|System: PC||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Stardock||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Stardock||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: June 16, 2008||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1, 2 Online||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone 10+||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Nathan Meunier
Its been a long and winding road leading up to the 2008 presidential campaign thus far. Though the end is in sight, the coming months should bring plenty of surprises, opposing points of views, and all-out political slug-fests, as the campaign season builds to a chaotic crescendo. The nation finally has two clearly delineated presidential candidates to rally behind for Election Day on November 4, 2008, and the serious rhetoric is growing so thick its almost physically tangible. As the politicking reaches a fevered pitch, its a great time to inject some humor and lightheartedness into the process. Stardock has just the ticket.
During the 2004 Presidential Election, Stardock released The Political Machine; a cartoonish strategy PC game that simultaneously poked fun at the idiosyncrasies of the election process while providing players with a solid and humorous campaign simulator. The release of The Political Machine 2008 seems appropriate and well-timed. The game offers a few updates to the original and give new players and would-be political aficionados the chance to toy around with the outcomes of the election even if its only in the virtual sense. There may not be quite enough new content to justify another purchase for those who picked up the first title, but for $20, newcomers will find ample amusement in being the mastermind behind the inner workings of a candidate of their own choosing.
If youve ever secretly fantasized about getting behind the steering wheel of your own campaign, then The Political Machine 2008 is your chance to do some damage. After picking from a slew of potential presidential candidates include those past and present youll have 41 weeks to influence voters in all 50 states, capture battleground territories, and maximize your hold over the Electoral College. This is primarily accomplished by jetting around the country to deliver crucial speeches to influence public opinion, constructing campaign headquarters and other key political outposts, launching advertising campaigns, holding grip-and-grin fundraisers, winning national endorsement from special interest groups, conducting television interviews, hiring spin-doctors to generate positive press and smear tacticians to sully youre opponents image, and myriad other strategies at your disposal.
Like a board game, the political race plays out in turns, though both candidates take action simultaneously. Each week, your candidates stamina and the level of funds available to them will determine what he or she can accomplish. By keeping a close eye on the data spread across various menus for individual states and the overall nation, you can somewhat determine how your campaign decisions are impacting the overall election and make decisions on where to focus your efforts. Also, charts showing anticipated and actual voter response to your public speeches make it easier to lay out your platform in a way that doesnt alienate your constituents while attempting to make headway with undecided voters. You can adjust your position on any particular issue at any time waffling is something politicians do best. Humorous media reports pop up at the end of each week and intermittently throughout the campaign. At the end of the election, the winner of each state is announced one-by-one as the electoral votes tally and a final winner is declared.