I love strategy games! Especially ones that are on such a grand scale as Europa Universalis 4. I’ve reviewed some other games in the past like Medieval 2 and Empire at War, but none of those have micromanaging or large scale wars to this degree. Let’s get right into it!
When you start up the game, you get the chance to go single player or multiplayer, but either way are taken to a screen where you get to choose from any country on the map, and pick from any year. Any country and year. Right off the bat, that’s a huge departure from the usual RTS (real time strategy) formula where there are only a few different factions to choose from. My personal favorite is England, because it’s the largest nation on the British Isles, and is well protected with its watery boarders. The game initially begins in the 1440’s, just before the colonial period, but this can be artificial extended with mods. My personal favorite is the Extended Timeline Mod, which is one of the most well-made mods I’ve ever seen, and is a must have for this game, since it extends the gameplay from 1442-1821, to 2-9999: a huge difference.
Since the title, Europa Universalis literally translates to “Europe Everywhere”, the goal, of course, is to go everywhere! You, the omnipresent leader of a nation of your choice, are given the task to pilot a nation though the ages, strait to the top of the leaderboard. Most of your actions are dictated through diplomacy, city planning, and economics.
Through diplomacy, you can make and break alliances, launch intelligence operations in foreign countries, build coalitions against your enemies, and declare wars for any number of reasons. This game makes use of a “casus belli” system, in which you can go to war for specific reasons, each of which provides certain bonuses to the world’s nations. For example, going to war without one will result in a huge diplomatic penalty for every country in the world, as well as a stability drop, whereas going to war for land in America will only penalize your relationship with the native tribes. One of the greatest features about this game is it’s in depth diplomacy system, that of which I can barely explain in this article. For more information, you can visit the official wiki page on the subject.
Through city planning, you can further develop your country by adding and removing structures to your provinces. The games map is divided into territories that help you administer your nation, making it easy to see though a variety of overlays what’s what in your country. Furthermore, the many different kinds of buildings, including churches, trading companies, universities, and fortresses, all provide bonuses that can help you win or lose. The better you run your provinces, the better developed they become, which means you can build more buildings, and have a better foothold in the world. A small country with well-developed territories can still kick ass and rank on the scoreboards, which I think is a great edition the developers made to the game
Lastly, though Economics, you can help dictate how big you can grow through control of inflation and account management. If your country runs a deficit, you better not get into any conflicts any time soon, but if you live in the green, you’re ready for anything. The game will let you hire mercenaries for war, design new buildings to boost your production, and bargain your way into and out of any conflict. If you have a decent money supply, you can mobilize huge army’s, go on massive city redesigns, and forge new alliances fast and easy. Proper economic management is key to winning this game, and it certainly isn’t pushed off to the side like in some other real-time games of this kind so often do.
The End Game
So, what’s the end game? What’s the final goal? Like most strategy games with an open concept, there really isn’t one. However, that’s not to say that there are no goals to accomplish, however. One of the major things to shoot for is becoming the most powerful nations in the world. The game compiles every stat in the game into one number that the engine uses to rank you against all other nations in the world on a leaderboard. If you’re not competing for overall dominance, you could go for a size game by trying to balloon yourself to become the biggest nation in the world. Depending on who you start with, this isn’t too hard, but depending on how large the starting nation you choose is, it might be a good challenge. Another equally viable option is just to roleplay. Choose a nation, and make every decision like they would historically, and see how far you can get. The possibilities are truly numerous, though.
You think that’s all? Sorry friend, but I’ve just barely began to scratch the surface with what this game can do! Our friend the Pope is back to wreak some havoc with the power of the Catholic Church, but he’s not nearly as aggressive as the one from Medieval II, so that’s a plus. You can vitalize defeated nations to serve you if you don’t want to completely destroy your enemies. You can make a dash at the thrown of other countries by way of strategic marriage, and can even end up controlling a whole content Habsburg style. You like colonies? Go to America, it’s practically a barren wasteland! Start a brand new empire overseas with the games cool colonization system. Fight rebellions, sabotage a rival, sabotage a friend, rush into China and see how that goes: it’s really up to you.
Aside from the main game features, it’s riddled with other little bonuses too. Naming tools give you the power to repaint the world in your own image. Name all your kids after you; name your boats and armies after you, and of course: name your colonies after yourself. What’s Brazil? It’s “Levenworld” now. Pay attention to culture and religion if you want to go on a conversion or culture run. These intricate systems are hard to master, and equally hard to explain, but conversion makes for a good goal during peacetime. You can change up your government structure midgame to give yourself more or less control. Getting ambitious? Try out a one-territory game: it’s completely possible! Use the economy and some alliances to dominate all the other countries on the map! Pretend you’re in a secret society by puppeting the biggest countries in the world! I could name more, but all the things you can do in this game would be hard to list.
Before we finish up this article with the final three scores, let’s talk quickly about the DLC this game offers. Now, it’s ridiculously expensive to get them all, but the many different packs add a lot more to the game. Depending on what you buy, they’ll enable you to create your own custom nation, launch trading companies in Africa and Asia, change up the army skins for some variety, add a lot to the diplomacy and war systems, and make use of new government types, buildings, territories, technologies, and more.
So what do I rank this game? As you know, I give three scores, but what are they?
For the average player, this game is admittingly hard to pick up, at least at first. For the casual player, this game deserves no less than an 80/100, a truly grand product. You’ll be bombarded with stats and information, and will find yourself losing for reasons that you don’t even understand. However, like using internet for the first time, once you get the hang of it, it because a shining star in the industry. If you like strategy, or history, or war tactics, you’ll love this game.
For an elite member of the strategy community, this game deserves, no, needs, a high rating. It deserves to become one of the highest rated games I’ve ever given a score to: 95/100. Why? This game’s just too good. If I understood it more, I might like it more, but for those who can look at all the different stats and scores, and draw information from it, more power to you. A clearly commendable game.
As for me, this game gets a good, solid 86/100. I’m not at strategically inclined as some others who’ve mastered the art of blobbing huge empires across the world in this game, but I sure do have a lot of fun playing it, even if I don’t always understand what’s going on. A grand game.
Thanks for reading everyone. If you liked my review, thought it was helpful, informative, or helped you make a decision on whether not to get this game or not, please leave me a like or comment to show your support. If you want to add something, or make a comment on my thoughts, you can do that! Just leave a comment on this article or the links to it on your favorite social platforms! Once again, thanks for reading, and don’t touch that dial! There’s more coming soon.
Last Post: Doomsday Clock - Cam Reacts!
Can Christians Be Gay? - Editorial
Should We Apologize? -Editorial
Divergent - Review
The Schafer Web-Log
Articles, Reviews, Futurism, Current Events, and More!