Victoria II Impressions

The makers of Europa Universalis give us a glimpse of their upcoming grand strategy sequel at E3 2010.

Fans of Paradox's globe-conquering strategy games may already have an idea of the kind of complex gameplay in store for them in Victoria II, the first full sequel to 2003's Victoria. In this intricate game, you guide a country of your choice through the Victorian era, using your diplomatic, political, and economic clout to gradually spread your influence across the map. According to Paradox's Johan Andersson, this sequel will focus less on the military and more on the economic and peaceful aspects of world domination. We spoke with Andersson at E3 2010, who walked us through what we can expect when the game is released this August.

What It Looks Like: Victoria II looks much like most other Paradox grand strategy games, such as Europa Universalis and Hearts of Iron, and Andersson told us that the goal is to make the game look like an actual atlas. Truth be told, Victoria II looks ancient and even less colorful than similar Paradox games judging by what we saw, but most grand strategists are more interested in Victoria II's gameplay than its dated visuals.

What You Do: Simply put, you take over the map as time slowly crawls forward. To do so, you manage eight different gameplay elements: production, budget, tech, politics, population, trade, diplomacy, and military. Here's a quick overview of what to expect:

Production: Depending on your type of government, you can run factories yourself or you can have them privatized. However, even if you hand control of factories over to private industry, you can still invest in those factories.

Budget: Whether you choose to control production yourself or let private industry do it for you, expect the economy to react in authentic ways. For example, taxes are an important source of income for your government, but if you overtax, your citizens won't have enough money to spend on the products they need to survive. Thus, the goods created by your factories cannot be sold, which could lead to economic collapse.

Tech: There are five tech categories to advance--army, navy, and so forth. Within these categories, there are hundreds of different technological upgrades to consider. It's a smorgasbord of options for strategy junkies.

Politics: Victoria II will allow you to manage a huge number of different political options. You can choose whether or not to allow free press, establish a minimum wage, manage political parties, create a universal health care system, and much more.

Population: Your subjects will respond positively to further education. Just be careful: The more educated your population becomes, the more they will clamor for social reform.

Trade: As always, you can set up trade routes with other powers. However, if you find yourself in an economic crunch, you can buy resources from your national stockpiles.

Diplomacy: Victoria II features a "great power" system. Eight world powers are considered great; eight others are considered secondary. Both types of powers can colonize, but only the great ones exert a diplomatic sphere of influence. This system will essentially allow players to conduct diplomatic warfare on their opponents without ever involving their military.

Military: This element of gameplay was significantly downplayed in the demo session. However, you can still declare war, of course, and battles will auto-resolve. (No massive Total War-esque battles here.)

What They Say: A streamlined message system removes all those annoying pop-ups that clutter the screen in other Paradox strategy games.

What We Say: Victoria II might look old, but diehard strategists will probably dig all the micromanagement and political maneuvering involved. GameSpot will bring you more information as soon as that technology becomes available in our tech tree.

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Kevin VanOrd

GameSpot senior editor Kevin VanOrd has a cat named Ollie who refuses to play bass in Rock Band.
Victoria II

Victoria II

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21 comments
morganja
morganja

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

Bigj687
Bigj687

Paradox has alot of good stuff, but they need to put it all together. I'm talking about a game with... 1) The epic map + and military aspects of HOI 3 2) The Diplomatic System in EU3 (and the expansions) 3) Generally better graphics and a good soundtrack 4) A timeline that extends longer (but in a way which is careful to avoid hours of fast fowarding) 5) Some kind of way in which players can interact to change the outcome of battles, instead of just praying that your commanders are capable (total war style)

george43
george43

Paradox needs to take the games they have already developed and flesh them out with a lot more activity and action rather then make whole new games that experience the shortcomings of previous titles. Honestly....there should be more activity so we don't have to press fast forward for 2 hours to figure out what is going to happen.

BuzzBoy
BuzzBoy

Paradox getting ready to ruin another one of their great series? Awesome. I smell another Hearts of Iron 3 coming... and PLEASE get a new art team to design the maps. Why make the step up to 3D if youre just going to waste its potential regurgitating the same terrain graphics for every 'Europa' style strategy game you make?

markharris31
markharris31

Thanks, peterruskov, I'll check it out VickyWiki when I have a chance. I'll try to email the devs as well and see if they'll answer a bit about how they will try to bound the path of the populace as freely as possible in the sequel.

peterruskov
peterruskov

markharris31, there is VickyWiki were the core mechanics are explain.Its easy to understand how the game runs and population change their political and social view and demands.Except the course of your personal view how a selected country must be,there is Paradox style of historical pop-ups that may change the situation in that country.So if they do not make big changes to mechanics,they are ok and simulate the mid 19th to after WWI realistically

markharris31
markharris31

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

markharris31
markharris31

I never played the first one, but I'm curious about how the game bounds decisions. Does an educated populace always clamor for "social reform" as in state-sponsored hand-outs like healthcare and minimum wage, or is it possible to have a Libertarian dominated populace that would rather have their freedom and be self sufficient? Does it make assumptions about what a population wants, or does it randomize the will of the people? I know that Europe today is relatively homogeneous, but one of my favorite things about historical strategy is the option for history to play out in a bunch of different ways. I'd love to hear from the designers about their approach to simulating the will of an entire country and what game rules bound the populace.

idontlivehere11
idontlivehere11

Victoria 1 was the game that showed me I was still a child. Now that I've finally manned up and mastered it, I'm ready for another one. : D

Yakuz-A
Yakuz-A

peterruskov, As do I, the best way to handle it would be like HoI3, keep the complexity, but give the player himself control over how much or how little of his empire he wants to manage himself.:)

cherrybomb257
cherrybomb257

Day 1 for me. The original game with mods is still one of the most addicting, engrossing, games I have ever played.

peterruskov
peterruskov

Yakuz-A, I hope they keep all the micromanagement and statistics ,but you are right ,the big countries were hard to manage.Thank God that Prussia starts with less regions :)

Didaa
Didaa

Gotta play it =D

Ultramarinus
Ultramarinus

The last PC game I'm looking forward to this year, the first one still hasn't been surpassed in what it offers: Historical grand strategy which is country management, not constant warfare.

Yakuz-A
Yakuz-A

peterruskov, it will be interesting to see how they've handled those indeed, since they were part of the micromanagement nightmare for larger empires, and Paradox have stated they wish to make Victoria 2 more accessible than Victoria 1/Victoria: Revolutions.

navidpadid
navidpadid

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

peterruskov
peterruskov

Factories,trade and roads were very interesting in the first one ,hope they keep the system

PhoenicianSon
PhoenicianSon

Seemingly the perfect game for those people that always put their two cents into every conversation or newscast that has something to do with domestic or foreign policy... Put up or shut up time... You know who you are ;)

adrianomar
adrianomar

Victoria 1 was one of my favorite games, will definitely play this 100% There are few games that can match this type of game