Europa Universalis III: Divine Wind PC
Published by Paradox Interactive
Developed by Paradox Interactive
Just when you think Paradox Interactive are through with Europa Universalis III they release another expansion that manages to add more depth to what was already a pretty deep experience. The expansion manages to make the experience of playing as an oriental nation far more satisfying but there's much more to Divine Wind than that. In fact the game as a whole has been improved and fans of Europa Universalis III will regard this expansion as an essential purchase, although it's not as impressive as some of the other Europa Universalis expansions that have been released.
One of the main focuses of Divine Wind is to make the game more enjoyable when playing as China or Japan or one of the factions therein. Personally I like to play as Japan in Europa Universalis games but I have to be honest and say that it's not usually as much fun as playing as one of the European nations. To a large extent Divine Wind changes that and makes playing as Japan or China a more interesting proposition. Both nations now have additional factions to play as. China has the Eunuch, Temple and Bureaucrat factions which compete for the Emperor's favour. You'll also have to deal with the various Steppe Nomads and their seemingly endless warring tendencies. China also has a new form of government known as the Celestial Empire. In Japan there are four Daimyos to play as; the Minamoto, Fujiwara, Taira and Tachibana factions. You can attempt to overcome the present Shogun to become the Shogun yourself although it's far from easy and you always run the risk of sparking a civil war with the other Daimyos. There are a lot of perks to being Shogun and you can conduct diplomacy with foreign nations, unlike the other Daimyos. However, you'll need to maintain good relations with the other Daimyo in order to keep Shogun's influence high.
Several changes have been made to the core gameplay. Your sphere of influence is now dependant on your trade range and will increase the number of magistrates and your diplomatic skill in each of the countries that you have influence in. Allies can be called in at the start of a war and those you make during the course of a war can also be called in. There is a new peace interface to allow you to see what effects your proposed peace will have on your provinces. After defeating the Emperor you can even demand that he revokes the last imperial reform. There are new buildings available and each nation now has a unique building. You also now have the ability to remove buildings if you wish. Some trade aspects of the game have been reworked and you can only trade in a Centre of Trade that's within your nation's trade range (trade ranges have been shortened in Divine Wind). Missions, events and decisions have been added or adjusted to work with the new game mechanics that Divine Wind has introduced and not all of them are specific to controlling the oriental nations.
Paradox Interactive now have their own achievement system and Divine Wind adds fifty achievements to Europa Universalis III. What kinds of achievements have been included? Well there are achievements for managing to expand your army to the nation's limit, restoring the Byzantine Empire to its historical borders, conquering India with a European nation, managing to become a trade leader with seven different goods and a whole lot more besides. What I like about these achievements is that they encourage you to play Europa Universalis III with goals in mind that otherwise you might not have considered and as a result add replay value to the game; not that the game ever struggled for replay value however.
Not only does Divine Wind bring extra features and gameplay enhancements, it also brings a nice visual upgrade to Europa Universalis III. The graphical quality of the game is now much closer to that of Victoria 2 rather than Europa Universalis III which is certainly appreciated. Whilst there have been some improvements made to the interface, it's a shame the interface hasn't been improved to the standard of the one in Victoria 2 (and if there was an award for strategy game interface of the year award then Victoria 2 would certainly have won it in 2010) but I daresay that's something that will be addressed in the game's inevitable sequel.
With Divine Wind being an expansion it's unsurprising to find that the game doesn't improve in anyway on its deaf gamer friendliness. This isn't a problem however as Europa Universalis, like virtually all Paradox Interactive titles we've seen to date, doesn't represent any problems for deaf gamers. There is no speech in the game and all of the information is shown visually through the use of text, icons and numbers. Deaf gamers will be able to enjoy Divine Wind without any problems then.
Europa Universalis III: Divine Wind is a solid expansion that manages to compliment the original game rather satisfactorily. It doesn't do anything to dramatically change the Europa Universalis III experience and it's not going to make you appreciate Europa Universalis III if you weren’t initially fond of the game but then you wouldn't expect it to. You could argue that the expansion is too narrow in its aims and could have also made playing as an African nation or one of the American nations much more worthwhile and it’s a fair criticism given that the expansion weighs in at around £15. However, most will be pleased with what Divine Wind has to offer. Not only does it make playing in the Orient more enjoyable but it also adds a good level of improvement all round which will be appreciated by those who are sitting tight for the inevitable news of Europa Universalis IV.