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These issues are, however, ultimately minor. As it stands The Political Machine 2008 is a fine follow-up to Stardock's earlier political gem. Though most games only last an hours or two, the game offers enough to keep potential candidates coming back from just one more campaign. Political junkies will almost certainly find themselves sucked in, along with those who have only a smattering of knowledge about the American political process.
The real question on the title is if there’s enough meat to keep gamers satisfied. Stardock’s $19.95 price point is a good selling point. There’s really not enough to this game to justify a standard $39.95 or $49.95 price point, but a $19.95 price point makes the game worth checking out. I’ve certainly gotten enough replay value out of it to justify a $20 purchase, and I’ve enjoyed playing around with it. The issues are on target, and the demographics are on target to provide a good simulation of the current election. This game is a must-have for political junkies, and should at least be checked out by anyone remotely interested in the presidential election.
The game’s straightforward interface, light sense of humor and cute graphics might be sufficiently charming to engage and possibly teach a thing or two to players who are moderately interested in electoral politics. However, Political Machine’s target audience seems to be people who have been paying close attention to the twists and turns of this race since 2006. And, for those political junkies, it’s a good sim at an inexpensive price-point—$20 for download. And, if you’re a political junkie and a Republican, who knows? Maybe it’ll offer you a sense of catharsis-on-demand during the next three weeks, as you pretend that McCain and Palin have a realistic chance of winning this year.
In all, Political Machine is a great deal of fun for a campaign addict like me. I’ve played it more than ten times through with different candidates and haven’t grown bored yet.
Ultimately, The Political Machine 2008 is an excellent addition to a strategy fan's library. Though is forgoes the engines of war most often associated with those titles, it offers an intensely interesting, fast-paced and addictive distraction. Though it may not win any graphic contests against the current PC game heavy hitters, the game is undeniably fun and engaging to a point that belies its simple origins. Furthermore, at an economically stimulating $20, The Political Machine 2008 won't require you to request a bailout for your gaming fund.
Though it can get repetitive, The Political Machine 2008 is, like the real thing, still oddly addictive. It's nothing that will keep you playing for months on end, though for $20, it's a good deal for strategy fans who are in the political spirit.
As silly and entertaining as it is, The Political Machine will not appeal to all players. There’s definitely a learning curve, particularly for those who are unfamiliar with the election processes. Also, the board game-style gameplay is excellent for medium length sessions, but the game’s repetitive nature and the closeness to the first title makes for limited appeal the second time around. Whether you have a passing interest in politics or are hardcore about your choice of candidate, The Political Machine 2008 is highly enjoyable regardless of your political leanings. Folks whose interest piques upon hearing the words “political simulator” and missed the original would do well to give the 2008 edition a shot.
Whether you are a political novice or an up-and-coming Karl Rove, The Political Machine 2008 is a fantastic simulation of how we elect a president. Returning customers from the 2004 edition should think twice, since not much has changed, but for the $20 price tag you can't really go wrong anyway. Besides, there's nothing like watching an election night where all of America goes blue. Only in a video game.
Even though it partially coasts on past glories, The Political Machine 2008 is one awfully addictive game. The easy-to-learn, tough-to-master style of play will draw you in, despite the vague feeling of being let down by the similarities between this new game and its four-year-old predecessor.
Still, at 20 bucks it’s a safe bet for political junkies who want to test their mettle and there is a solid strategy game underneath all of the cutesy bobbleheads. If Stardock plans on releasing another version down the road, let’s hope the company goes all in and adds some additional features and makes it a true sequel.
For twenty bucks, The Political Machine 2008 isn't necessarily a bad deal, but it's a one-note affair that inhabits that misty gray region between comfortable familiarity and dull predictability. As a light-hearted treatment of American politics in 2008, The Political Machine definitely succeeds and we've had a bit of fun roleplaying our own values on the road to the White House. There's no doubt that it's an enjoyable experience, but the main campaign just has you playing out the same battle over and over again. The other campaigns are interesting and introduce some genuinely funny and thought provoking issues but they're not quite as comprehensible or recognizable as the 2008 US campaign.
