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Jun 7, 2014I'm a long time player of strategy games from Paradox, AGEod and Positech. First I'll try to review this game without considering anyI'm a long time player of strategy games from Paradox, AGEod and Positech. First I'll try to review this game without considering any ideological or political aspect of it, then I'll take them into account.
The graphics of Peacemaker are surprisingly good for a game made in 2007 and with such a low profile. The interface is clean, the tabs are simple and which is rare for strategy games, it's very easy to understand in first contact. The music is also good and have a sort of middle eastern factor.
Now for the mechanics of the game... Well, they are a bit disappointing. You can only do one action per "turn", they often fail by you not meeting the unsaid requirements (like having a very high domestic support), you don't have a real notion of your nation affairs such as its economical situation, and after everything that can be said about the game, in the end it's shallow, it gives you the impression of managing either Palestine or Israel, but your actions are so few, the paths are so restricted, that only a rigid pre-set succession of choices can lead you to win the game, it'll work the same in every difficulty and it's just a matter of guessing this path during gameplay. Although there are tabs for you to track your support among the population, settlers/militants, foreign powers, etc; they hardly matter/hardly help.
But I consider this good quality for a game that was free in their own site. I see a potential in PeaceMaker and I hope they explore it. Which brings me to the political and ideological thoughts behind it.
Games like Democracy 3, Victoria 2, Darkest Hour don't have any stance in politics, at least not explicitly. They don't deal with the moral or ethic aspects of the player building gated communities in their country, exterminating black people in Congo, or sending their whole military staff to the Gulag in a purge. PeaceMaker claims itself as a serious game but I see it as the complete opposite: Peacemaker avoids giving the player the ability to decide what is right or wrong, and what path to follow, instead giving a third intifada game over screen. "So that's it?" we ask ourselves, "don't I have the chance to see my country crumbling, being invaded and over-spending itself? Don't I have the chance to see consequence of my actions, my failures, and instead I am being told that I failed?".
Games shouldn't try to have hidden political messages behind them in the same way as novels shouldn't be hidden religious pamphlets.
And so instead of allowing the player the create the ever dreamt greater Israel or the ever longed liberation of Palestine, the amazing strategy game that dealt with Middle East tensions that everyone is waiting for, PeaceMaker only allows the player to reach a dubious peace without ever questioning if this peace is wanted, proper, desired or possible. There aren't even foreign nations in the game and the idea of one of them invading Israel/Palestine, although very possible in reality, doesn't exist inside PeaceMaker. For anyone really wanting to experience this region affairs I advice playing an Israeli mod for Democracy 3.… Full Review »