Europa Universalis: Rome Vae Victis PC
Published by: Paradox Interactive
Developed by: Paradox Interactive
Release Date: Out Now
Some strategy game expansions attempt to throw everything but the kitchen sink into the experience in order to give value for money and there are those expansions which add a small quantity of new features and polish up existing ones to make for a better overall experience. Europa Universalis: Rome Vae Victis falls into the latter category. It offers some additions and improvements that help to make what was already an enjoyable grand strategy game even better.
Vae Victis brings some new features and adds some refinement to the functions that were in Europa Universalis: Rome. The interface has been improved to a certain degree and provides more information at your fingertips. Additions and improvements have been made to the various government types in the game. The military AI has also been improved but to be honest it's still far from being perfect at this point but at least it appears to be more challenging. You now have missions which help to make each game feel unique and dynamic. The missions also help to give you goals to strive for and a sense of direction whilst playing the game. The type of missions available to you will depend on your government type. There are decisions to make too, such as changing your government type which allows you to change the flow of the game in quite a dramatic fashion.
The characters in the game have been fleshed out to make them seem more like real personalities. There is a new character overview screen which allows you to see your characters at a glance. You can interact with the characters in the game in a more satisfactory manner. You can grant them titles, imprison them, assassinate them, smear their reputations, celebrate their triumphs and even give them a free hand in the running of a region. The characters in the game all have their own ambitions and some of them will offer you incentives to allow them to get the positions they desire. It's fair to say that the characters in the game now feel much more satisfactory and really add to the overall experience in a way they never did in Europa Universalis: Rome.
What's really needed for the Europa Universalis titles, and what Vae Victis, like the other Europa Universalis fails to provide, is an interactive tutorial that fully allows newcomers to get to grips with the game. The Europa Universalis games are quite different from a lot of other strategy titles and at times it can all be a little overwhelming. The tutorials that are included don't really do a lot to show you the ropes and it's more than likely you'll be lost, even after completing the tutorials when playing your first couple of games. This is a shame of course because the Europa Universalis games are very good and the learning curve needs to be reduced so that more people can enjoy the game and not be put off by their complexity. It doesn't help however that at the time of writing there isn't even a manual to explain the things that the expansion adds to the original Europa Universalis: Rome.
Disappointingly some of the problems from Europa Universalis III still remain. It's still not possible to co-ordinate your attacks when sending multiple forces into a region. This is quite annoying for a game that's so heavily focused on combat. Being unable to co-ordinate your attacks means you're having to micromanage your forces far more than you would like. The same can also be said for naval attacks which also don't have any options for co-ordinating your different fleets. Sieges still feel rather poor and there are no tactical options that you can give. For a game that impresses in many ways it's rather surprising to find it lacking in this respect.
In regards to the game's presentation, there's not a lot that has changed since Europa Universalis: Rome. Whilst the interface has had some improvements, the game's graphics, unsurprisingly for an expansion pack, look no different. There are no seasonal changes so you're never going to see snow or any other adverse weather conditions which is a pity for graphical and tactical reasons. Likewise the game is exactly the same in its accessibility for deaf gamers. There is no speech in the game and all of the information is displayed via text, icons or numbers. Messages will pop-up aplenty during the course of the game and whilst by default the game will not pause when a message is displayed, you can set it so that when a particular type of message appears, the game will automatically pause so that you can read the message at your leisure without worrying that you're missing anything important.
Europa Universalis: Rome Vae Victis is certainly a worthy expansion for Europa Universalis: Rome and priced at just €9.99 (just over £8 at the time of writing) it's certainly good value for money. It certainly succeeds in enhancing what was already an enjoyable game and there's enough tweaks and additions to make it an expansion you will want to own. It won't do anything to alter the opinions of those who didn't like Europa Universalis: Rome however. As an expansion Vae Victis does its job admirably and I certainly couldn't go back to playing Europa Universalis: Rome without the Vae Victis expansion.