I broadly agree with CountVlad. Democracy 3 seems to have the potential to have a lot of depth, and has some really nice features, with all of the dynamics around how different things affect different groups approval and the complex interactions between stats. Unfortunately, from what I’ve played so for, it’s too easy for any of this to appear at the moment.
I’ve played the UK and US so far and in both cases I’ve easily managed to maintain 80%+ popularity in my first term without considering voter opinions at all by only considering the problems in the red bubbles and putting into place policies that directly improve those things. This just makes the game very shallow and without much real challenge. I don’t end up thinking about the complex systems, I just think ‘what do you do to improve crime’ or ‘what do you do to improve technology’ and nothing about how these things interact.
EDIT: Editting just to add that I’ve played the UK through two complete terms, and by the end of the second it felt like the economy was so strong (meaning I could pay to fix all my problems while also having low taxes), and I’d maintained a 97% approval rating for so long (basically the entire second term), I couldn’t really see it becoming more of a challenge? At least, not any time soon.
I really like the interface and the simulation, the bits of it I’ve seen at least, and I think the main barrier to the game being more fun is that it just isn’t really challenging. I’ll try some of the other countries to see if I’ve just picked the two simplest, but the US at least looks like it has serious problems at the start, but they were all pretty easily resolved without ever really having to worry about a budget deficit or angering anyone particularly.
Looking to the more positive stuff (which there is a lot of), as someone who played D2 a fair bit, the game (despite in many ways looking very similar) really feels different and like it has more potential for depth. The ministers feel more important and interesting, I feel like the security stuff is much clearer and I have more agency over it, just fixing the economy doesn’t feel as easy as it was before. You can also really feel the lag on effects coming in, which is nice; there is a real consideration with state funded schools that while investing in them has lots of positives, you’re going to be dumping money into them for a long while before you see that effect. The voter focus groups looked interesting too, but I’ve not really looked at them just because I haven’t ever had to worry about people liking me. I’m sure more of the changes will become apparent too as I play more (and if I’m forced to engage with them by more challenge).
Another couple of thoughts:
I got one of the achievements when I played the tutorial (the one about equality). This seems a little strange, given that all I did was literally what I was told to do.
The time from hovering over a policy to see it’s name and the arrows is too long, and is a bit annoying at the moment. After playing for a little bit, I found myself just clicking on them to bring up the full screen even when all I wanted to know was what the icon was because it was faster.
(Also, I realise this is super early but I would be interested to at least know what the basic things to know for creating a mod are, though I appreciate this is probably not a priority on beta release day)