Being a person interested in political philosophy and economics I could not help myself getting excited about Democracy 3 release. The earlier version of the game ak. Democracy 2 was well known, and critically acclaimed as best aviable real state governance simulation, so the expectations about new release in the series were set pretty high.
Luckily 'Democracy 3' does not fail to meet them, by refreshing old gameplay and adjusting it to current world situation. For those who did not have a chance to play 'Democracy 2', what we get now is a game centered on governing some pre-set countries just after being elected for our first term. The game does not only cover impresive (and still groving) number of policies and decisions spanning from most obvious ones like setting taxes, or managing public services to much less common, but still possible gov.-made decisions like state-founding a space program, or introducing creationism theory to schools.
What's important to point out, is the fact that our decisions does not hang in some kind of mythical ether, but rather influence and 'are' actively influenced by the only sovereign present in model democracies - the people. The simulation of those people, or "the voters", is definitely the strongest point of the game. Every person in the country is represented, with their needs, loyalties and political views categorized into some main social groups. What makes this system realy cool is the fact, that just like in realy world every person can be a member of more than one group, reacting diferently to many introduced policies, so it's not something unusual to see a groups of commuting, eco-friendly socialists on one side, and motorist, conservative capitalists on the other, acompanied by some liberal state-emplyees who also happen to be patriotic.
So, as You see, satisfying all those groups may be a little challenging, buy one could ask 'why the hell do I even need to satisfy anyone' ? Well that of course is up to You, but the point of the game is getting re-elected, and You can't do it with the support of more than one social group in the begining. Of course You can slowly press on society through clever policies encouraging flow of the people from one social group to another, but this of course can not be completed in just one term, so until You'll be able to realize Your vision of a true utopia supported by pretty monolithical society composed for example of commuting, eco-friendly capitalists, You may be forced to make some realy hard decisions, and even cross Your initial ideals only to barely slip into another term in the office.
Last thing requiring attention is the large amount of criticism, that centered on a called 'left-bias' in the game, openly promoting liberal/socialist views on state and economics. Unfortunately to some degree this accusations are true, with some brighter examples being 'no-gun control policy' resulting in rapid increase of 'violent crimes', or 'science founding' and 'space program' policies resulting in more and more people giving up their religion. But despite such minor flaws, there is nothing right in quite common accusation that You "can only win this game while playing socialist". It's just not right because the game gives You liberty to play low-tax, passive 'minimum state' and still come out victorious, with most of the population satisfied. The trick is to know the right pace for the changes, 'cause initialy, in most aviable countries, the population of state-depandant voters is just way to high to accept any radical 'laissez-faire' policies.
Overaly 'Democracy 3' is definitely best state-governing simulator out there, and for quite some time it'll be. With a huge and active modding community, and acces to steamworks, it's also getting more and more complex, while alowing players to experiment with the game, being extremely fun for those strugling to create virtual environment suiting their vison of a real-life Government.
Posted: October 29th, 2013