An intriguing – if a bit too esoteric and confusing – political simulation, this game lets you become the U.S. President who must maintain your approval rating and deal with a global crisis. Decide on national budgets, monitor nuclear threats, allocate foreign aid – it's all in a day's work. |
It is apparent that Shadow President's designer, Robert Antonick, tried very hard to counter the conventional wisdom that political simulations are "dry" exercises that are best left to Cold War historians and statisticians. He has largely succeeded: although there is still a huge number of statistics and reams of text to pore through, they are presented in an attractive, graphical style, with neat animations. Summary statistics for each country, for example, are presented as an isometric city, with each section representing basic categories. Many skyscrapers mean that the country has a big population, while the number of nuclear symbols signify their nuclear capabilities. When you launch a nuke toward a country (be wary of a huge drop in approval ratings), you will see that same isometric landscape obliterated in the familiar mushroom cloud. There are also many clues to help you get your bearings in this potentially intimidating environment. You can consult an array of advisors on policy issues, and the CIA World Factbook – the entire text of which is included in-game. With a solid economic, diplomatic, and political models, attractive and highly functional graphics, and many "real-world" options and policies to tinker with, Shadow President ranks as one of the best games of its kind ever made. Two thumbs up!
Reviewed by: Underdogs