Well, here’s what I have to say about it. While coming in and reading the description it seems to take things quite seriously, showing what one of the most important persons on the planet has to weigh in when making decisions that affect the whole world.
After playing it, I get the feeling that the game changes tones all over without deciding on one, and it ends up not working for any of them. There are interesting parts such as the 5 goals you can take for your campaign, the interview about the drone strikes and some others, but they change so quickly back into wackyness that they don’t even have the time to be deep and intriguing. I didn’t feel amused at the humor or parody either.
I’ve made a big feedback summary after playing the game again to bring up my issues with it. Still, I’m not saying that the way you are writing is wrong, but I came in expecting something and found something else. It wasn’t my thing (I prefer more serious stories) so I moved on.
But that’s just me, everyone has their preferences and it’s clear many others here enjoy it, so don’t feel like you need to change it unless you really want to. However, from your replies to @augustus27, @CaesarCzech and @Thfphen110, I feel like you didn’t really catch what they were trying to tell you. So let me try to clear it up for you.
This bit here is simplistic. There are Republicans who are for gay marriage. Such as the Log Cabin Republicans. The MC being in a same sex relationship also seems to cause no change at all here.
Glocks come in many calibers. Just by the outline of the holster it’s pretty difficult to tell what model it is. I suggest you just mention Glock; maybe tie this in for a President that has actual gun knowledge, such as past military.
I suggest a change for this choice, as it implies a political leaning.
I recommend some name suggestions for the children instead of having to outright type it.
A bunker with videogames? What for? This should be an option to the player if they want to have such things in their bunker.
Here our spouse says they heard you talking to the General, but during that conversation it’s not explicitly said that you mentioned the password aloud, so how did our spouse discover it?
I don’t know any of these songs, best to describe them by genre.
What do bugdet cuts have to do with whomever goes aboard the Air Force One? Do we need to pay a ticket for them? Doesn’t the government just selects who can go inside for the trip? They can just not use the amenities like rooms or whatever if budget is really the issue.
There is even another section explaining how big the AFO is, surely we can handle 4 more people in there.
The character creation is good; we can select our looks, our political party and even our state. Other details are relationships, children and past career. Extensive, I liked it.
The dialogue choices however, feel limited. Usually, interactions are divided in a “trident”:
- Friendly answer (sometimes professional, sometimes not)
- Flirting or humorous answer
- Rude answer
Some varied options would be nice. A good example of dialogue was when the spouse goes into the secret bunker with you. In that scene you have more variety of options that mix your feelings about the password being discovered, if you want to having a good time and such.
Maybe have the options being more general dialogue instead of just the way you treat people; have some of them reveal a bit about the person you are talking to instead of just displaying their reaction.
Anyway, moving on.
Options here are too extreme. Needs an option that I’m not annoyed by the media and have no issues making interviews, even if we already had an interview earlier.
The “Yay! Attention!” one is when things start to change the tone in the game. It gives quite an unprofessional tone to the game to see it even if you don’t pick that option. It feels as if your character is a 10 year old.
After a while, you get to choose the government goals and I like this part. All options seem appropriate, even the ones who are quite over the top still feel realistic in a way, even if some feel totalitarian.
However, after picking them, we get to the Agent 47 scene. The Hitman mentioning is unecessary and way too blunt. It takes the player out of the game, damaging immersion. A better way to give the Hitman reference is not to explicitly mention it, but be subtle. For example just describe him and point out most important Agent 47 details (bald head, suit, red tie) and mention that it “reminds you of someone dangerous” or something like that. By mentioning Agent 47 directly you remove the realization for players who know Agent 47 and confuse those who don’t.
Also having the VP analyze your goals based on his political views can give them some character. Just tie each choice with Republican, Democratic, Independent etc and at the end see how many match their political views. Make them react differently based on that.
So after that we eat a bit and then our spouse asks for some good time. Our responses here are badly worded. “HELL YES” and “HELL NO”. That’s too extreme, especially when we are still inside the kitchen. It makes our MC feel like some super happy kid. Options to politely refuse or accept, or maybe even flirty options to accept would be more interesting than imagining our MC acting like that.
Moving on, while getting ready for the interview, we have the infamous option of selecting clothes. It didn’t even need to be an option to be fair, the content of the interview here should be the focus. Among them there is a silly option to go naked while doing the interview. I’m not American, but I don’t think any US President ever took things with takes so trivially, even Trump. Just seeing that option there made me change my opinion in the game, even If I didn’t select it.
So I pick the option for the suit. Justice comes with a strange request which I feel is quite an unprofessional request. We are preparing for an important event and he then brings up his personal issues, this isn’t the time for it. So I pick the third option.
And then he takes it super seriously; a president is getting ready for the interview and ignores some unprofessional question at the time and thats enough to really “hurt” someone who is a White House official? Where is his maturity to drop the issue or understand that now is not the right time? It would be better to have an option for him to ask this later.
In the same moment, we have another example of the trident dialogue.
Right after that we get a very, very extensive callout to Choice of Games. This sort of thing should be either way shorter or some kind of easter egg to the game. The way it goes on for so long takes the player out of the game and breaks the fourth wall. I’m not even sure what its supposed to accomplish; it’s not funny or tells us much about the assistant (other than he likes text games, which would suffice with a much shorter callout).
Like the Hitman reference, if you want to make references don’t be explicit, be subtle. Try to fit some sort of nod to each of these games without referencing directly.
Okay now for the interview, we have the trident dialogue again, but the reaction here is what I dislike.
I pick number two, and she is disappointed? I go for a handshake and she is disappointed? Why? She really expects starting an interview with a hug? Not only that, but a hug with a President?
A handshake is an entirely appropriate greeting for an interview.
Anyway, the rest of this scene is a big contrast shift.
