You know those conversations with your mates down the pub; the ones you have late on a Thursday night in mid-winter where you suddenly pipe about what you would do if you were running the country, where you would put all the money, what you would cut and what you would spend? Those chats that focus on the new laws you’d create, how you would arrest people who litter? The conversations that go on until the landlord is phoning the police to stop you from standing on the table shouting? Well, Realpolitiks New Power is a game in which you can change the world in whatever fashion you see fit. Want to create a perfect utopia? You’ve got it. Want to scare the life and money out of everyone? It’s up to you. Basically, in Realpolitiks New Power, you get to change the world.
Realpolitiks New Power is a single-player real-time deep strategy game that will test your decision-making skills, juggling of stats, and the taking in of extremely small text on your screen. After a tutorial that gives you the basics ideas and notions of what you should be doing, you launch into the game fully, with the main idea being that you are the leader of a country of your choice and you must guide that country through the next hundred years – all with the purpose to make it the best country in the world. Easy huh?
Well, yes and no. In Realpolitiks you are presented a map, with your country of choice in the middle and all your other friends and enemies around you. You are given some tasks to begin with; tasks that you can follow if you so choose. Or you can just go your own way. The many things you will want to keep an eye on are your money, your GDP – the gross domestic product of your country – and the happiness and intelligence of your population. From there, you are left with a multitude of choices, so many that it can feel a bit overwhelming. But once you’re in the groove with Realpolitiks, everything falls into place like a dream.
With the economy, you can raise taxes or open the stock market. You can build structures and sub-organisations to develop the financial market, making sure that your GDP is always kept high. You might need a loan to pay for some projects, but that is okay provided you remember to keep an eye on it before the repayment gets out of control. Whatever you do in New Power though will need to be learnt; raising taxes too much will see your population becoming unhappy but your income is great. Is that good? Is that a bad thing? It’s all about considering pros and cons, balancing ideas and spinning plates across the world stage.
You will also get the chance to build projects like a culture initiative or an Olympic bid to host the world famous games. You can build health programs with deep research or improve the infrastructure of the country to make yourself the envy of the world. Like I said earlier, the tasks given will help you guide what you need to do, delivering you several resources needed to complete the project that you might already have, or need to work harder to get.
The game works like a real-time strategy experience where time moves forward almost a day every couple of real-world seconds. But you can pause the time at any moment, in particular when you need to halt things to work out some of the trickier intricacies with the world. You can also make the time go faster if you’re feeling confident and are a whizz at multitasking. Overall, Realpolitiks’ UI works well, and it is a good port, but you will certainly miss having a mouse, if only because this will ensure things work out much easier as you switch between gameplay and menus.
During that gameplay, every now and then panels will pop up, describing a situation that has occurred; a situation that needs your attention. This could be a radical agenda suggested by a minister to do with an environmental change, or some rebel factions who are rabble-rousing and questioning the government. You will always have a choice of actions to take, letting you decide between a variety of courses of action, and these will also determine how many resources each choice will take. And in the playthroughs I’ve taken in for the course of this review, I have never seemed to get the same situation twice, ensuring things are fresh throughout.
In Realpolitiks New Power, you could quite easily play through the whole game like a dictator, sending spies out to other countries and destabilising Western civilisations, nuking every country that gets in your way. If that appeals and you want to try it, it is a viable way of finding success. Or you could play the more diplomatic game and champion the United Nations while proposing new laws to make a better world, setting up unions with other counties for support and trade links. It’s up to you how you take on the tasks in New Power, and that’s the beauty of the game. Its very complex strategy systems are where the game really comes into its own.
Visually Realpolitiks does okay, delivering a very straightforward map of the world with all the countries, as you zoom in and out of the action. The situations that appear have a very high-quality comic book artwork feel that works brilliantly within the game. But for all the good, the text is stupidly small and you will be left squinting at the TV in order to read it all. It’s not helped by a menu design that can seem overly complex for console, with everything a bit too squeezed together for my liking. For all that said though, a special mention goes to the artwork of the loading screens that place famous world leaders in normal situations, playing the game on a laptop in a very domestic setting.
If you love a deep strategy game that is full of intrigue, decision making, and provides a whole load of stats to play with then Realpolitiks New Power on Xbox One is the perfect game for you. Yes, the screen text is too small, and I feel it might be a much easier playthrough with a mouse and keyboard – of course, the Razer Turret for Xbox One could help here – but there are loads of things to love about this experience, especially as there aren’t many games of this genre on the console market. Work your way past the overwhelming initial feel, and you’ll be addicted to this world changer of a game in no time at all.