GamesGames reviewsSuzerain review: Ruling a country is not fun, but I want to...

Suzerain review: Ruling a country is not fun, but I want to do it anyway

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You know, it feels good when a game respects you and doesn’t treat you like a child. Most modern developers treat its players with a certain disregard, and as a result, we get watered-down and simple games even when the topic is heavy. Suzerain is not like that: it’s as flashy and exciting as 1980s interactive fiction. It’s about as text heavy, too.

I must admit, it feels nice getting into such a grown-up game, if you can say that. Suzerain is a politics sim, but unlike, say, Tropico, it doesn’t aim to entertain or simplify the topic. It starts with a wall of text, offering you to voice your stance on realpolitik and devise your own path to power. Before the game even formally starts, you have an opportunity to decide what are the roots of future president Rayne, and just exactly how he gathered enough power to become a ruler.

Suzerain

The most impressive thing about Suzerain is its creators’ ability to create a whole new world, which feels both fresh and eerily familiar. It’s easy to discern what the two superpowers are based on, and Sordland’s own problems are similar to dozens of smaller countries in our own world. But no matter how many weird names you see in Suzerain (and it’s a lot), you never feel lost because of the internal Wikipedia, which allows you to read tons of info on just about anyone and anything at any time. That way, you never forget a name. Honestly, it’s such a simple and ingenious system that I can’t but wonder why more games don’t use it.

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Like I said, Suzerain is not a flashy game. You won’t find tiny armies fighting on the battlefield, and the amount of animation is minimal. Most of the stuff here is text based, with some illustrations. The most detailed are the characters’ faces, which help you to remember the large amount of people you have to deal with as a president.

Suzerain

I must admit, I didn’t expect Suzerain to be so in-depth. It tries its best to stay as dry and to the point as possible, and as a result it’s very inaccessible to, say, a teen or a person with little to know understanding of political systems or 20th century history. Political terms are being thrown left and right, and sometimes even I made decisions I had little understanding of. What did I do, whom did I benefit? You might feel stupid sometimes, but it’s a good role play, too — it’s another reminder that a president, no matter how brilliant, can’t know everything. Without good advisors he’s nothing, and in Suzerain the amount of memorable supporting cast is quite impressive. Each of them has a character, certain aspirations and goals. No one is two-dimensional. Really, really impressive writing all around. Good job, Torpor Games.

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Suzerain

Suzerain is a niche game, and there’s not a lot of those on eShop. But it’s a real treat for those who’s into history and politics. It feels good on the Switch, where most text based games often feel alien and hard to read. But the devs made the most of the portable’s screen (I must admit, I was playing on the slightly bigger OLED display), and no text felt too small to me. It makes Suzerain a nice game before going to sleep. I won’t say that its dry tone is sleep-inducing, but it’s not the most exciting game on the console, even though there are a lot of plot twists to keep one interested. But no amount of sudden twists will keep your attention if you’re not into slow-moving strategic games.

Suzerain

Verdict

Suzerain feels refined and works great on the Switch. It’s very niche, but in that niche it’s one of the best. Politics, intrigue, extremely developed world — there’s a lot to get excited about. Just don’t expect a spectacle.

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REVIEW OVERVIEW

Presentation (design, style, speed and usability of the UI)
9
Sound (original cast, music, sound engineering)
7
Graphics (in the context of the platform)
7
Optimization [Switch] (how does it run, bugs, crashes, use of system features)
8
Gameplay and Controls
8
Price tag
9
Suzerain feels refined and works great on the Switch. It’s very niche, but in that niche it’s one of the best. Politics, intrigue, extremely developed world — there’s a lot to get excited about. Just don’t expect a spectacle. 
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