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Platform

PC

 

Genre

Strategy

 

Publisher

Paradox Interactive

 

Developer

Paradox Interactive

 

ESRB

E +10 (Everyone)

 

Released

March 22, 2011

 

 

- Deep gameplay
- Plenty of replay value

 

 

- Spartan visuals and sound

 

 

Review: Diplomacy (PC)

Review: Hearts of Iron II (PC)

Review: Space HoRSE (PC)

 

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Europa Universalis III: Chronicles

Score: 8.0 / 10

 

europa universalis iii chronicles          europa universalis iii chronicles

 

Some of you might remember my mention of grognards in the Empire: Total War review, those hardy souls of the wargaming community, the ones whose attention to detail and ironclad fidelity to period make them one of the most interesting and smallest subcultures in gaming. While they're no doubt enjoying Shogun: Total War right now, grognards looking for a more politically oriented title would do well to pick up Europa Universalis III, along with its expansions. While not visually flashy, the simulation is deep.

When I say that EU3 is not visually flashy, I mean it. The map has some nice little touches such as flags waving and tin-soldier figures marching in place as the unit

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moves along the map. But those who are looking for the level of detail found in the Total War series are going to be sorely disappointed. This is an RTS with a turn based aesthetic. You're not going to find intricate battlefields with clouds of smoke wafting over blood stained grass and bodies littering the ground. The most you're going to get is two tin soldiers in slightly different uniforms going at each other until one of them is annihilated.

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There is perhaps some offset in the sumptuous portraits used for leaders and "great men" who can alter the focus and balance of power within your country, but those who crave particle effects and ragdoll physics won't be impressed.

In much the same way, there's very little in the way of audio details. You'll get appropriately ear-catching tones when events occur that require your attention, but there's not much in the way of sweeping scores or stirring anthems. It fits well with the minimalist aesthetic of the game, but if you're somebody who just can't stand battle without drums pounding and trumpets blaring, it's going to be a very dull experience.

 

europa univeralis iii chronicles          europa universalis iii chronicles

 

Deep gameplay is the focus of EU3. Very deep. While it runs in realtime, and can be paused or accelerated to suit, it demands slow thoughtful planning. Every scenario starts out paused, giving players the opportunity to examine their neighbors and their relationships. Diplomats, merchants, spies, all of these are not permanent fixtures in the bureaucracy but resources that are expended to effect change. Do you offer a royal marriage to help improve relations or co-opt an ally into becoming your newest acquisition? Do you dispatch your spies to incite rebellion in a hostile territory or send them to a friendly neighbor? You can't do it all. Careful focus and a clear idea of your objectives is required to advance in the game. Of course, your neighbors can always screw up your plans with their own military and espionage efforts. It's a balancing act, and sometimes you're going to be caught off balance. The degree of options can be overwhelming, particularly for those who are more used to a Civilization-type experience.

Europa Universalis III represents an older and more thoughtful style of gaming. It's easy to pick up, and very easy to get your head handed to you. For those who persevere, you'll find a deep strategy game that will challenge your skill as a statesman and a general.

 

- Axel Cushing

(May 26, 2011)

 

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