Review

Europa Universalis IV Review (PC)

Iíve written enough on Europa Universalis IV over the past year that you donít need me to lead you into this review. To be honest, I imagine you can guess what the verdict is going to be Ėis Europa Universalis IV any good? Of course it is. Itís fantastic, brilliant even, and easily Paradoxís best game since they released Crusader Kings II in 2011. Granted, itís not as accessible as the medieval-politics sim, but compared to the previous version of Europa Universalis this is a far superior offering. Iíve put over 80 hours into various versions of EUIV, and itís been interesting watching the game grow and evolve over the various betas. Some bits have improved for the better, others have stayed the same. So, what do you want to know?

In my last preview, I talked a lot about the Trade and Colonisation elements of the game. All in all, not much has changed there. For smaller nations who wonít have much population to tax, or much of an industry for the production of goods, Trade is a life saver. The fact that you can actively manage it means that you feel like youíre doing something genuinely useful. The only real downside to the system, which they havenít managed to improve on, is transparency and feedback. The game is supposed to start you with your merchants already placed in their optimum position(s), but things can change over time. Nations rise and fall, one nation or another gets more control over this node or that nodeÖ apart from the Trade Region where your capital is located (where you should always have a merchant collecting), the best region with which to steer trade towards your home region can change. Itís not always obvious whether your choice is the Ďmostí profitable choice available to you, so be prepared for some experimentation and/or number crunching.

Long live the Great Kingdom of Prussia. You can only form this if you turn Protestant during the reformation, among other conditions

There are many faces of Europa Universalis IV, and the greatest thing is that you can guide your country down the path YOU choose. Granted, a lot of this will depend on who you play as and what happens around you, but thereís still a lot of choice. Also Ė youíll probably end up doing a lot of fighting, one way or another. Central Europe is a power keg of conquest, revolution and re-conquest... unless youíre on the periphery, itís sometimes hard to stay clear of it all. Your allies are just as likely to drag you into a war as someone is to pick on you, so donít make friends likely. Overextension & aggressive expansion penalties stop military expansion from getting out of control, and forces the player to pace themselves. If youíre lost for a target, the game will generate Ďmissionsí for you, which are short-term goals that follow diplomatic, economic, or militaristic lines, and they offer a viable target for you (and choosing the mission will provide you with the a claim, saving you the trouble of doing it yourself).

There is still a mid-game Ďhumpí, where youíre not sure what to do with yourself and youíre just expanding for the sake of expanding. This appears unavoidable, but manageable. As things start progressing forward and the Ďmajorí players really begin to arise, you find yourself entering a more global game of intrigue and diplomacy. Also by this point a lot of the unknown portions of the map should be revealed to you, assuming you havenít gone and sought them out already. You should be able to get some colonies going (or take someone elseís), so the end-game takes on a whole new dynamic. If you go for colonisation straight away, then eventually youíll have to contend with the other European powers trying to muscle in your turf, and if youíre unlucky there may be a revolution or two to contend with as well.

Worth mentioning this time around is the multiplayer Ė Paradox have completely rewritten their back-end, and have integrated the game heavily with Steamís online service. Finding and setting up a match should be relatively painless, and weíre happy to announce the Hotjoin (from what weíve been able to test) works pretty smoothly as well. With multiplayer matches poised to become the norm, over the exception, we urge you to take this online wherever possible, even if you donít have that many friends who have the game.

The intricacies of the local trade network Ė where is the best place to be?

Itís worth bearing in mind that this game is called Europa Universalis. Much like how CKII focused on European Christians for launch, EUIV has an initial focus on Western Europe. Some love has gone to the other major players around the periphery Ė the Ottomans, for example, are recommended for new players, and you have all the goings on with the pre-Russia nations, the Mongol Khanates, and that areas. There are also some Native and South American tribes you can play around with, and you of course have the Indian peoples, China (and the far east) and Japan. Most of whatís important to the game though happens in Europe, so Europe is where there is the most challenge and flexibility. Thatís not to say that going elsewhere isnít more enjoyable Ė India, for example, is a more straight forward game of conquest and diplomacy to begin with, as thereís less players and less variables to worry about. Same goes for Japan, and China is pretty much dominated by the Ming Dynasty, which is represented as one huge nation on the map.

So, Paradox have done it again Ė learning from the design of Crusader Kings II, Europa Universalis is an excellent starting foundation. From here, we hope the game receives the content and support that CKII got, and we canít wait to see what else they can do with the game. EU3 fans are obviously going to feel right at home here, and whilst weíd encourage newcomers to try it out, since thereís no Ďfaceí to game (As itís about nations, not people), it might not seem as inviting. Once youíve played one Paradox game though, youíve played them all, so if you want to start with CKII first, donít hesitate to play this one as well. You wonít regret it.

Top Game Moment: Coming out ahead when you know you should have lost badly is always satisfying.

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Videos

Comments

By SirRoderick (SI Elite) on Aug 16, 2013
SirRoderick
Game of the year for me, hands down. Already put 12 hours into it.

Rule Britannia! D:
By Kres (SI Elite) on Aug 16, 2013
Kres
The game is awesome! 18 hours in :p all my empires crumbled though... but I thought the game is more complicated then it really is. So I'm enjoying it!

What's up with colonization reach? I can't colonize the new world while others can?? Same range to colonies. Wtf?
By SirRoderick (SI Elite) on Aug 16, 2013
SirRoderick
Well it depends on how far your nearest CORED port is from the province you want to colonise, on your diplomatic tech level and on any ideas you took. As England I needed to research a bit before I had any chance of reaching NA.

