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The Political Machine 2008 (PC) artwork

The Political Machine 2008 (PC) review


"The presidential race is split into forty one weeks. This gives you forty one turns to play out in the same time as your opponent to fly all over America and convince as many states as you can to vote for you. By any means necessary.."



Political Machine 2008 has been a bit of a blow to my eventual plans of world domination. I always imagined my glorious campaign would see me stampeding opposing forces with my herds of war-elephants while I lounge upon my luxury death-zeppelin and cackle evilly now and then. Turns out the key to political domination of America is to, quite simply, lie your pants off.

This might sound like a derogatory slur against the game, so let's loosen focus and start from the beginning. Political Machine 2008 is a goofy take on the predictably two-horse race for presidency that has you choose a figure from either major party (or design your own should you feel creative) then hit the campaign trail. Sans war elephants.

Not that my grey herd of stompy doom would feel completely out of place. The American map is split into the expected states and it's up to you to sway the majority of them to vote for you. Obviously, some states are more valuable that others: Texas is awash in sheer numbers while Cali can provide a staggering cash flow. Other states, the useless ones like Wyoming, have nothing of worth to offer.

You win these territories over in various ways. Jetting your candidate out there to give a speech is always a good start, especially after a little research on what the issues are beforehand. Then, during your rally, let loose a stream of bull, either telling the voters you're trying really hard to put the environment first or ranting endlessly about how much your opposition loves those whacky terrorists and wants to give them all your jobs. Want more options? Build yourself a media centre nearby and find your choice of topics quadrupled. Why trade blows over such mundane subjects as road tax and the fuel crisis when you can promise to undercover the truth behind the alien conspiracy -- or claim the other side are already allied with the little green men.

The Republican party can even be led by an invader from beyond the stars. Iíd make some joke about a power-hungry intergalactic warlord being in that particular party, but Iím not one to go for the obvious. I am one to point out how Iím above such tactics at the sacrifice of my reviewís focus, though.

The presidential race is split into forty one weeks. This gives you forty one turns to play out in the same time as your opponent to fly all over America and convince as many states as you can to vote for you. By any means necessary..

Buy yourself a heavy, drop him in enemy lands and have him stop people who dare vote against you from making their voices heard. Purchase a web designer so any ads you run in the territory you place him in are slashed dramatically in price. Fashion consultants increase certain stats while fixers will remove a specialist purchased by the opposition. Smear merchants will get those ugly rumours spread in states where people have the gall to prefer the other guy to you.

You can build HQs that help with funding as well as alert you to random scenes you can investigate for better or worse. Maybe youíll arrive and find a Hollywood star has pledged his support to your cause or perhaps youíll encounter a jaded journalist whoíll snipe away at your approval rating. But it all costs dollars, so youíll need to hold fund raisers in your richest states to gain capital. All the while, youíll see the other half busily doing the same.

Half-way in, you pick a running mate who you can use to strengthen your stranglehold on strategic states or help try usurp rival ones from your opponentís grasp. Youíll jet-set endlessly, make uncountable speeches, hire an army of goons and win the endorsements of foundations ranging from Christian clubs to programs looking to better the lot of African Americans. Apply these to the right states -- Texas needs its firearms, Utah needs its religion, New Jersey needs... I donít know what New Jersey needs. More Kevin Smith movies? You canít offer them that.

Weeks tick by as you war over see-sawing states, trying to vandalise a slight lead your opponent has gained in Michigan while trying to decide if itís worth flying over to Delaware for a token rally. The forty one weeks are inspired, ensuring that the game doesnít get too repetitive and allowing the campaign to be split into four quarters, each bracketed by election announcements broadcasting the well-being of each of your claims. The bobble-headed marker that represents your character, be it Mitt Romney, John McCain, Hilary Clinton or a slew of unlockables like Ulysses S Grant and THE Nixon all add to the sense of fun. Play your cards right, and youíll have Abe Lincolnís wobbly likeness at your fingertips.

Who would want more? Political Machine 2008 is niche, but not anywhere as near as niche as it seems. I donít have a lot of interest invested in American politics -- I donít even live there -- but I still ploughed through enough of the game to make Al Gore supreme ruler of the USA several times over. I liked the idea of then forcing you all to live in trees and eat nothing but ladybugs and worms. Here youíll not find a game that devours your life, but one youíll want to come back to again and again to see if winning over the USA is easier to do with Barack Obama or intergalactic marauder, Lord Kona. Admit it: youíre already curious.

