Congratulations on the early access launch! Great to see the next iteration of The Political Machine in full swing!
Below is a list of things I think have been done great, as well as some things that I feel could use some tweaking. I fully understand this is in early access and I appreciate the hard work that's been done so far so please don't take this as mean-spirited criticism. I like politics, and I've enjoyed the series since 2008 and always spend more time than I think I will playing it and talking it up to friends.
- Candidate Recognition: I like the attention to detail for the appearance of characters like Trump and Hillary. Those facial details make all the difference in recognizing your favorite candidate. Elizabeth Warren was also great, and Carly Fiorina was pretty well done.
Because of the good work there, I feel that some of the other important figures in this race, such as Carson and Sanders, could use a little more lovin'. There's something immediately recognizable about Trump and Clinton with your attention to detail. Lincoln Chafee* and Rand Paul are at the top of the "needs a little work" list. Does someone have a crush on Martin O'Malley? Can't figure out for the life of me why he is a body builder in suspenders with 10 appearance. But it's hilarious.
- Visual Assets: Many of the character's bobbleheads have visible "cracking" lines and z-fighting, especially in the head or face. Update: I went back and discovered this on '12, too, despite never seeing it while I was playing a lot of '12. I think it may be an issue with either my PC or Win10.
Missing headshots: Al Franken, Ben Carson, Bill Clinton, Donald Trump, Ted Cruz.
UI: I appreciate that I can more easily see how much energy an action will cost me and the fund raising seems to have a bit more depth. Some of the status messages seem harder to read than last year, though.
- Significant for 2016: A few omissions are pretty glaring (to me) on the Republican side. John Kasich and Chris Christie* particularly have made debate appearances and spent time and money explaining their vision, revealing their traits, and mixing it up with other candidates. Scott Walker was in the top tier for quite a while. And while I understand that Graham and Jindal never made the "big stage," they added quite a bit of character to the race. Jim Gilmore and George Pataki are definitely more understandable.
- Significant for other reasons: George W. Bush (Bush/Bush 2016?) and Dick Cheney were playable in 2008. Though Obama is on his way out, he's been a mainstay for the past two iterations and it would be fun to see him campaigning in today's political climate. Likewise with Romney and Paul Ryan, particularly the latter for his elevation to Speakership. With John Boehner's curtain call, this would be a perfect time to imagine him running against TPM '12 alum Nancy Pelosi. As always, most of this can be mitigated ourselves (hopefully we can still import from previous games), but there's something special about that Stardock seal of canon!
Thanks for all your hard work, guys, I look forward to playing more and checking out the new features as they come through.
*Oh, look, a nifty Christie and pretty fantastic Chafee all ready to go. https://www.wincustomize.com/users/3368834/jvaughn