3/10 Maybe buy if very cheap/on sale and super interested even after this review.
--- Negative ---
---- Gameplay / In general
Near 100% electorate approval rate, having eradicated religion, poverty, having a positive budget, while having a space program and various other luxuries, then that as a total beginner at this game and after a 2-hour session on 100% difficulty? Tells you something about the complexity behind.
It's not the least my intention to praise my capabilities, which I don't think are outstanding at all, but the game is just too simplistic at its core.
The various relationships between policies and their effects are very simple, you just point and click and adjust sliders. The in-depth information provided to you (statistics, various reports) are there for the optics only, after you know what to look out for you are not really spending any time working through something really difficult.
Of course it is nice if you have successfully banned religion without much opposition, or have an expensive space program, but not if you know, that the game has somewhat given you that as a gift, you haven't worked hard for it at all.
Things like banking and housing market crashes somewhat happen based on your policies, but they also do happen when everything is fine. It seems random and irrational. No poverty, full approval rate, overfinanced schools, bus systems, free meals, but you get class warfare?! ... Not that those things are of any challenge...
Mods are available, they make it a little bit more interesting, adding various new policies and maybe some cause-and-effect relations, but they are not drastically changing anything.
The interface looks nice, but other than showing cause and effect relations through arrows across the map, it isn't really practical. Looks > Gameplay in this case.
Worthless. Picking Germany you start with a two-party system (which we don't have) and for example having to make the decision in the evolution vs intelligent design question, which depending on how you answer can ♥♥♥♥ religious people off. We don't have that debate in Germany. The only difference probably are some starting values (like tax rates, et cetera), but it's not really tailored in-depth towards the different countries available.
--- Mixed ---
It's lack of complexity make it rather fast-paced, as you can click through your terms quite in a rush if you know what you are doing. The interface though is not very fast, and all is point and click.
Still: Probably the game serves well as a 2-hour enjoyment once a week or so, if you just play around trying out various things.
--- Conclusion ---
For a quick 2-hour session from time to time, it's okay, but to spent dozens of hours on this game, it's just too simplistic for that. Wanted something I could dive into, but there a more fun things than diving in shallow water.
By the way: Just look at the average playing time of people writing reviews, no matter if positive or negative! Why do you think that is... because there isn't much more to it, after you've played for a few hours, that's why.