Rating: 7/10

EmP's avatar
Staff review by Gary Hartley (October 13, 2008)

Gary Hartley arbitrarily arrives, leaves a review for a game no one has heard of, then retreats to his 17th century castle in rural England to feed whatever lives in the moat and complain about you.

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Feedback

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Suskie posted October 13, 2008:

Funny -- you're reviewing a game about American politics, yet you spell "defence" like a silly Brit!

You might want to read this review over one more time and check for typos. I spotted a couple, though I'm too lazy to go back and find them again, making me kind of useless, but eh, whatever. Solid review in any case, and I commend you for getting through it without making any of your usual "HAY AMERICA IS STUPID BECAUSE I AM BRITISH LOOK HOW FUNNY I AM HAR HAR" comments.
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EmP posted October 13, 2008:

Thanks. I actually wanted to try and avoid playing the haughty Englishman on this one. I don't know what's wrong with me -- maybe I'm ill.

It'll get a stupedious editing come the morning. These errors exist because it's silly o'clock here so I'm keen not to make them worse.
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wolfqueen001 posted October 13, 2008:

Haha. Yeah; this review was entertaining. nd I'm also glad you reserved your 'lol America sux' jokes for other things.

I think this is my favorite line Texas needs their firearms, Utah needs their religion, New Jersey needsÖ I donít know what New Jersey needs. More Kevin Smith movies? You canít offer them that.

Man, you hang around us too much. XD
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Suskie posted October 13, 2008:

Yeah, are you secretly American, EmP?
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EmP posted October 15, 2008:

Afraid not. I've not eaten a hot dog in months.

I've given the review a good editing. Hopefully, I've chased a lot of the issues out.
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wolfqueen001 posted October 15, 2008:

Your welcome. =D
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EmP posted October 15, 2008:

You're, WQ, not your. Honestly, lost without me...
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wolfqueen001 posted October 15, 2008:

XD Dammit! I knew that looked odd. And it turned my own jab against me. Bah. See what happens? I'm turning into you! Stop corrupting me! =O

Just admit it. Half your reviews would be riddled with typos if I didn't edit them for you, and you know it. >_>
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Suskie posted October 15, 2008:

Um, wasn't I the one who pointed out the typos in this review? I'm just sayin'.
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wolfqueen001 posted October 15, 2008:

You pointed them out generally. But I've made it a tradition to go through and point them out specifically for EmP ever since... like... February I think.

Which reminds me, I still need to do that Mah Jong one. Because I read it, but didn't send him the edits because I wasn't marking them down as I went through. There were tons there, though.
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EmP posted October 15, 2008:

Yikes.

Thanks to everyone! You're all super! And other things along the same line!
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Masters posted October 15, 2008:

I'm just sayin'???? That's TOTALLY my line. Suskie you freakin' crook. And Emp, I hope you're not having WQ and company edit the "U's" right out of our properly spelled words like COLOUR.
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wolfqueen001 posted October 15, 2008:

Haha. No worries. I've learned to ignore Brit spellings in my editing, though occasionally I'll put up a slang term or other spelling that I didn't know before, and then feel promptly stupid for doing so, especially when I have to look it up on urbandictionary or m-w.com because EmP doesn't always have the curtesy to tell me. lol
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Masters posted October 15, 2008:

Gotta love the Brit spellings.
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Suskie posted October 15, 2008:

I've been using "I'm just sayin'" since I was a fetus.
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EmP posted October 15, 2008:

I recently said "I'm just saying" in the Alpha sign-ups, therefore am now going to clain that it's been my copywritten catchprase since 1842 (the year of OD's birth).
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wolfqueen001 posted October 15, 2008:

So then you're older than OD? Ew.
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Masters posted October 15, 2008:

I'm the only one older than OD. And so when Suskie was a fetus, I was already having my third mid-life crisis. I still have the Model-T convertible to show for it. Sorry guys.
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overdrive posted October 15, 2008:

So then you're older than OD? Ew.

Thanks, Wolfqueen. My self-esteem has been boosted greatly by that. And here I was thinking that other than the whole "associated with EmP" thing, you were okay. Well, we'll see who gets blacklisted from my RotWs and who doesn't from now on and then see who's laughing. One hint. The answer is ME!!!!
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wolfqueen001 posted October 15, 2008:

Haha. I'm sorry. >_> If it makes you feel any better, I was just kidding.
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overdrive posted October 15, 2008:

Well, I'm still holding the "associated with EmP" thing against you, no matter what.
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wolfqueen001 posted October 15, 2008:

You'd probably hold that against me even if I hadn't joked anything about you. >_> Nothing I can do about that, really.

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