The genre of historical global strategies has long been firmly occupied by projects Paradox Interactive. A worthy choice: from Antiquity to the middle of the last century, from purely military strategies to games, where the personal qualities of the characters are first and foremost. Thanks to Swedish society, lovers of changing the course of history can find something for themselves as they wish, not limited to the framework of an era.

Compete Paradox it’s difficult, which is probably the reason why there is hardly any such video game currently. Of course, not without exception: a new example is a strategy released in Early Access Secret government national developers of Gametrak and 1C Entertainment. The title is intriguing – the theme of the secret government ruling the fate of the world may be relevant at all times, and betting at the head of such an organization is best suited to the genre chosen.

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The first thing you’ll remember when you run Secret government, – they are all the same global strategies of Paradox Interactive. On the main screen again, a map of Europe with small figures of characters and armies, and at the top – a strip with a display of resources. Likewise, there are many ways to display the terrain, including a political map, a map of religions and the most ordinary map of the region, separate windows for character and faction development – a complete feeling that we are facing a clone European.

The similarity is not limited to the appearance and interface only. As we know, in almost all strategies Paradox the player does not control a specific character (except for the series Crossed kings), and takes control of the whole country, personifying the fullness of power, he turns out to be a sort of gray cardinal who does not have a clearly defined personality in the gaming world.

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The main idea of ​​the authors Secret government – go even further. We run the Brotherhood – a secret organization that has no rigid connection to a specific country, nation or religion. If you look at the map from the perspective of the relationship of the countries on it, the player appears to be in the position of an ordinary observer. But this impression is misleading – it is in our power to decide the fate of the whole world, not just one country.

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This will have to be done with the help of ingenious intrigue, sabotage, bribes, persuasion and dozens of other actions, among which there will be no platitudes like “Declare war on one.” neighbour”. No, it is only possible to push and direct such drastic actions, and direct orders will not work – the members of the Brotherhood cannot afford such luxury. Admittedly, it wasn’t without a specific enemy – he became the enemy Brotherhood, leading his game and not hesitating to put a spoke in our wheels on occasion.

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We have before us a strategy of indirect control in its highest manifestation – the concept of Secret government very interesting, but, as often happens, the original idea is shattered on the complexity of the implementation.

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The Brotherhood, as befits any self-respecting secret organization, has a clear hierarchy: neophytes are located below, the backbone of a secret society – ministers are located a little higher, and leadership is exercised. by the titled brothers, represented by the six most experienced and skilled members of the organization.

Each Brother, despite all the aura of mystery, is still a person with his own characteristics, including citizenship (in his own country it will be easier for him to act), loyalty (affects whether he will give up ideas of the organization in some cases) and, finally, health (the Brothers are mortal, so the replacement must always be at hand). In addition, the characters have important characteristics like experience and plot.

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Secret Government game overview

Brothers from a competing organization do not represent a particular danger, moreover, they are quite easy to turn on their side.

If everything is clear with the first, then it is worth talking about the plot separately. The success of the tasks depends on it, the implementation process of which gradually reduces the plot. The smaller it is, the higher the chance that our agent will be exposed and sent to jail. It is not necessary to cut the tasks of the same Brothers without stopping – it is better to give them a break and restore such a precious resource.

Externally, managing your subordinates seems very simple – on the map we see figures that you can drag from one country to another, and the choice of an activity for a particular character is done using of the radial menu.

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In fact, that’s almost all the gameplay – using the actions of each individual brother, try to change the situation on the map as a whole. It’s simple: they chose the right task, familiarized themselves with the requirements and consequences, waited the right number of days – achieved the desired effect on success, or prepared to understand the consequences of the failure.

Secret Government game overview

Beautiful, stylish, but in terms of functionality – you can’t imagine worse.

The number of possible actions is impressive: there are several dozen of them and each one can have far-reaching consequences. There are tasks linked to the brotherhood (recruiting a neophyte or founding a lodge) or aimed at foreign / domestic policy: changing the balance of parties within the government, organizing a coup or a palace revolution, extracting money from the treasury for the brotherhood – this is not a list of all options, but only options separated from examples of managing a state by indirect control.

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The possibilities are really very interesting. Do you want to organize a war of conquest in order to strengthen the position of a particular country or even to capture all enemy lands? We send a few brothers to the territory of the future victim, infiltrate the authorities and start practicing various sabotages – from banal theft to inciting unrest. But in the aggressor country, on the contrary, we train the army, help the military leaders to develop an offensive plan and strengthen the militaristic mood of the society. There is only one trifle left: a border incident or a diplomatic insult (of course, which did not happen without our participation), and voila, a war that will necessarily end in victory – and you will not have no time to notice it.

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Unfortunately, this invisibility is not the result of quick action, but the legacy of the game’s biggest problem – the terrible interface.

Secret Government game overview

The map, despite the many filters and display modes, looks too gray.

stumbling block

It seems that the interface artists Secret government work separately from game designers. Outwardly everything is quite pretty – you can feel the style of Europe and even the secrecy of secret societies like Masonic Lodges, but using it all is inconvenient both purely mechanical and from a gameplay standpoint.

Small icons, portraits of identical characters, a black map, buttons, as if they were specially located at the maximum distance from each other, uninformative tips – in this contrast you start to respect designers even more Paradoxwhose policies are also often blamed for the overloaded interface. And if such technical errors can still be tolerated (and in the future, wait for their correction), then deeper interface problems, already logically speaking, can erase any desire to play.

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Take the same war: learn that it only started by chance, after hearing the sound of battles – the repeated ringing of a saber. As long as you notice the notification icon at the top, as you hover over to see who is fighting whom, the war may already be over. Yes, there are army figures on the map, but they appear and disappear at random and do not carry any useful information. Literally a few days have passed, peace is already made, and the borders of the two countries have changed in one way or another. Complete Conquest turns into another bug – the defeated state disappears from the list, but remains on the map.

Secret Government game overview

Summary information on the economy of a single country.

It is not easier with domestic politics: its elaboration inspires respect and horror at the same time. In each country, there are political parties, areas, an extended economic system focused on the production and trade of resources, legislation… But how awkward is all of this to manage! But what is the usual control, study and observation of changes – a real test. Long journeys through different windows and menus, during which the necessary numbers and data spring from my head, the constant return to the map of the figures of the Brothers for the distribution of orders – how convenient can I speak here? Yes, it can be atmospheric and realistic, but it is precisely because of this approach that the game has huge issues with process visibility – and this is the main aspect of gameplay in the control strategies genre. indirect.

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All attempts to get at least some fun from the game are achieved by terrible optimization and a large number of errors and some kind of flaws of children like inability to load an arbitrary save (only the current game with the only ” backup ”is still active). A card does not “freeze” every few seconds only in pause mode, and snippets and variable names instead of their values ​​are commonplace.

Various map display modes will help to assess the situation in the world.


To the developers of Gametrak you have to achieve a real feat in order to bring your creation into playable form. It will be very disappointing if they fail, – the concept of Secret government interesting, and the ideas behind the gameplay can give many fans of historical strategies many exciting hours. Recycling the interface and working through bugs before the deadline (release is slated for this year) is a difficult but doable task. We wish them good luck – the more the competitors have great strategies Paradoxbest for everyone. .

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Source : The Verge