Victoria 2 PC
Published by: Paradox Interactive
Developed by: Paradox Interactive
Victoria 2 is a real-time grand strategy game that allows you to guide a nation of your choice from 1836 to the early stages of the twentieth century. You’ll be responsible for the politics, internal affairs, military, trade, technology research and discoveries (and a lot more besides) of your chosen nation and whilst there’s an historical framework in place, you are free to reshape history through your actions. Victoria 2 is by no means a game that’s easy to get to grips with. We are dealing with a complex grand strategy title here. However, it’s rather more welcoming than most titles in this genre. Once you have got to grips with the game however, it can be an incredibly rewarding experience.
The single-player game in Victoria 2 is limited to a single campaign. This may not seem like much but in reality few will experience all that there is to be experienced in the campaign. There are many nations to choose from and each nation is ranked according to their prestige, industry and military levels. Nations are considered to either be Great Powers, Secondary Powers or Uncivilized Nations. The general difficulty level of the game is based on which nation you choose to control. The game can be played as a multiplayer game with support for both Internet and LAN play.
There are a lot of things to consider when controlling a nation in Victoria 2. You’ll have to decide what research is conducted and take into consideration how this will affect the development of your nation. Relationships with other nations are important and it’s up to you whether to engage in warfare or diplomacy. Political balances have to be maintained. You’ll need to trade and be adept and selling surplus goods and importing those your population is in need of. Essentially your people are your most important resource as they tie in with pretty much every other aspect of the game. For instance, if you want to increase your nation’s industrial production you’ll want more workers. In some of your provinces you’ll want to encourage greater numbers of workers to be produced in order to aid this push for increased industrial production.
Victoria 2 is a much more accessible game than the original Victoria but in some respects it could have done with further simplification. Several of the game’s concepts feel unnecessarily complicated. Trading for instance certainly could have been simplified and made more user friendly. Managing your population is another area of the game that will take several hours of your attention in order to fully appreciate how to cater for the various classes and professions. Each nation has a mix of cultures and ideologies. In Belgium for instance, in the province of Brussels, you have Flemish, Wallonian and Ashkenazi folk. The idea is to keep as much of your population happy as you possibly can but you have to appreciate that Flemish craftsmen might want slightly different things than Wallonian craftsmen. Each will have different life, everyday and luxury needs. They each have their own political leanings too. Looking after your population and trying to satisfy as many of them as possible is difficult but you have to strive to achieve a happy medium for all concerned.
To combat the game’s complexity there are a collection of tutorials to help you get to grips with the game’s various concepts. The tutorials have been well thought out and should serve to make the learning curve a little less steep. However, even though the tutorials are very useful there’s no denying that they don’t fully prepare you for jumping into the campaign and putting all that you’ve learned together.
You can offload a lot of the tasks on to the AI and this may be advisable whilst you’re getting to grips with the game. However, the danger here is that if the AI is handling too much you can feel as though the game is on automatic pilot and you run the risk of feeling like there is a real lack of involvement. With hindsight I think it would have been preferable for the game to have had a scripted mini-campaign that offered advice as you played to show you how all of the various concepts fit together. With something like this to be played after completing the tutorials, the game’s steep learning curve wouldn’t have been so daunting.
Visually speaking, Victoria 2 is a step up from the other Paradox Interactive titles that we’ve seen. The visual quality of both the map and the units is actually quite impressive for a grand strategy title but the most impressive visual aspect of the game has to be the user interface. Not only does it look very good but it also manages to display the multitude of data in a way that’s not daunting and that is quite an achievement for a game as complex as Victoria 2.
Like the other Paradox Interactive titles I’ve played, Victoria 2 won’t cause deaf gamers any problems. The game’s mass of information is relayed through a variety of visual methods such as text, icons and numbers and as a result deaf gamers will be able to appreciate what the game has to offer. All of the tutorials are exclusively in text so you’ll be able to follow them and get a firm grasp of the game’s basics. The game’s manual does go into much greater depth than the tutorials. Weighing in at over 100 pages it’s full of useful information that is definitely worth reading if you want to get a firm grasp of the game.
Victoria 2 represents a major improvement over the original Victoria and for that the developers deserve praise. The game still has a fairly high level of complexity and despite the game being significantly more user friendly than the original, it’s still not a game you can jump into and have a full grasp of within a few hours play. As with most other Paradox Interactive games, you’re still looking at a heavy investment of time before you can fully appreciate everything that’s happening in the game but once you reach that level you’ll appreciate just how rich an experience Victoria 2 is. For serious grand strategy fans Victoria 2 is a must. Others might want to give the demo a try first however.