Europa Universalis IV is the much anticipated next installment of the series from developer Paradox Development Studio. Regular visitors of the site will know that we here at CalmDownTom enjoy the majority of the publisher Paradox Interactives games, and were delighted to have been given a preview build of Europa Universalis IV to look at.
Five years have passed since the release of Europa Universalis III, so as you can imagine there are a plethora of new features in Europa Universalis IV. The graphics have had a major improvement, and are a step again over those in March of the Eagles, Pardox Interactives last grand strategy release. The fully 3D map that reacts to the seasons is a far advance over EU IIIs map. As with the previous iteration, you take control of a nation and help it build. With more than two hundred nations to chose from, and over three hundred years of gameplay available, Europa Universalis IV is not a game that you can “complete”. Historical events will help shape your gameplay, as well as give you some sense of progression. You will decide how your nation progresses through a variety of national decisions and missions, such as forming the nation of Spain from Castile, completing Reconquistas, or passing liquor acts!
A new trade system adds an extra dimension to gameplay in the same way The Republic expansion did for Crusader Kings II. Use your merchants to help pull trade power towards your nation, and use your fleets to help protect your trade from pirates. In amongst all the diplomatic options at your disposal are ones that will affect your trade, such as embargoing a nation from one of the trade ports. Every other diplomatic decision that you could possibly want is there for you too, from forming alliances and coalitions, to Royal marriages and integrating spies into a nations court.
Europa Universalis goes some length to controlling your expansion, making it all in all more realistic. When going to war you will have a specific goal, and negotiating for peace can be done at any time, with your choice of peace terms costing a certain amount of war score. This way you can take provinces gradually through a succession of short wars, rather than going all out for full annexation which will cost at least 100% war score. Expand too rapidly and you will also be hit with an over-extension penalty, resulting in a lower stability rating for your nation. This is bad news for you as rebellions will break out all over. You can lower this rating by converting religions or cultures and by declaring the new lands as core provinces. All of those actions take time though, so be ready for the turmoil if you plan on a full out invasion of your neighbor.
The easiest way to expand will be through Exploration and Colonisation of the unknown lands lying to the East and West. At first you will only be able to Colonise those unclaimed lands on the coasts of Africa, but once enough technology is research you will be able to send Explorers and Conquistadors off into the Terra Incognita in search of new lands.
Europa Universalis IV is out next week (13/08/13) and Paradox Interactive have thrown in a load of goodies as pre-order bonuses. First up is the 100 years war unit pack, containing unique models to the nations involved, including England, France, Scotland and more. Secondly is the Purple Pheonix pack which adds a bunch of unique events and unit models specific to the Byzantine Empire. And last of all, they recently announced that everyone pre-ordering will receive free copy of Crusader Kings II, along with a save game converter that will allow you to continue your Crusader Kings escapades in Europa Universalis IV. How is this going to work? With magic mostly. It is hard to say though when Crusader Kings so heavily focuses on dynasties and family, and the army and nation mechanics of EU IV are so different. It’s surely a nice bonus though.
In a weeks time, I’m going to have some serious decisions to make. I simply don’t have enough time to play BOTH Crusader Kings II and Europa Universalis IV. There’s no doubt though that fans of Paradox Interactive and general Real Time Strategy fans should be excited about the release of Europa Universalis IV.