If you're playing Prussia then it's only natural! It's quite a ways from the New World.
By JustCommunication (SI Core) on Aug 16, 2013
JustCommunication
That's my game, not Kres' Rod :P I know how to work Colonisation. Could have probably done it earlier if I'd chosen the right ideas, but I've been busy dealing with Europe. Denmark is a massive pain in the ass right now.
By SirRoderick (SI Elite) on Aug 16, 2013
SirRoderick
Denmark seems to have a pretty fecent time of it then, they took over all of Scandinavia in my game. I think I fought them over the Orkneys 3 times now.

Don't worry though, the mighty British fleet proved it's worth >->
By Kres (SI Elite) on Aug 16, 2013
Kres
Well I got a core on Canaris and I couldn't colonize western south america?? It's a spit away. Then I built another core in western africa and still nothing. Eventually I was able to. But wtf, both France and Portugal had lots of colonies in SA by the time I was able to do it. Me and my subjects Castilians :) I brought em hell.
By JustCommunication (SI Core) on Aug 16, 2013
JustCommunication
I'm surprised you're not rocking Croatia or Serbia Kres :P Fear the Mighty Balkan Empire!
By SirRoderick (SI Elite) on Aug 17, 2013
SirRoderick
You're trying to colonise the western coast of SA from the East? Well there's your problem! You just need to get the eastern coast and work your way in from connected provinces!
By nikola1010 (SI Core Member) on Aug 17, 2013
nikola1010
I never played this game, but the map resembles Medieval Total War :S How many playable faction are here? Can you pick whatever you choose or there are few you can play?
By SirRoderick (SI Elite) on Aug 17, 2013
SirRoderick
You can play everything from England and France to to a tiny Indian nation called Assam. Every country on the globe is playable.Although it has to be said, right now without any DLC or expansions most of the unique-ness is to be found in Europe.
By nikola1010 (SI Core Member) on Aug 17, 2013
nikola1010
Europe is my focus, Asia isn't that interesting to me ;) Thanks :)
By JonahFalcon (SI Elite) on Aug 18, 2013
JonahFalcon
There's also an editor, too.
By Kres (SI Elite) on Aug 18, 2013
Kres
You making fun of mighty Croatia? We just didn't existed as a nation during entire EUIV period, it would seem. We were on the beach, having fun. Played as Serbia but Ottomans wipe it out clean, no matter what you do... So Castilla is closest to what I want to do :) but then France gets me each time. Still didn't managed to succedd. I will!
By Kres (SI Elite) on Aug 20, 2013
Kres
Correction, the starting points don't feature Croatia.
By SirRoderick (SI Elite) on Aug 30, 2013
SirRoderick
Oh just bully Hungary to release them then do a tag switch. If you open up the console in a singleplayer game, tilde button I think, you can enter the command "TAG CRO" to switch to croatia. Works with every country as long as you can figure out the three letter shorthand. (the Austrian one is HAB, for Habsburg)
By Kres (SI Elite) on Oct 18, 2013
Kres
Make EU IV: ROME! Nothing significant has been made recently for Rome! And EU IV ROME would just be a dream come through! Too many exclamations make it obvious.

Roderick, yeah but pff, kinda would suck having to do that only to get to Croatia. Hmm can I play as Hungary and just have "em" released?
By SirRoderick (SI Elite) on Oct 18, 2013
SirRoderick
You can do that to actually yeah, I think it's in the diplomacy screen. I never do that so the option just didn't occur to me x3
By JustCommunication (SI Core) on Oct 18, 2013
JustCommunication
Yeah, it was functionality added in a path I believe - when you release a nation, you can choose to play as them instead.
By JustCommunication (SI Core) on Oct 18, 2013
JustCommunication
Patch*
By Kres (SI Elite) on Oct 18, 2013
Kres
Would also be epic to start Croatia as a kind gesture from Hungary to release it x) but ok it's an option I guess...
By nikola1010 (SI Core Member) on Oct 20, 2013
nikola1010
Does someone knows anyting about editing (modding) this game? I just want to change the Sebian symbol in the game and edit the faction descisions and add several missions and ideas, these generic ones are really dull... Any help is welcome :)
By SirRoderick (SI Elite) on Oct 20, 2013
SirRoderick
Modding the game is easy as pie, everything is coded up in text format and there are plenty of examples to look up as to how you get what you want happening.

Now one problem you might have is that besides asking around in the forums there is not a lot of ways to get info on how to do basic things. I can do some basic stuff like slot in a new nation and shift provinces, add images and stuff liek that.

Tell you what though, there is a lovely series on the youtubes. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aGvpnbvFQ_4

It's basically a "let's mod", that goes over a lot of things you might want to use. to package a mod seperately.

Even better however is that the engine is identical in most respects to that of EU III, so THOSE modding guides work pretty much one to one. http://www.paradoxian.org/eu3wiki/Modding_tutorials
By nikola1010 (SI Core Member) on Oct 20, 2013
nikola1010
Thanks :) Game isn't easy, espacially playing as Serbia, but there are some decisions that are far from any goals I have, so I wanna change that :) I'm recording screenshot as I play and I'm planning uploading my own walktrough for Serbian faction. I hope it'll be ready for next weekend :)
Oh, and I relased Croatia in my latest war against Hungary, so I think Kres will like it :)
By SirRoderick (SI Elite) on Oct 20, 2013
SirRoderick
Feel free to drop a link if you're gonna do a little walkthrough like that :)