Historically, games like Realpolitiks: New Power reside on the PC. And with good reason! Coming to a console brings a number of challenges for a real-time strategy game. But for someone looking at the real world thinking they would do things differently, they might want to see what’s under the hood here.
A short tutorial is available at the very start to help you get your feet wet. But then the training wheels are yanked off and you go careening down a hill at full speed. You pick a country to control as the leader. There is little instruction suggesting what to do and you have full discretion on picking activities. Early on I found it helpful to build allyships with neighboring countries. Once you have schmoozed them enough, you can recruit them to your ‘BLOC.’ Having more countries helps bring in money and resources.
With no mechanism guiding you, picking what to do can sometimes be daunting. You have a limited amount of money to start, but it can be earned through raising taxes or completing projects. These projects however typically cost a certain amount of ‘Action Points.’ You earn these from the reflection of your government effectiveness to the people. The further I got into the game, the more important these became.
There are hundreds of projects to complete, so picking ones with the highest reward is critical. There is a task menu that will suggest 3 different projects to start with varying rewards, but even this isn’t always helpful. You really have full autonomy to decide what projects you take on. Maybe you decide green energy is important and start going for that project tree. But then you begin to hemorrhage money and have to take out loans.
The overall score of your country ranks against all others. I picked Germany and somehow managed to stay in the top 5 regardless of what I did. Early on I was very democratic, growing social services and opening a stock market. I later made more authoritarian decisions to see what would happen. The net effect was a wash for my overall rating.
What derailed my playthrough the most was losing positive momentum on action points. Along with overall rating and money, action points are volatile to a positive or negative monthly trend. Once you go negative in action points, playing the game becomes quite difficult. I could not find a way to get out of the hole and eventually gave up.
Basic game structure aside, there are endless events that transpire in your world. Things like a war breaking out between two countries and you must pick a side. Or a new non-governmental organization is lobbying for your support; will you support them or tell them to get lost? These events pop up often to force you into real-time decisions with positive and negative consequences. There are fun events too like participating in the space race and vying to host the olympics
The overall gameplay was somewhat enjoyable to start, but wore on me as I progressed. As someone not versed in real-time strategy games, I did not find it easy to pick up and play.
Controls, Visuals, and Sound
Realpolitiks: New Power is meant for a keyboard and mouse. The left and right sticks do most of the controlling but move across the screen like a snail. Often, I moved the cursor to check a task, only to be bombarded with a new event or world happening and have to move across the map again.
Actually hitting the menu you want is a challenge as the ‘hit boxes’ are tiny. I have a 60” television and had to navigate to menus the size of the A button on my controller. The text is also unbearably small and I sit only a few feet away from my large screen.
The map you control is expansive and offers multiple overlays depending on your need. The ‘political’ view was rather helpful as it shows your allies and bordering country loyalty. There are also views for society and trade as needed, but I personally found them information heavy.
I describe the music in the game as triumphant. This isn’t always the best fit when you are doing menial in-game tasks such as raising taxes or dealing with unemployment. While important in real life, the music doesn’t match the feeling of the game.
For any fan of a real-time strategy game, I recommend at least playing a demo of Realpolitiks: New Power. If you have never played an RTS, I would check out something else first. The steep learning curve is daunting, and unless you have weeks to learn you may feel defeated. But if you’ve always wanted to control a country’s government down to the finest details, this may be for you. Just come in with plenty of time because you will need it.
Pick up Realpolitiks: New Power on Xbox One here.
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