Wednesday, 21 September 2016 00:00

Agenda Review

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Agenda is a strategy simulation game from the masterminds at Exordium Games

Your goal is to try to take over the world through various means. With a variety of “Powers” at play and avenues for domination, players must pick and choose their methods for global influence carefully, while building up allies, halting rebellions, and keeping their top secret operation hidden from the entire world.

Economy requires Money Influences; Politics requires Connection Influences; Military requires Force Influences; Science requires Technology Influences, and Media requires Information Influences. A color code helps you figure out at a glance what goes where, what benefits what, and what costs you’re paying to advance certain things.

Welcome to Running the World!

Agenda does a great job of simulating a top secret mission to gain global power and influence while giving players plenty to do in the process. You begin positioned on a 2D map of the world and in a random country, and from there you start gaining power and influence while avoiding too much exposure. You’ll need to build up funds and other resources to expand to new countries, balancing a ticking clock, rebellions, and other challenges. Excelling at these tasks can also net you Steam achievements, and there are 3 difficulty levels to help players choose how leisurely their takeover can be.

I struggled to get my feet under me mostly due to a clumsy tutorial. To start, I had to enable tips in the options menu, rather than to move automatically into the tutorial, something that I found to be rather surprising. From there, it took me longer than I feel it should have to decipher the basics of Agenda, and how it works. Naturally, as with most Strategy games, there’s depth and complexity, but small things add up quickly in the learning department, and realizing that each sector has a different name for its resources left me perplexed and a tad overwhelmed. I deduced it through trial and error eventually.

I repeatedly ended up stuck at a tip I couldn’t complete (likely due to insufficient funds in one of the five categories, for example) and I had to exit the program entirely and resume from a previous Saved Game – and Agenda doesn’t save automatically, so please make sure you do it often!

Customization and Replay Value

At the beginning of each game, you get to choose which sector you want an advantage in, though I found that it’s a minor effect since the games progress quickly. On top of that, you gradually gain Upgrade Points, which allow you to unlock very beneficial perks in each of the five categories. In my first playthrough, I was focusing on the Media sector, so I quickly unlocked perks that gave me increased influence, reduced exposure, and new options in the drop-down menus for Media tasks. Eventually, I had enough points to purchase the Signal Towers operation and the News Broadcasting operation, which made it easier for me to increase my overall exposure and my influence, at the cost of other assets.

On my second playthrough, I decided to focus on gaining an economic advantage, but it didn’t take me long to find that money wasn’t a problem once I had unlocked and upgraded a few countries. I love that, no matter which sector you pick initially, you can choose how you mix and match your Upgrade Points; early on, I benefited from a few spent in Economy, but before long I decided that Politics’ ability to sway my exposure and influence worked better for my playstyle. It lends a lot of customization and replay value, two things that I love to see in any title, but especially within the Strategy genre.


The Verdict

Agenda has a lot to offer, especially once a few of they work out the bugs. Playing in Easy mode is the superior alternative to the game's tutorial, whereas the Medium difficulty will force you to start picking and choosing more selectively to effectively expand your empire of influence. Hard mode is the place to hone your skills, and victory means mad skills in balancing your exposure with your ever increasing power.

You'll enjoy the customized methods allowing you to enjoy your preferred playstyle in strategy games. Sometimes Agenda does feel like busy-work, and simply a waiting game to generate money and the like, but this feeling steadily decreases as you raise difficulty.

Some little things I would tweak, such as being able to see whether my tasks succeeded or failed in the country menu, rather than having to shift to map view and click the icon there. This said, several statistics and options do come in handy in such map menu, like being able to choose which world view you want – influences versus power versus branches, to be specific – and the ability to speed up the in-game clock.

In closing, Agenda is polished, visually appealing, well presented (apart from some excruciating font sizes at times), and the soundtrack has a lovely, understated James Bond feel to it. If you’re looking for a sophisticated game that allows you to gradually take over the world, this one would make for a worthy addition to your Steam library.

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Lori May

Lori is an avid video game enthusiast who enjoys blending her love of gaming with her work as a writer. She first cut her teeth back on the NES and Sega Genesis systems, and continues to be a Retro-gaming advocate with a soft spot for Point-&-Click Adventures. She's also a Survival Horror and Psychological Horror game collector, when she isn't coercing friends into any number of Co-Op multiplayer titles. If she isn't gaming you can find her working as a journalist and social media consultant, or perhaps dabbling in video game design among other hobby-with-big-dreams endeavors. Born in the heart of the Midwest, she's currently living in Colorado, where she prefers to avoid skiing, snowboarding, and other Mile High City attractions.


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