This fan-made sequel to Europa Universalis II revitalizes a classic strategy game but suffers due to painfully unstable multiplayer.
- Hours upon hours of epic alternate-history goodness
- Better looking and more user-friendly than its progenitor
- Thousands of colorful historical events.
- Crash-prone multiplayer
- Tedious colonist and merchant management
- Annoying sound effects.
The Europa Universalis series is the undisputed master of a niche genre so small that few serious competitors come to mind. After all, how many other series let you guide one of more than 100 countries through hundreds of years of human history (1419-1820) in real time on a detailed, Risk-style map of the world? While the original board game was too obscure to gain a sizable following, the video game series has inspired an impressive community of fans and modders, and For the Glory is the fruit of their labors. Best described as a stand-alone expansion for 2001's Europa Universalis II, this fan-developed title is essentially the same game with a few notable improvements; it's easier to learn and to play, the interface is slicker and more informative, and the graphics have been updated. Although a few of the annoying aspects of the original EUII remain, and multiplayer is remarkably unstable, For the Glory provides a great single-player experience, full of color, culture, and history.
Instead of focusing on military tactics like most real-time strategy games, For the Glory emphasizes grand strategy. As some sort of eternal power behind the throne, you have to consider religion, culture, scientific research, foreign and domestic policies, and the current monarch's strengths and weakness to guide your country to greatness (or ruin). Given that For the Glory is best suited to fulfilling alternate-history fantasies, victory tends to be subjective in this series. However, you can win in For the Glory by accumulating the most victory points, which you earn by completing missions. In contrast, failing a mission will cost you victory points. Missions consist of a variety of tasks, including building shipyards, discovering foreign lands, conquering territory, and improving relations with other countries. It's up to you which missions you undertake, unless you select the option that puts your monarch in control of those decisions. However, your monarch tends to choose poorly, so don't leave it up to him. For example, your sovereign may want you to kick the British out of Australia by 1800, when you're playing as the newly independent USA, or demand that you prevent Spain from colonizing the Caribbean, when you're playing as a tiny, landlocked country that can barely pacify its own countryside, much less take on King Carlos V.
Domestic concerns will take up the majority of your time in For the Glory. If you've conquered a diversity of peoples, your biggest domestic duty is to crush revolts. However, you'll find there is more to governing than peasant control. A sliding-scale system depicts your government's policies on a wide variety of issues, such as how innovative your country is, whether your military favors quantity or quality, and how much power the aristocracy has, all of which have tangible effects in-game. You can manually move one of these sliders (one interval out of 10) once every decade, so it will take a while to make radical changes. A second way to change your policies is through your choices in the historical and random events that regularly pop up, so always choose your response carefully when such opportunities arise. Another important concern is managing the budget, since it affects your troops' performance, how long research takes to complete, and how much money you have in the bank. Obviously, a positive treasury balance is a good thing, but be sure not to hoard too much money, because it causes inflation, which can become problematic if you don't keep it in check. Overall, the most important thing to budget for is your country's stability, which affects just about everything in the game. While instability is usually the result of your in-game actions, such as declaring war on a neighboring country without a reasonable cause, it can also be influenced by events. For instance, if a group of superstitious peasants sees a meteor, your realm may cross the low stability threshold beyond which your army perpetually losses its battles, rebels besiege your cities more often than normal, other nations laugh at your emissaries, and all your colonies turn out like Roanoke.
Once your domestic duties are in order, you can focus on statecraft. Artificial intelligence-controlled nations in For the Glory believe in maintaining the balance of power, so if you try to conquer a lot of land in a series of imperialistic wars, you may see grand coalitions form against you. Such an alliance eventually took down Napoleon, and it could bring you down as well, so you should consider the potential benefits of covering your iron fist with a velvet glove. For example, it's possible to convince other countries to pledge fealty to you, or even to allow themselves to be peacefully annexed into your realm. Such actions still tarnish your reputation, but not as badly as taking territory by force. If you do go to war, having a casus belli, or a "legitimate" justification, makes the war easier for your neighbors and subjects to swallow. While these justifications are usually generated through events, you can also use diplomacy to engineer one. For instance, you could arrange a royal marriage with a neighbor and then use that marriage as a pretext to claim their throne. When you aren't plotting "just wars" against your neighbors, you'll probably be busy trying to bribe them into liking you. The success or failure of such attempts, and all other diplomatic actions, is determined by your monarch's diplomacy skill. If your monarch has a silver tongue, then you can get whatever you want, but if he's an incompetent boor, your futile attempts to improve relations with foreign leaders will merely deplete your treasury.
When diplomacy fails, you can emulate distinguished statesmen like Genghis Khan and solve your problems on the battlefield. Although battles take place in real time, you won't have much control over the action. When you order an attack, your units first move into a province and fight it out. If they win, they move on to besieging the province's fortified garrison. Finally, once the garrison is destroyed, you occupy the province. However, occupation does not equal ownership in For the Glory. Instead, your enemy must agree to cede you the territory in a peace treaty, and the likelihood that they'll agree to your terms is determined by how much territory you occupy and how well your units fared in battle.
- Player Reviews: 3
- 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)