User Rating: 8.3 | Europa 1400: The Guild PC
The first half-dozen times I sat down with Europa: The Guild were mesmerizing. I'd never seen, played or heard of a game like this before. Europa combines elements of some of the best strategy titles of recent years -- a cool economic sim, a semi-realistic political/diplomatic sim, and a fun life/RPG sim -- in a curious post-Medieval package. It's an open-ended game idea -- there are no real missions or goals or bosses to defeat. I totally lost track of time in the open-ended life simulation, with different strategic priorites based on your trade (thieves develop combat and stealth skills, blacksmiths focus on craftsmen and negotiation, etc). It's easily a game you sit down with and next time you notice the clock it's 2 a.m. I've had the game for a month now, and what none of the reviews point out is that this game tires quickly. There really isn't a ton of replay value once you've digested the novelty of the open-end life simulation. Sometimes you need some parameters on a game, like levels and bosses and missions, so you have some sense of accomplishment and something tangible to work toward. The only problem with this game is that it's a little *too* accurate of a life simulation -- once you get used to the game, it can get a little tedious and humdrum. And repetitive. A functional multiplayer would've helped. Competition against other real players would rock, but the game's way too detailed and slow-going to allow for a fun multiplayer experience. Witness Civ III: Play the World.