Europa Universalis 4
Gameplay - 8
Story/Creativity - 8.5
Presentation - 6.5
Lifespan - 9
Worth the purchase and is a game that every strategy fan should check out.
Europa Universalis 4 is a grand-strategy game developed by Paradox Interactive that plays in real time, with the complexity of this series it appeals to already existing fans of previous installments as well as the more hardcore strategy player.
It’s the newest entry to the Europa Universalis series and is probably my favourite of them all, it was released on August 2013 and is still getting updates and additional DLC to this date.
This game has no story, it starts at November 1444 and ends at 1821. You can play as any country that existed inbetween 1444 and 1821 as you can freely change the date to a specific day and month etc or select a date from the bookmarks which mark key events such as the French revolution or the American declaration of independence! So instead you choose a country and do whatever you wish, you can make a tiny province become a massive powerhouse and meddle with the superpowers or play as an already powerful country and colonise the New World! This is the story, the player creates it as they play through the game, sometimes people would post their story onto the forums and are quite entertaining to read.
Europa Universalis 4 is a strategy on a whole and can be easily compared to games like Crusader Kings 2 or Victoria 2 which have similar gameplay in certain aspects and they’re both made by Paradox.
The game allows you to change the rate of which time progresses, during time a peaceful phase you might want to increase the speed to not waste time and during war you should slow it down so you don’t make any mistakes. So the game pace all depends on the current events and your alliances, it’s different every time and that’s why I can’t stop playing it!
Europa Universalis 4 does have a tutorial which will explain key aspects of gameplay such as wars, diplomacy and trade at a beginner, intermediate and expert level. Allowing beginners to ease themselves slowly into the gameplay so they don’t become overwhelmed.
Europa is a satisfying experience which every strategy player should buy!
When discussing gameplay it’s difficult to know where to start considering there’s a lot to mention, but if you’re playing as country I’m sure you’ll want to expand and declare war on neighbors. You do this by gaining a casus belli which means ‘case for war’ in Latin, you’re then able to declare war. You must know that the game isn’t a roleplaying game where you can talk to advisers and have compliated relationships with other nations. It’s a strategy and is all about making the right choices in certain situations, so battles aren’t played out like Total War although there is a battle interface.
With the recent update, you can now easily mod your game through Steam Workshop, this makes it an easy experience to mod and change anything from the appearance to the map or an alternative history starting date. There is a constant stream of user created content for this game and it keeps it interesting.
To gain achievements you have to play in Ironman mode where the player can only have one save for a campaign and the game autosaves during any decision. This makes the game fun and makes you think twice before doing anything, it sounds great in theory but it’s not great in practice. This is because of Steam Cloud and more often than not the game could take an extremely long time to save and sometimes makes the game crash.
Mulitplayer is also great, there are quite a few people playing this game and will usually commit to a long game and this makes things much more interesting as a human player is less predictable than A.I. and it allows players to scheme against others and is entertaining overall.
With DLC, theres a lot of it ranging from music, to large amounts of content or unit graphics for certain nations. They’re well priced but they do add up if you buy all of them. The content which actually adds new mechanics or changes things drastically is quite cheap at around £8 and is well worth the price. Additionally if your friend lacks the DLC but you own it, you can host the game and have your friend join who will then get all of your DLC for that campaign which is a lovely addition after playing Civ 5 with friends who lack the latest content.
Europa Universalis looks good, the textures of the land looks great and so do the soldier models, and it looks fine overall. But if people wished to have better looking textures, there’s a mod which can do this for you! But what in terms of presentation, the soundtrack stands out the most, composed by Andrew Waldetoft is astounding. It blends in well with the game and fits in well with the time the game takes place in.
Europa Universalis 4 has an extremely long lifespan, I’ve played this for an extremely long time and I still play it. I’m sure I’d play it more if my friends were remotely interested in strategy. If you’ve grown tired of the game then perhaps it’s time for you to get some mods and keep your experience refreshed with complete overhauls! The thing that keeps this game long lasting is probably the randomness of games and it’s entertaining to see The Knights conquer Cyprus and expand further. Another aspect that keeps me hooked is the amount of different countries you can play and it’s fun to toy with history.
This game is worth the purchase, however the high price can put people off but it has recently been on several sales and you should wait for the next sale and I promise you won’t regret it.