Who would want more? Political Machine 2008 is niche, but not anywhere as near as niche as it seems. I don’t have a lot of interest invested in American politics -- I don’t even live there -- but I still ploughed through enough of the game to make Al Gore supreme ruler of the USA several times over. I liked the idea of then forcing you all to live in trees and eat nothing but ladybugs and worms. Here you’ll not find a game that devours your life, but one you’ll want to come back to again and again to see if winning over the USA is easier to do with Barack Obama or intergalactic marauder, Lord Kona. Admit it: you’re already curious.
It has laughably low system requirements, and any computer made since the 2000 election should be able to run it without a problem, and at a $20 price point there are much worse ways to spend your money. The only big problem with The Political Machine 2008 is right in the name – 2008. Its shelf life is severely limited, and after November there will probably be nothing to bring you back. There are some fictional and historical campaigns that can be played as well, but the real meat and potatoes of the game is the current election, which will soon be over, and it will be four long years until The Political Machine 2012 comes out. Well, unless the election goes on an extra two months, then Stardock can add a “request recount” option to a post-game screen. Oh, political humor, you’ve got to love it.
Political Machine has a major flaw, its low replay value, as each game varies very little, and aside the „unlockable” content, there are few reasons to play single-player. There’s LAN and Internet multiplayer, which aside from the chat system behaves normally, although the player community is rather thin. Historical campaigns, such as the one in 1860 or 2000, are also available, as well as the customization of new campaigns, where even the duration of the race can be selected, for a max of 121 weeks. I myself was eagerly looking for a real political battle, with slander, dirty pictures „leaked” in the press, planting of bugs, etc. Although amusing and relaxing, this last title from Stardock is less and entertainment game, and more of an educational material for the American youngsters.
It’s an interesting concept given the competition, although The Political Machine 2008 isn’t billed as a simulator, and will certainly entertain those tempted by the lower price point. You’ve a solid game that, whilst incredibly similar to its forerunner, brings the series up to date, especially in such a historic US election. Just don’t expect too much deviation as every play-through is anything but a winding road.
The Political Machine 2008 is more like a board game than a computer game, and those looking for a sophisticated simulation are likely to be disappointed. Those who like to keep their games on the simple side, or who enjoy returning time and again to classic board games, like Monopoly, will get more enjoyment from this game. It can also make for a good learning tool for kids who are beginning to learn about civics and our government. And if your candidate loses on November 4th, you can always use it to try and change history more to your liking.
In the end, despite the issues, The Political Machine 2008 stands out as a really solid "beer & pretzels" strategy game. As disappointing as the game's lack of replayability and the technical issues that mar its multiplayer component are, the game still offers a tremendous amount of gameplay at a bargain price of $19.99. Political junkies and strategy gamers looking for a nice change of pace will certainly appreciate it. If it didn't quite deliver on everything it promised, it certainly came closer than any real-world politician in recent memory.
A new Political Machine for 2008, this turn-based election strategy game is light, fun, and amusing. While it may not have a lot of lasting appeal, it certainly makes for a fun way to spend a few afternoons. And as a bonus, I came away feeling all socially and politically conscious.
Political Machine 2008 s’avère relativement amusant malgré un thème qui ne porte pas en lui les fondamentaux du fun. On regrette son côté trop répétitif, mais l’ensemble est plutôt bien réalisé et les clins d’œil omniprésents. Les connaisseurs de la vie politique américaine y trouveront donc leur compte, les stratèges un peu moins.
Stardock insists, in the reviewer's guide included with my copy of the game, that Political Machine 2008 isn't a simulation. That's unfortunate; with more focus on the real-world conflicts and unpredictable events that plague campaigns, running for office might be a bit less tiresome. The self-loathing political junkie in me wants candidate gaffes to wrestle with, pervasive 527 ads to denounce, prolific media involvement to impotently condemn, and third-party meddlers to disenfranchise or catapult into legitimacy. The gamer in me just wants something worth playing more than twice.