You have the knowledge, power and the determination to change the world. Silently your organisation seeps out, gradually staining the globe with your influence. The time is ripe to take control, and bring the entire planet under your agenda.
Agenda is a strategy game in which players manipulate the local populace and organisations to secure regions on a map. This is done through influencing events, such as threatening political figures or introducing social media, in a region. Control isn’t absolute, however, and regions will periodically break down. If this happens, control will need to be re-established.
Ultimately the player is aiming to fill their overall Influence metre. This gradually increases as the player successfully accomplishes tasks, representing their overall global control. Once it is full, the player wins. However, opposite the Influence metre is the players Exposure metre. Should the Exposure metre reach 100% before the Influence metre is filled, the player is exposed to the world, losing the game.
To control each region, players select options from a series of lists. These are paid for and then implemented. However, the effect is not instantaneous, and success is not guaranteed. Options fall into five categories; Political, Military, Economy, Science and Media. When completed, the corresponding section of the power chart for that region increases.
Upgrade points can be earned by players through growing Influence. These points can be spent to unlock addition options which can be selected in the regional window. The new options are particularly powerful, but usually require a minimum Influence amount to be established in an area to use.
The basic mechanisms behind Agenda are tried and true, and the interface supplied does a good job of communicating all the information and options required. It has a high-tech and functional feel to it, which plays into the idea of an uncaring and utilitarian global collective. Illustrations and icon designs are sparsely used, but well produced when included.
Even the global map is extremely basic, a clean sterile environment with no features marked. Again, an obvious nod to the organisations views on the world. Some interest is included, with animated plane and satellite flight paths randomly projected onto the map. But overall the map is no nonsense and straight forward.
Sound is simple, with a repeating soundtrack and handful of sound effects denoting button selections as well as success or failure.
Overall there is nothing bad about Agenda. Unfortunately, there isn’t anything particularly memorable about it either. Each region offers no unique challenge or incentive, so establishing a base in a new location yields no variation to the gameplay. Players simply move from place to place, choosing the same options again and again until they secure the region and can move on to the next.
The upgraded skills are interesting, but largely unnecessary. I managed to play multiple games where I secured almost the entire globe using only the ten starter options. It didn’t take me that long either, a little over half an hour for each game.
If just looking at the game portion, Agenda is really solid. It is balanced, easy to use, quick to understand and has an interesting premise. However, what it really lacks is any substance. Some kind of story or context has only been included in the most basic of senses, and it does nothing to disguise that fact that players are constantly looking at sets of graphs and icons with numbers alongside them, and little else.
I can’t see many people getting a lot of replayability from Agenda. Players who love resource management strategy games are quickly going to work out the optimal way to play. This, along with the fact that not much about the regions or resources changes from game to game, means that individual sessions are quickly going to lead to the same gameplay outcomes. Meanwhile with nothing to create variation and no story, and only a series of graphs and buttons to engage with, players who don’t play a lot of this sort of game will quickly become disinterested.
SUMMARY: Agenda has a well crafted game system, but lacks in its ability to offer an incentive to return to the title. Veteran resource strategy game players will enjoy discovering the mechanics behind the system, though they will quickly tire of the repetitive task of capturing each region. There is a lot of potential in Agenda, but at the moment other titles can offer a similar game but with a better experience.
Agenda is developed and published by Exordium Games, and is available now on Steam.
Reviewed On: PC
Review System: nVidiaN9600C, G1 Sniper M7 S1151, 16GB RAM
Playtime: 3 hours