November 13, 2011
The main focus of Fate of the World is global warming, or more accurately climate change. Players step into the role of the head of an environmental organization called GEO - short for Global Environmental Organization - and their sole responsibility is to lead the world into a greener future. There are five original campaigns to explore, each with some very interesting scenarios like reaching Earth Day without worldwide global warming levels hitting 3 degrees or higher, or raising the human development index in Africa to a suitable level.
It's an interesting concept to say the least and it's arguably more socio-economic simulator than video game. Needless to say, that's not a mark against it as there is fun to be had here, especially if you're interested in the subject matter at hand, which is much more relevant to current world events than you'd think. In addition, there are some elements that are more game-like despite its inherently serious nature. Players can choose how the media and public relations addresses them, ranging from the more respective titles like Sir or Ma'am to the more outrageous ones like Your Worship, Your Excellency or Learned One.
Each scenario will give players a specific objective that they have to meet alongside optional bonus objectives. Players can also clearly see the criteria for losing a scenario, which usually involves being banned from a number of regions and the like. It features a card-and-turn-based system with each turn representing five years. Players can recruit agents in specific regions to increase their influence, increasing the size of their hand and the options they can make.
There are multiple cards to play and players will unlock more depending on what they deal. Playing the Political Office card will establish a political office, opening security options in case a region destabilizes; or players can play the Environmental Protection Office and open up options to save and preserve the environment. With the passing of every turn, players can recruit more agents and play more cards, but it's important to pay attention to both global and regional news. These can be viewed by choosing a region and hitting the News icon, which will display positive news in green and negative news in red. Depending on what's what, players will have to play their cards accordingly in order to appease the nations.
Each card and additional agent costs money. Cards will play out according to their set amount of years, giving players the options to opt for either long or short term projects. If business is good, GEO will be on the receiving end of plenty of revenue which can then be invested in more ventures. If business isn't all too good, managing projects and regions will start to become difficult to say the least. It is all too easy to send the world falling into a global recession.
Focus can be placed entirely on the environment, reducing toxic emissions and going organic, but other sectors of the economy will start to fail. Oil production will drop, decreasing industry supplies, or the standard of living will decline, inciting lobbyists which can eventually lead to armed conflict if nothing is done. However, even then players have the option of funding Black Ops and the police force, or even declare martial law within a region. If things get really bad, players can even expect their agents to go missing. Either way, there is quite a good amount of strategy, depth and options that players can take to lead the world into a greener future or rule with an iron fist.
These results are consolidated and displayed as lists and diagrams at the end of every turn. Players can track quite a lot of statistical data using the in-game graphs and wiki. The only fault is that these aren't easily read. As mentioned earlier, Fate of the World is more socio-economic simulator than video game, so a lot of this information and terminology can come across as incredibly dense. Red Redemption have done a decent job in getting across the most base statistics, but the more detailed graphs and diagrams remain, well, detailed and not as easy to understand, especially when certain terms need to be looked up.
Fate of the World isn't a visually astounding game, but it has a relatively intuitive user interface. Players can rotate the globe 360 degrees and it'll display the relevant information about each region, whether they've made progress in environmental plans or are currently in armed conflict or protest. The globe can be filtered between several views including a thermal view, showing the rising temperatures of the entire planet. More importantly, the interface feels very responsive and it's setup so that players can easily swap between global and regional views, as well as your hand of cards. Each region features aesthetics easily identified with their respective nations. For instance, North America can be identified by its 50s automobile typeface while South Asia by its red wall scroll and oriental etchings. The soundtrack sounds relatively generic, but it does the job in setting the sobering mood.
It's certainly not a game that the average gamer is looking out for, but Fate of the World: Tipping Point remains an intriguing and fascinating experience. While there are aspects of the game that feel incredibly dense and difficult to understand thanks to industry-related terminology and statistics, there is still fun to be had in managing a global environmental organization. It's all the more amusing when players can attempt to rule the world with an iron fist.