime, and prioritize environmental responsibility. I instated a carbon emissions tax, reduced military spending, increased police presence and education spending, and increased taxes on luxury goods and corporate gains. This led to severe antisocial behavior (too many cops on the streets), big business leaving the country (better taxes elsewhere, too many controls on production), and offended my conservative, rich, and elderly constituents fairly heavily. Needless to say, I wasn’t reelected.
I went a more moderate, but similar route on my next attempt. I tried to take it easier on businesses, balancing some of my added taxes and controls with small business grants and investment schemes to reward large corporations for investing in smaller business ventures. Eventually I was unable to support all the programs I’d enacted, I drove the country’s credit rating into the ground. My cabinet members had become dissatisfied with my policy changes, and were subverting some of the changes I was making, delaying or ceasing changes I was making to various programs at many turns. (I fired them for more loyal, but ultimately less experienced and effective members).
Finally, after installing Extremism, I dove back in, this time as the Prime Minister of Canada. I also succumbed and dropped the game’s difficulty by half. Right away, the expanded options available to me made the game feel considerably deeper. By filling some of the initial gaps, the game’s breadth feels infinitely greater.
I took a similar path to my previous ones, although being the leader of a different country comes with many changes to policy in place and the current state-of-affairs. Environmentalists were already happy with me as I started, and I rolled with that momentum, driving them from happy citizens to near-fanatic activists, actively recruiting voters to my cause. Violent and organized crime were both serious issues, I increased funding for police slightly, but (accidentally, I might add) introduced poicy that allowed for police drones to patrol the skies.
Military spending was not as large a chunk of my expenditures (so cutting it wasn’t an option this time around), but I was able to levy some lighter taxes on large chain stores and the extremely wealthy to enact social equality policies that eventually curbed homelessness and unemployment (ultimately partially balancing out the costs of the programs).
Big business wasn’t the happiest with me, neither were most capitalist voters, but I’d created what essentially amounts to a socialist environmental paradise, to the point that I actually managed to get reelected in the process.
This is a definite improvement over the original. Some of the policies added feel like they might be too good at times (those police drones seemed to have no ill effects, while not costing a terribly large amount), so there might be some balance issues, but I haven’t found any that I feel are totally game-breaking.
I feel like the addition of this DLC pushes the game into the range where it might be more worth the purchase for real gameplay, where before it felt more like a novelty, especially for its cost. The game would benefit greatly from a price reduction, it just doesn’t quite feel like it should be as expensive as it is, but it remains an experience I feel like people should entertain.
You can grab Democracy 3 and its DLC on Steam. The base game is $24.99, with each of the two available DLCs (Social Engineering and Extremism) clocking in at $4.99 each.