The new game has a broader focus, one that will interest returning veterans of the first game, and it greatly improves the tutorial and documentation to ease the significant learning curve for new players.
History never changes, but a few new sources can open up radical new perspectives and push historians to revise the textbook interpretations. Similarly, the revisions to Europa Universalis II might not seem like much on paper, but a few significant changes make the game play noticeably differently from its predecessor, which was released in the US just earlier this year. The new game goes further to emphasize the social and political specifics of historical nations and opens up the possibility of playing non-European and minor nations. Europa Universalis II also takes steps to maintain a reasonable balance of power, because while the original Europa Universalis wasn't intended to be played as a world conquest game, it wasn't that hard to run wild across the globe. Nonetheless, while Europa Universalis II is superior in many ways, it's hardly a true sequel.
Europa Universalis, transformed from its board game roots by a Swedish developer, met with considerable success for a game with such a serious historical emphasis and a steep learning curve. Much of the game's charm came from its exacting detail: 60 major and minor nations competed on a colorful illustrated map with some 700 territories spread across the globe. War was just one means to the diplomatic tug-of-war between leading nations, but when alliances of many nations would clash, dozens of battles could play out simultaneously throughout Europe in the game's rather abstract, real-time mechanics. And, as the title suggests, the game is very much focused on Europe.
The new game has a broader focus, one that will interest returning veterans of the first game, and it greatly improves the tutorial and documentation to ease the significant learning curve for new players. The total number of nations has jumped to well more than 100, and you can choose to play as any of them. While many of the new nations are quite minor, like the once independent French provinces of Brittany and Auvergne, there are now a number of new viable starting places outside of Europe. There are more interesting corners of the world to explore and conquer, and the regions of the globe are more distinct. Each province has a native culture, which can come into tension with the ruling culture of your nation. Religion and the political conflict between faiths play an important role in Europa Universalis, so it's natural that the new game also adds the predominant religions of Asia (Buddhism, Confucianism, and Hinduism) to the mix. However, don't think that large nations in Asia like China are natural winners. The game uses religious and cultural bonuses for research and productivity to give the West the momentum to reach its manifest destiny by the 19th century.
Even in playing one of the major European powers present in the first game, it's easy to see how the many small gameplay changes strongly affect the course of a game. Strategies that once would have paved the way to world conquest may now be recipes for disaster. Most of the scripted events in the first game focused on the sudden religion conversions that swept across 16th-century Europe, igniting domestic upheavals and breaking political alliances. Now events cover any number of historical happenings, from treaties and political intrigues to ideological shifts. In many cases, you can choose between two or more possible paths after considering the explicit statistical effects for each.
- Player Reviews: 9
- Game Universe:
- Europa Universalis III Complete (PC, MAC),
- Europa Universalis Rome Gold (PC, MAC),
- Europa Universalis III: Napoleon's Ambition (PC, MAC),
- Europa Universalis III: Heir to the Throne (PC, MAC),
- Europa Universalis II (PC, MAC, DS),
- Europa Universalis III: Divine Wind (PC, MAC),
- Europa Universalis III Chronicles (PC, MAC),
- Europa Universalis III: In Nomine (PC),
- Europa Universalis: Rome (PC),
- Europa Universalis: Crown of the North (PC)