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Europa Universalis II (Windows)

84
MobyRank
100 point score based on reviews from various critics.
3.9
MobyScore
5 point score based on user ratings.
Written by  :  Technocrat (176)
Written on  :  Jul 28, 2002
Platform  :  Windows
Rating  :  4.33 Stars4.33 Stars4.33 Stars4.33 Stars4.33 Stars
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Summary

Strategy worthy of that name... but not what I expected.

The Good

Without a doubt, EU2 is a strategic simulation. The game features countless different variables to take care of, each well fitted in the whole. Inflation, investments, religion, politics, stability, war, risk of revolts… You’ve to put the six senses if you’re to succeed. Al of them are interlinked, meaning you can’t afford the cost of a war for too long without smashing your economy or facing rebellion after rebellion. A fine designing work, indeed.

Although I’m turn-based driven (an so was frightened when heard EU2 was real-time), the SimCity-like system (thanks, it can be paused to give orders) was excellently implemented; it doesn’t have the typical click-fest feeling, as the game is not about constructing hordes and send them against the enemy.

I can’t speak about historical accuracy (well, except about some minor Japanese history issues, but again, I’m not an expert), but hundreds of historical events indicate there’s hard work here, too. Add random events, nearly 200 countries to choose from – each with its own optimal strategy -, and you have a historical game with unmatched replayability in the subgenre.

The Bad

At first, the game sounds very promising, and a good game it is, as I’ve said. However, my experience with EU2 was somewhat lacking. Even with the hundred variables, sometimes the game seemed to run alone, as I didn’t have control (or so I felt) over them. Given the worldwide approach of the game, there’s very little micromanagement, and that’s what I liked the least. Some areas are too abstract (trade, for example, seems to be reduced to fill all Centers of Trade in sight with your merchants; you don’t have to choose the best commodity to offer/buy).

Diplomacy is plenty of options, but roughly can be categorized, save a pair of exceptions, in two groups: improving relations/insulting and make alliances/declare war; no more complex diplomatic interaction. Well, I guess it’s because the macromanagement approach, but I found it unsatisfying.

Since I haven’t played EU, I cannot speak about the little differences between it and the sequel, but seems EU2 is more an expansion than a new game (Civ2 comes to mind).

The Bottom Line

Don’t let the bad part of this review fool you: EU2 is an excellent game that can satisfy a strategy fan like few others… Simply, my personal impression was not as good as I expected.