bless Strategy First, the developers of Europa Universalis 2,
they have created a strategic and political masterpiece that computer
gamers - particularly Napoleonic buffs - will go nuts for.
game does focus on various other timeframes in European history
-Joan of Arc and Gustavus Aldolphus to name two - but the one we
are really interested in is the Napoleonic struggle.
if you wanted a short-course in the period (other than by visiting
Guide) then you'll find this real-time strategy game hard to
can control almost any country you want and then set about building
up your forces to initially survive, and then expand your influence.
you are a small country you'll be bending over backwards to stay
on the good side of your bigger neighbours (and praying they are
nice honourable types), or if you happen to be a big neighbour then
bully or bribe them into your sphere of influence.
first glance, the screen will just overwhelm you with information
and you'll be wondering just what the heck you've installed. But,
persevere (and do the tutorial) and eventually all things slot into
of course, is just for basic understanding and the survival of your
chosen country, if you want to win then you need lots of practice
and get your head down into the manual.
Universalis 2 is complicated and even experienced gamers will
be sorely tested.
Artificial Intelligence is a tough nut and you are never left alone
long enough to settle into a complacent mood of "I'll win this easily."
prowess as an emerging empire is judged on several areas and they
earn you victory points. How you handle your economy is one, diplomatic
relations with other nations another, your technological accomplishments,
size of your military and territorial expansion all give you victory
points towards your main goal - global supremacy.
despite being such a gameplay-oriented title, Europa Universalis
2 is very pretty to look at.
maps are clear and give you all the info you need about your lands,
where your armies are, your fleets and which towns or cities are
sail along nicely and when it comes to action - both on land and
at sea - the close up window becomes the battlefield where you can
see what's going on.
world-eye, map allows quick zooming around the globe for expansionist
naval powers like Britain, Spain and Holland.
maps can also be changed to focus on religion, diplomacy, trade
and colonization and these devices give you a quick and effective
way of working out how your country is progressing.
is particularly true of your diplomatic charts as you can see quite
quickly if your bothersome neighbour is worth declaring war on.
are useful in the game as they can be sent with gifts to lessen
an old enemy's hatred of you, or rile up a semi-neutral into declaring
war on you.
foreign powers are not the only worry. Rebellions are regular occurrences
if your stability level is low and if one breaks out it can be a
real pain in trying to either defend against them or try to retake
that's not to say Europa Universalis 2 doesn't have flaws,
because it does. The major headache is the message-window system,
which initially fires up a new box everytime someone blows their
nose. You can adjust this (and need to) but it is time-consuming.
A default minimal message system would be nice.
only other annoyance is that the game occasionally crashes - now
whether this be due to full-programme glitches or is resident only
in the demo I'm not sure.
up, however, you can be damn sure that when you fork over your money
for Europa Universalis 2, you are getting very good value.
gamers will play this for hundreds of hours (possibly in one sitting)
and it will hang around on the hard disk for a very, very long time.
Universalis 2 is a classic-to-be that will eclipse even Civilization
in gamers' minds.