Late to the party for a game that was released in 2013. That’s only six years behind the rest of the world. In all honesty Paradox Interactive’s grand strategy games have always been intimidating to many newcomers. I’m certainly no exception. The depth and detail is incredible and requires many hours just to get to grips with the games mechanics.
A quick watch of Unstable Voltage‘s YouTube video “Let’s Learn Europa Universalis IV -1- Getting Started” will save much heartache and frustration. A very useful tutorial on the basic functions of the game. The video helps with introducing players to Europa Universalis IV.
Within the game is a tutorial, and helpful tips are always just a mouse click away which will help whenever a player requires an understanding of menu options. Diplomacy, alliances and war are just some of the many interactions within Europa Universalis IV.
Maintaining and expanding ones own power and influence is addictive and empowering. The legitimacy of your claim to power is influenced by many factors not least the importance of an heir to the thrown. Marriages can be arranged between a friendly faction. Successfully creating a marriage strengthens the relationship between those factions and the claim to power. A marriage can be used to manipulate the other into a false sense of friendship. As Castile I had an alliance and marriage with England. When war with my neighboring faction was declared they refused to answer the call for support. There’s also the risk that the other party could make a claim to the thrown themselves due to their lineage through a joint heir.
Alliances aren’t always perfect as is the reality of such relationships. Often there’s conflicting allegiances. For instance whilst Portugal were my ally they were also allied with my neighbour which had them in a difficult position when war broke out. I was betrayed and sacrificed and overwhelmed against the enormity of multiple armies invading. Thankfully a truce was eventually agreed though much land surrendered to appease the invaders. Portugal and I maintained a positive alliance after including a marriage agreement. Strengthening allegiances is important for survival and support.
Knowing when to support others and refuse is integral for suvival. I blindly stood proudly alongside my much smaller neighbour against England and others. It felt like the honourable thing to do as an ally. I almost lost all of my land to that alliance. Sometimes it’s just more prudent to decline and take the negative reaction. Better than losing everything. Weigh up the pros and cons of every decision. Inevitably everything matters and has a consequence.
My rule of thumb when considering the overall value of a game is the cost to hours ratio. For me personally £1 per hour of entertainment is money well spent. Whilst Europa Universalis IV does retail around £34.99 still to this day, especially on Steam Store I picked up the Extreme Edition for just £6.49. Many people play this game for hundreds and sometimes thousands of hours. The obsession and addiction is real. The first session had me engaged for well over four hours. The purchase already justified as not only did I play for that duration I had an amazing time with the game. Considering it’s just text, numbers and a map there’s a lot to keep players involved.
Achievements are locked to ‘Iron Man’ mode. During this mode of play there are restrictions to a players session. Apart from autosaves only one manual save is permitted. Players won’t be able to rescue themselves with regular saves and loading to overcome mistakes and misfortune. You’ll be forced to suffer the consequences for any failures. This just makes the session more exciting as it puts the player on the edge of their seat trying to govern with perfection and reduce mistakes or weakness.
The starting age chosen at the beginning of a session dictates which factions are available. It’s influenced by the real circumstances of that time period. For instance prior to Spain’s formation there were multiple regions. Castile was the mainland, Aragon to the east and Granada to the south. This was similar throughout Europe and the rest of the world as countries were formed and boundaries established. The years range from 1444 to 1820.
There are many complaints of the DLC pricing and the sheer volume of content to purchase. Whilst I agree that the costs are substantial it should also be commended that a developer has continued to support the game for such a long time after it’s release. Rather than view DLC as a challenge to acquire everything it’s more prudent to select only the those which will enhance your play style and factions most commonly used. New content updates do affect the games mechanics which is either improved or diminished depending on a player preference. Previous game versions can be reverted to if a player is so inclined.
Failures and poor decisions are part of what makes Europa so appealing. To witness the predatory nature of other civilizations ready to pounce and devour land as their own makes everything feel real with consequences. Gaining victories feels more rewarding having experienced the suffering. It’s understandable how so many people have become obsessed with this grand strategy. Playing hundreds and sometimes thousands of hours dedicated to changing the course of history. It’s a story of ruling and governing where your decisions affect everything.
Europa Universalis IV Review
Thoroughly rewarding to dictate the success and failures of regions in history. Being a governing king is fraught with challenges and dilemmas for better or worse. All decisions matter and have consequences. Grand strategy at it’s best. Six years on and Europa Universalis IV is still an incredible experience.
Fascinated with gaming since the old cassette based computers. Custom-building and repairing computers for 20 years and have been creating websites for 5 years. I’ve been a geek way before it became fashionable. Video game collector and gamer. Mainly a PC gamer though do enjoy console exclusives. Created Zorf Gaming to share my passion for gaming. I’m the web-designer/developer, content creator, editor, video creator. In essence this is my passion and I like nothing more than to share it with you. Currently writing my first book ‘A Father’s Daughter’.