Top critical review
30 people found this helpful
on October 1, 2013
EU4 released to good reviews and I've spent more than 200 hours playing over the last two months. If you've never played a prior version, it's tough to sum up in a sentence or two. You play as any country anywhere on earth that existed in 1444, and you can roll the clock forward more than three centuries and play as any country that existed in any of those years (the game still ends in 1820, though). Generally, pick powerful countries when you're new to the game, and weaker ones as you improve.
EU4 improves many areas of play from EU3. Trade is better by leaps and bounds. Navy is integrated into trade and a real necessity. Diplomatic relations are improved by spending Diplomat time, a limited resource. The Monarch Points system is a good way to make you choose between priorities, though when you get stuck with an awful leader for decades, you may learn to hate it. The biggest change is that EU4 nations are no longer as vanilla as EU3, every one has different National Ideas, bonuses you get when you make certain other improvements (these other improvements are the same for any nation). There's a big difference between countries, and it shows when you go up against them, or if you play as them.
All in all, there are many improvements in the look of the game, in the mechanics, and yet the core of the game is the same EU I've been playing for more than a decade. Or it was. The Devs decided that the way people were playing the game when it was released involved too many easy ways of succeeding. They released version 1.2, which added some free stuff and interface improvements, but clamped down on expanding. Now, this is a war game at heart. If you're not expanding, you're not playing (with the exception of Colonial/Trade only powers such as Portugal). The players who are used to conquering the entire world while starting as any small country welcomed the "challenge", most players it just drives crazy. I gave up on the game as more frustration than it was worth.
If you've played EU3, I recommend trying EU4. And I'm glad you're recovered from that coma which kept you from buying the game at release. Just get used to needing to play a stronger nation at the start than you'd expect, and expect the game to bog down after 150-200 years (remember Vicky2 at release, where you could only play 50 years before rebellions shut down the game? same thing only now it's coalitions). Well, it bogs down until they fix it, which might happen.
If you've never played a prior version of Europa Universalis, I say skip this one. Pick up Crusader Kings 2 if you haven't already. There's a game where they were worried more about making the game fun than in punishing success. Watch for EU4 to be on sale for half price or less before taking the chance. Check back in 2014 and see what they've done to it. Right now, for a new player, EU4 is, well, more frustration than it's worth.
NOTE - You're not buying the game from Amazon as much as you are from Steam. You get a Steam "key", which lets you play the game. Steam is only needed to download the game and any updates (upgrades are mandatory at Steam, no playing the release v1.1 for you!). You can play offline.