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Europa Universalis IV requires an empire-building state of mind

Hayden Dingman | Aug. 14, 2013
It's 1467. Christopher Columbus, son of a Genoan weaver, is barely 16 years old. He's nobody.

Veterans will probably scoff and turn the hint system off immediately (it presents you with that option each time you load your game) but it's just one more way Paradox has made the core EUIV experience more accessible without all the negative connotations that word commonly invokes.

And, much as I'm sure some hardcore fans will complain the game now looks "too fancy," the improved graphics make for a better first impression. For those of you who used Crusader Kings II as a gateway drug to Paradox's grand strategy insanity, loading up EUIV will feel like a favorite blanket. The two games shared a single art team, and thus have a very similar style--enough that you could pass off screenshots of Crusader Kings II as EUIV and vice versa.

Cape Verde: The first of many Portuguese colonies.

It's actually a very smart move. At this point, you could start a game of Crusader Kings II in the year 1066 (or 867 if you bought the Old Gods DLC) and it would still appear like you were playing the same game when you finished your game of EUIV in 1820.

In fact, it's possible you were playing the same game. Or, at least, playing the same basic save file. Though technically unaffiliated, the Crusader Kings II developers went back and built a converter that will import their saves into EUIV. You could start a game of Crusader Kings II in 1066 as the Count of Ulster, unify Ireland, conquer England, maybe inherit part of modern-day France, and then bring that save game into EUIV to begin your global empire. It's a neat feature, albeit one we haven't gotten to test out yet--the converter was not available at the time of review.

Still waters run deep
So whether you got your start with Crusader Kings II or EUIV is your first grand strategy game, Paradox has certainly done a lot to bring you in. EUIV is a great update for longtime fans too; most of the improvements over the previous game are incremental, but welcome.

You no longer have to waste time telling each province individually to raise units or construct buildings. There's now a production window that color-codes your holdings based on whether you can construct the unit or building in question. You'll even get handy stats, so you can tell it will take 62 days to raise that infantry unit in Barbados but only 53 days in Tortuga, or that your Constable will give you an extra three ducats income in the Gold Coast but only one in the Azores. If this sounds like small potatoes, know that it streamlines what used to be an extremely tedious task.


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