Victoria: Empire Under the Sun Review (PC)
Once, Britain was known as the 'Empire on which the sun never sets,' and the world had a number of countries looking for their place under that sun. Great Powers forged empires using new techniques based on science and industry, abandoning the old ways of marital spirt and blood ties. It was a time of hope, expansion, oppression, slavery, industry, advancement and the struggle of peoples to be the greatest on earth and for others, to achive freedom and equality. Now, thanks to Paradox entertainment, players can relive the struggles of the active and turbulent 19th and early 20th century through their latest release, 'Victoria.'
The objective of the game is to be the best of the best, the number one Great Power. The game decides the order of powers based on three factors, Prestige gained through war and research, Industrial power obtained by players diverting funds to industry, and the third criteria is military power, the sheer size of your armed forces and how the function in war. The top eight powers are the Great powers, and gain advantages in diplomacy due to their favored status. Since only numbers matter, powers can slip in and out of the rankings. The rest of the world is made of Independent nations, Satellite countries, and uncivilized nations, and the status of powers will change during the game. Their are also unowned areas that powers can control and eventually turn into colonies by placing one of four building types, a coaling station, mission, trading post or colonial fortress. This is expensive, and your nation must have access to the area, and you have to control all the provinces to claim the colony, or have all four building types in the colony to claim it. Doing it the latter way may bring you into conflict with other powers that are expelled.
How you achive your goals is based on the nation you select and the technology you research. However, everything in Victoria costs money, and money comes from a number of sources. The earliest source is taxation of your population, devided into poor, middle class and wealthy. If you over tax any segment of your population, be prepared for violent revolutions to break out in the form of military units appearing in your provinces! Only your own military can put these revolts down, and only sound fiscal planning and low taxation can prevent them. Another source of income is the natural resources of your nation, every area of the map has one of over fifty commodities to trade, and these raw materials are needed to feed people, as well as to turn out industrial goods. The final, and most profitable source of wealth is goods produced by your factories. Many goods and factories types are un buildable at start, and must be researched, or you must trade for the technology to get them, and to make them work, you must procure a source of raw materials that the factory requires, either through trade or conquest of areas that produce it. You can borrow money to pay for projects, you will be charged interest, but it is imperative that you remain solvent, if you default, you lose large amounts of prestige, but your debts are forgiven.
Your level of research speed is determined by how much money you put into it, and as the game increases, your PoPs become more literate, and research speed increases. If you trade for tech, your research will halt until you generate the number of research points shown to be negative from the trade, so be careful with trading for tech.
You must also pend on crime fighting, ignoring this or setting it low will cause heavy corruption and lost revenues, and cause unhappy PoPs to revolt. Your government and reforms can influence the costs here. The game will describe the criminal activity (if any) in any province you own if you look for it.
You can improve your nation over time, as you research, there are five levels of railroads to build in each province. This is again where the minutia factor comes in, you have to click on each area, and have the needed money and resources to improve the rails, but they bring a lot more money, so by all means, build them where you can. You can also build fortifications, and once a factory is built, if you spend money and resources, you can expand the factory. This increases the output of goods, without increasing the amount of raw materials needed, so it another major money maker, to say nothing of the number of victory points this generates.
The game includes a number of scenarios with differing staring dates. This, coupled with the many nations, means endless hours of gameplay that is often interesting and absorbing. Paradox also includes a number of historical events in the game, and player decisions can effect the outlook of how the world evolves in the game.