First it starts wrong, with the handshake disappointment I mentioned above, right after that the cameraman, Daniel, sticks out his tongue? Why? That’s very unprofessional behavior.
Then we receive a message on our phone, which we should leave for after the interview. Also why mention its in our favorite ringtone? This detail is trivial and it draws away the focus out of the interview.
Then we get Choice of games mentioned once again as in the popular tweets. Then the story for the drone strike. It asks me to respond but the reporter didn’t ask this question directly to me, this is what we saw on the phone. There is a continuity error here since we see the story in the phone but we reply to the reporter, who didn’t say anything but “A pleasure to see you again…”. The whole phone thing can be removed here and have her directly explain the story and ask what we think of it.
So no matter what option you pick here, you get to this. After such a serious and grim topic your options are to high five and hug? The reporter doesn’t even follow up with another question based on your previous answer.
This moment feels even more serious and has a lot more impact because the whole White Hourse journey was so wacky before. As if they weren’t really experiencing what the president job is really like, but now they are going to. Finally making the player step back and realize “wow, this is really serious”.
It ends up as quickly as it showed up, not developed further.
Even checking out the code it’s clear to see that there is little effect besides changing something later on.
Thankfully, it’s brought up on the second interview right after so at least it’s not quickly forgotten.
This is a great moment in the game, because you actually feel like a leader, like a President, instead of some kid hanging out in the White House. But once you pick an option, you get just a very short reaction and then it’s quickly forgotten again.
This is probably the moment that the game tries to take itself seriously but then it doesn’t go deep on it so it doesn’t fulfill the potential this scene has. We are once again dealing with another trident dialogue. At least have the reporter say what they though about our reaction to the ISIS story instead of just saying goodbye.
And another trident dialogue. But at least this time she was okay with just the handshake.
If the dialogue here says hug is reserved for romantic interests, why would she expect a hug when we met? Even then, I think the romances and flirts move too quickly in this game; I know nothing about her other than she’s a reporter. This rushed romance pace persists with all characters. Show us more about them instead of making things go so quickly. Do they have a family? Do they agree with your political views? What do they expect from you, the President, to change in the US?
Make them grow on us first, then make us want to romance them because we liked what we saw.
I can understand the way it is if we are married already, since then we can make up our own story, but try to make the romanceable characters be more than their roles; as of now I can barely describe anybody besides the VP, the personal assistant, the bodyguard, the reporter etc. Even as I’m typing this feedback I already forgot their names.
So at chapter 2 we start with a fake fight, which is an interesting twist to the situation, although I have no idea why they would need the President to be on a training exercise. Anyway, I’m disappointed with Brian’s protection and his reaction is pretty ridiculous.
Anger? Hurt in his eyes? Isn’t this what he signed up for? When you’re protecting someone and screw up and that person gets angry with you, why the hell are you almost tearing up? Are you really a Secret Service agent? Own up to it.
At least he stops being childish and does later in the scene.
Also this part seems to have glitches with the pronouns all over, as well as (Brian -10) which is the first stat indicator I’ve seen in the game.
The nerf gun thing was mentioned before but I didn’t even knew what it was. I’m fine either way but it would make more sense if they looked like real guns, but since this is a text game this really wouldn’t make a difference since it’s not necessary to keep the suspension of disbelief that this is not a real fight with visuals before revealing it, since it’s a text game. We can’t “see” the guns before this is revealed to be a fake fight, so to me it’s fine.
Another example of the Trident dialogue.
We meet the pilot but then the game makes too many assumptions on how we feel about him. There is no need for that, let the player form their own opinion based on what they just experienced.
Okay, so choosing were we travel now. I am Brazilian by the way.
I have to say, I like some of what is in here. To me this is humor done right (in most places in this scene), by using context the player may be familiar with (in this case national stereotypes) instead of forced wacky moments that I find unfunny. Still, there are some things I wanted to raise.
First, it’s Colombia, not Columbia. Second, what does the Colombian Cartel have to do with Brazil? They are totally different countries. We have plenty of local drug cartels and factions here. Besides the stereotype of being a nation with very high crime rate (which is fine in using it, I don’t feel offended), another one if you want is Brazilian’s love of Football/Soccer.
For Great Britain having tea and the queen being mentioned is enough. No need to mention a breakup with the UK, never mind the exact date which makes the joke too forced.
The others are funny and I did laugh from reading them, especially Russia (since it points out that the Russian ambassador would like his own country) and the France one. But since North Korea and Saudi Arabia had the same, the assistant could say “If you go to North Korea you might end up becomming a communist!” (also these should be different based on the political views of the MC)
However, even if I liked this bit it’s perhaps the most clear indicator that the game does not take itself seriously. This could still be used in some joking banter with someone else on the ship, but the reason to travel to these countries is not clear, all that is written before we decide is the jokes. The game needs to explain the pros and cons of having these countries as friends or enemies. Even if it’s something the player might know from real world politics, it’s something that the player would have to weigh-in since they can only visit 3.
So then we come to the end, thanks for reading through all of that. Like I said before this is not the kind of game for me. There’s nothing wrong in having humor, but to me there’s the right time, place and kind of humor. I suggest you change the description of the game in a way that more explicitly says this is a parody or humor oriented game, as I had the wrong impression when coming in to play it. Or at least make it more obvious at the start of the game.
With this being a political game, I suggest you focus on political humor, not just random wacky humor. By using the context present in your game, you make your humor both stronger and immersive. Like for example the MC making jokes about a rival political party or about another country (which is why I think the nation jokes fit well). To me, too much wackyness that hurts the authenticity of the game also hurts its immersion.
This took me 4-5 hours, I hope you appreciate it and I hope you make your game the way you want it to be, these are just my suggestions and feedback.