I got this game for free from paradox I'm not too sure if its my cup of tea through.. I'm more of a Space battles type of guy not really into land battles as much..
It's as deep and broad as you would expect from a great strategy game, but Europa Universalis III's most notable achievement is how easy it is to get into.
- Broad and addictive strategic gameplay
- intuitive interface and tutorials bridge the gap between depth and ease of use
- full-featured multiplayer options
- new elements to the series further lengthen the game's scope.
- Some contrived diplomatic options provide a cheap cause for war
- newcomers may still get lost in the sea of gameplay options.
Europa Universalis III refers to itself as a "grand strategy game" on the game box, and developer Paradox certainly isn't kidding. It may "only" span just more than 330 years of Renaissance and Reformation history, but it lets you take control of hundreds of nations, using any means at your disposal to expand your borders. It's the kind of thing that historical strategists lap up but that often leaves others in the cold. Yet, if you've been intimidated by similar complex games in the past, it's time to rethink your position. Europa Universalis III is bursting with all the features armchair generals expect while welcoming newcomers with open arms and a friendly, intuitive interface. It improves upon nearly every aspect of its predecessors, and the result is an addictive and appealing experience, even for those who usually shy away from games with screenshots that look like a geography lesson.
At first glance, Europa Universalis III may remind you of a turn-based strategy game, yet it takes place entirely in real time. Still, you aren't apt to get overwhelmed, because you can slow the passage of time down to a crawl and pause when necessary, which is not to say that there isn't a lot to do and consider, regardless of how you adjust the game speed. From the moment you play your first game, you must choose a starting date--somewhere between 1453 and 1792--and a nation to control. And yes, you can choose essentially any nation that existed on the date you begin, from major political players to tiny principalities long forgotten by most. Yet even at the starting moments, which newcomers to the genre would normally find daunting, the game suggests some noteworthy dates as entry points and offers information about the nations at your disposal, including a difficulty rating. It also boasts a decent collection of tutorials, which is a welcome feature sorely needed but often missing in similar games.
Once you've chosen a starting date, it's time to get to work, but what you set out to accomplish is purely up to you. You don't have a specific set of goals, so if you are content to convert your provinces to the official state religion or send settlers to the New World for fame and fortune, you can do so without worrying about world domination. In fact, the series has never been about establishing universal dictatorship--it's about shaping and experiencing history in both subtle and profound ways. Don't expect to take over the globe as you would in Civilization. However, you still have a variety of ways to achieve what you want, no matter how small the scope.
The military route is one of the most obvious ways to achieve your goals, even if not always the most viable. You can build infantry, artillery, or cavalry regiments. Or if you prefer your battles by sea, you've got a variety of ships at your disposal. As you create regiments, you can then further combine and separate them into armies of various components. Armies aren't very effective without a leader, though, so if you want a general, you must first recruit one. Or if you're feeling particularly self-assured, you can even assign your nation's leader to command your troops in battle. Yet even if you build a sizable army, don't expect to send them willy-nilly into battle, at least not without grave consequences. Unless you have a casus belli--a reason for war--you are going to anger your neighbors, cause internal unrest, and disrupt important alliances.
Thus begins the tug of war that forces you to maintain every aspect of your government, should you wish to succeed at even the small goals you set. If you want to attack without provocation, you can do so, but with a major hit to your internal stability. The less stable your nation, the more likely provinces will revolt, which in turn creates unnecessary battles that distract from your major military goals. Other less obvious relationships will also be affected. You can be tied to other nations by royal marriage, mutual alliance, trade agreements, and more. And as the web of diplomacy widens, so too must your grasp of the other options at your disposal, even if you're the fighting type.
Fortunately, you can influence other nations in several ways, and it's as easy as sending someone else to do your dirty work. You can take the underhanded route and conduct espionage, which is a new addition to the Europa Universalis franchise. Spies have a number of ways of disrupting enemies, from inciting unrest to causing troop desertion. Your spy isn't always successful, and even if he is, there's a chance he could get caught, which may disrupt your goals and even give the other nation a casus belli against you. Fortunately, you can send off diplomats to strengthen and repair (or damage, if you prefer) international relationships by offering alliances, issuing trade embargos, or suggesting a vassalization. There are a few diplomatic actions that rather cheaply manufacture a cause for war, though, such as proclaiming a guarantee, which gives you a reason to attack a nation that assaults the one you offered the guarantee to. Because most guarantees have a 100 percent chance of succeeding, it's a simple way of getting some action, but it comes across as a shortcut that lets you generate war without much cause and just seems out of place as a result.