Fools and roads

Realpolitik: Ah, those wonderful 4X games from Paradox Interactive! One thought of them inspires with the prospect of incredible opportunities and subtle control over the states of the world. Hundreds of countries that can be controlled, hundreds of laws that can be issued, dozens of sliders, thanks to which the player decides the fate of millions of virtual residents. But to make a strategy of this level is a task for talented and experienced developers. Not to mention large budgets, which are sometimes not visible on the screen, but which, like a gopher, still exist inside the game. Alas, the creation we are talking about today is devoid of almost all of the above. Take the work of Paradox, cut it, then run the knife again, then cut down the remains at the root, and you have Realpolitiks – a Russian-Polish global strategy about the near future.

Three campaigns dip into eras starting in 2020, 2050 and 2222. The first offers players the current political map of the world with a few subtle nuances at first, such as Crimea, Donetsk and Lugansk regions, which are part of Russia. The second scenario completely or partially changes the borders of states after a nuclear war. The latter splits the world into small regions of 500 people each and provides all countries with the same opportunities, which makes little sense, since each campaign is limited to a modest set of starting countries – only eight to choose from. And no, Poland will not conquer the whole world, even if you really want to.

There isn’t much variety in the game itself either. Instead of financial settings, there is only one tax slider and the stock market, where you can call other countries. A little later, they allow you to explore exports, which bring a small income from the sale of resources every month – where the local economy ends. Social housing, area improvement, new infrastructure, new mine and tourism industry – that’s all that can be done in their regions, and none of the projects can be improved, only created. Not good, right?

The player’s hands are untied only when it comes to science and international relations. There is a lot of research available, and it affects everything from the economy and social reforms to military affairs and special projects. Alas, there are also pitfalls here: a very long research period and a limit on the amount of simultaneously studied do not allow you to quickly raise the country from its knees. Yes, and the content of the already open often flies a pretty penny – think twice before studying, for example, “Maternity Leave”. Population growth is, of course, good, but it hits the state pocket hard.

As for the international arena, it is slightly more diverse than domestic construction. Diplomacy, for example, allows you to improve relations with neighbors, invest in backward countries and help. Espionage – sabotage nuclear power, change the political system and weaken the morale of the rival army. But do not rush to spoil your neighbors, because sometimes your friendship with them can grow into something more, namely the creation of state blocs. The bloc is a union of countries tied by one government, one administration, one currency and a visa-free regime. Participation in such an alliance will make your treasurers beg for mercy, but few people want to run into a country that is part of it – you will have to fight with all the states included in the bloc at once.

Alas, the behavior of rivals is unpredictable. For example, you decided to play it safe, stock up on nuclear weapons and strengthen the army. Launched the rocket industry, trained the infantry, built tanks, planes, ships. However, the larger your army and the more you study military projects, the more they hate you. You are hated by your neighbors, you are hated by countries within your blocs (and even by those who themselves asked to improve the army), you are attacked by those who should not.

Do you want examples? Get it! The small island power of Animeland (former Japan) for 250 people is extremely unhappy with the fact that you have fifty planes and tanks in your hangars, so it decides to attack you. Yes, you have thousands of warheads with which you can arrange a nuclear winter on Earth. Yes, you have such an army that you can populate a small planet with it. Yes, your soldiers use laser weapons, have robotic implants and supercomputers in every mobile phone. So what? Animeland will still attack you with its three fighters on a rusty tank. Because it can. And when you start to resist, it is you who will increase the “Aggression Rating”, and you will be hated even more. Logic takes his suitcases and leaves for his mother, leaving Realpolitiks alone.

But back to the war. The war in the game is the most exciting and at the same time the most monotonous thing. All you have to do is issue the same orders for military operations. If you have a lot of army units, then the operation will most likely be successful. If not, then accumulate troops and repeat. As soon as there are enough victory points, it will be possible to negotiate with the enemy about his surrender. Military operations do not differ from each other either visually (just a set of photographs) or in name: you need to capture key communications, cities, military bases, etc. If you are conducting anti-terrorist operations on your territory, then the set of orders remains the same. The developers don’t explain why we have to capture our own cities and military bases during the gang purges. Here it would be enough to change the names of the orders,

Realpolitiks promises a lot. It allows you to build underwater and polar stations, destroy aliens, colonize planets and satellites of the solar system. However, it is beautiful only in words. Planets and stations are just new regions on the map; aliens are just countries that have changed their flags to alien ones, leaving earthly technologies and earthly economies. Impose a trade embargo on the Martians? Yes Easy! No differences, no features, just colors.

The game is not friends with logic anywhere and ever. Although it would seem that if you make a cropped version of excellent global strategies, then the left should be thought out to the smallest detail, otherwise competitors will eat your offspring with giblets. Realpolitiks, for all its simplicity, is a very inconvenient game (to get to the necessary information, you constantly have to scroll through the swollen interface) and a curve in almost all indicators: from AI behavior to internal political statistics. In it, you can be called a belligerent aggressor simply because you are constantly attacked by idiot neighbors. How does it even work, huh?

Be prepared for oddities, troubles and insidiousness scattered here and there by the creators. They swung at the big, but they only had enough strength for the small. Beginners in the genre will be quite satisfied with the result of their labors, but the rest is better to look at other global strategies.

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