Europa Universalis: Rome PC DVD
Published by: Paradox Interactive
Developed by: Paradox Interactive
Release Date: Out Now
Given the popularity of the Europa Universalis games it’s no surprise that we finally have a Roman flavoured edition to the series. In fact, Europa Universalis: Rome isn’t the first Rome flavoured Europa Universalis style game that we have looked at. A few years ago we reviewed Pax Romana which was actually a good game but if there was one thing we had to say against it, it was that it had a severe learning curve and not many would be bothered to invest the time required to learn how to play the game. Europa Universalis: Rome is certainly more accessible, although it is still a complex game, but the overall game is much more satisfying than Pax Romana and well worth the time and effort you’ll need to get to grips with it.
Europa Universalis: Rome is a grand strategy game that’s set between the years of 278BC and 25BC. The game allows you to choose your starting date or you can select one of the bookmarked dates which include significant dates such as the Pyrrhic War, the First Punic War and Caesar’s Gallic Wars. The choice of nations you can play as is dependent on your start date. You aren’t simply limited to the major powers of the time such as Rome or Carthage however. If you fancy controlling the Helvetti or the Sequani you can, although you’ll be in for a quite a challenge with some of these lesser lights of the time.
As with all of the Europa Universalis titles, EU: Rome isn’t just about amassing armies and waging war on your geographical neighbours. There’s a lot to consider here from religion and trade routes to rebellions and dynasties, to name but a few things. Of course there are also the barbarians to consider, particularly if you have ideas of colonising other territories, and it has to be said the barbarians are a handful and they aren’t above amassing large armies and invading your territory. The game plays out in real time but thankfully you can pause the game at any time and make all of those important decisions. As with other EU games, you’re free to do as you want in EU: Rome. You don’t have set objectives to achieve and no two games ever play out the same because of this. Some may find the freeform nature of the game a little disconcerting. As we mentioned earlier, the game is rather complex and it will take a certain amount of time before you’re fully aware of what everything does in the game. The game does include a handful of tutorials that skim over the game’s concepts but even after reading these, they are all in text, you still won’t have much of an idea of what needs to be done in the game. Thankfully the game’s manual is rather more helpful but there is a lot to read through.
Europa Universalis: Rome isn’t simply Europa Universalis III in a different skin. Naturally there are some similarities but there have been some fundamental changes to how the game plays. There are religious omens that your priests can invoke which, if successfully invoked can give your nation some rather useful bonuses. In EU: Rome you’ll have special characters that you can move into certain positions such as regional governors and army generals. These special characters have their own set of traits and characteristics. This adds a rather nice twist to the game. Should you appoint an unpopular governor over a region for instance you’re going to open a virtual can of worms and cause unrest. You’re also able to see details on your leader’s family as well as their friends and rivals on the Dynasty interface.
Whilst Europa Universalis is generally a fine game and a game that players of Europa Universalis III would enjoy there are some aspects of the game that aren’t as good as you might have hoped for. It’s virtually impossible to co-ordinate your attacks when moving armies from different regions to attack an enemy, likewise for navies too. Sieges feel unsatisfactory and don’t provide you with any tactical options. The diplomacy options feel rather limited. The interface isn’t as good as it could have been and it’s difficult keeping an eye on important things such as your armies and their condition without clicking on each individual army and checking them manually, which is just too time consuming if you’re controlling more than just a few of them. None of these problems manage to significantly harm the game but it’s rather annoying as they are problems that could have easily been avoided.
From a presentational perspective, EU: Rome is a definite improvement over Europa Universalis III. Graphically the game is a slight improvement on Europa Universalis III with the map and the unit models looking noticeably better. The interface looks a little better but it’s far from being as good as it should be. A lot of the interface icons are too small and some of the information is still not as easy to access as it should be. Deaf gamers won’t have any problems as all of the game’s information is displayed visually, either via text or icons. There is no speech in the game and in short it’s just as deaf gamer friendly as EU III was.
I don’t think there’s any doubt that fans of the Europa Universalis series will really enjoy what Europa Universalis: Rome has to offer. As with the other Europa Universalis, it’s not a game that all strategy fans will appreciate, particularly if you’re the kind of gamer that likes to have full control over the battles. The game does have a few problems such as the interface which isn’t as informative as it could have been but on the whole the game is as deep and enjoyable as other Europa Universalis games and it’s worthy of your attention if grand strategy titles are your thing.