It seems that the presidential campaign fever has made its way onto Steam. And currently on top of the list, we find I Am Your President. PlayWay’s latest project, developed by President Studio, is a really brave and strong contender in the genre of the political games. Regular readers of my reviews will be aware of the fact that I am a sucker for PlayWay’s games and I just had to try their latest game out. Needless to say, I Am Your President Prologue left me wanting more. A lot more.
I Am Your President (IAYP) Prologue is the prelude to the main title depicting the story of the president of the United States of America and how the year before the election shapes up the main story. You take on the role of a certain Daniel Williams, current president of the USA. What decisions you make will define the final moments of the story.
I Am Your President: Prologue is available on Steam.
STORY – A Political Thriller
The biggest plus point about IAYP Prologue would have to be its story. The story, without a doubt, is what truly makes the game worth playing. You start the game as a young adult finishing law school and having a nice dinner with his mother, who helped put you through college. This is where the player takes control of Danny William’s destiny. Most dialogues and conversations leading up to the start of the game are scripted and you just have a choice of reply. The true deviations only occur once you are in the office. Danny Williams is a quirky, eccentric and mild-mannered person who won the most recent presidential election. Armed with his knowledge, he ran the country sizeably well for his first term. The part where the player takes control happens on the eve of the final year of his term.
You have 365 days until the election and you need to provide a solid year in results to make your country vote for you again. How you decide to proceed is entirely up to you. The story is a sandbox adventure and you are given complete freedom to pursue your own political interests as well as have your own unique personality in how you communicate with your cabinet members, your employees and the general public. There are certain events that are triggered by the story arc and also based on what you selected as your strategy choices, development strategies, etc. Given that it is a prologue, I expected the story to be short. Despite having an entire year to play, the game is just 80 minutes long, and this was while playing it calmly. It would easily finish in under an hour if I were to go for a speedrun.
GAMEPLAY – A Comedy of Errors
A lot of gameplay elements mimic the same mechanisms as Democracy 4 but in a completely different way. Fans of the Democracy series will get into IAYP in no time. Like any other political game, IAYP Prologue gives more importance to your subjects and your nation as a whole. You have various statistics to take care of, such as Society, Economy, Politics, Diplomacy, Industry, etc. Every decision or policy you implement either supports or ruins the stats. Coupled with these stats, you are also given 3 options at the start of the game which helps you decide which policy to focus on for your final year. I went with Climate Change for my choice, go green!
A really cool feature is that once you select your path, all other choices are locked and you can only work on policies related to your chosen path. It is a really powerful and realistic setting and gives you a sense of challenge. There are also World Events to take care of and you have multiple options to approach each scenario. But beware, there are repercussions to every decision you make. The game ensures it reminds you every now and then. Gameplay advances every “turn” and there are a limited number of turns before the year ends. I think there were 16 turns in total for the Prologue and they are more than enough for you to explore all the mechanisms of the game.
GRAPHICS AND AUDIO – A Well-Made Package
I did compare IAYP Prologue to Democracy 4 when mentioning the gameplay elements but that is where the similarities end. While Democracy 4 is heavily text-based with lots of graphs and a few images thrown in, IAYP Prologue is more aesthetically pleasing. There are detailed environments (usually just one, your office), clean and simplistic UI, easy to understand logos and values and accessible controls. The characters are funny cardboard cutout versions of actual people. This adds a really wholesome touch to the entire game. The characters are well detailed and are comically animated, making each conversation interesting and engaging. The game regularly dives into a comic style narration, mainly at the start and the end and the transitions and animations are clean. The artwork is really good and I found zero graphical issues to nitpick on.
“Sounds” almost right
As for the audio side of things, I didn’t even notice what was playing in the background. No, I’m not hard of hearing, thank you for asking. It’s just that the background music and themes that were chosen for each scene are great! The two elements blend together seamlessly and offer an immersive experience. I would have loved for there to be some sound effects for the characters other than the shuffling sound I expect to hear every time they waddle. At least the sub-menus and UI have decent sounds and do feel nice to listen to and to interact with. All things considered, the audio design is definitely in the higher echelons of some sweet jazzy goodness but it does feel underutilised. There is definitely a lot more to do here to make the experience even more immersive.
I Am Your President: Prologue was reviewed on PC via Steam with a key provided by PlayWay.