LGR – Europa Universalis – PC Game Review

LGR – Europa Universalis – PC Game Review


[typing] Well, this is new. I actually hurt my back playing the game for today’s review. I was so engrossed in it that I was hunched over in my computer chair, leaning into the screen, just getting sucked into this game world for hours and hours and hours. That– that was not a good idea, but I did it anyway. What kind of game can make me do this? Well… Yeah… Europa Universalis, developed by Paradox Entertainment AB and published by Vision Park AB in Europe in 2000, and in 2001 by Strategy First in the USA. Faith. Power. Wealth. 1492 to 1792. Yes, this is a game with a major
hard-on for historical accuracy, as you might have guessed from
the very specific years on the cover. Mmm, look at all that text. Appropriate that the box is
like 70% text and 30% graphics because that’s pretty close to
the ratio you get in the game, too. And in case you’re wondering, Paradox Entertainment is indeed the
same as Paradox Interactive nowadays, the company currently most known
for games like Crusader Kings II and the upcoming Cities: Skylines. But their own history goes back much further, with their roots in Target Games AB, founded in 1980, but declared bankruptcy in 1999. Having nothing to do with the
American anti-Walmart retailer, the Sweden-based Target Games developed
and published all sorts of games and products, from fantasy role-playing tabletop stuff to miniatures and figurines to computer games. One of these games was the
odd-to-pronounce Svea Rike– it’s as close as I’m gonna get– released in 1997 for Windows PCs, a strategy game where the goal is
to end up as the King of Sweden, by way of resource management, trade and politics. By the time Paradox Entertainment
rose over the ashes of Target Games, Svea Rike had hit its third iteration and a new game using similar ideas was on the horizon. This was Europa Universalis, which was not only based on the
aesthetic and mechanics of Svea Rike, but the name and rules of a board game from 1993, also called Europa Universalis, by Azure Wish Enterprise. Inside the American release of the computer game here, you get the game on a single CD-ROM, the all-important foldout hotkey reference sheet, a Strategy First catalog that makes me
want to spend far too much money, and one heck of a manual. At times, this reads more like a school textbook than documentation for a computer game, and is overwhelming if you’re one of those that likes to read manuals entirely before playing. But for a daunting game such as this, you have to be dauntLESS, so let the manual be the first clue to brace yourself. Europa Universalis launches
with a paradoxical logo or two, followed by a grandiose introductory cinematic, originally narrated in lovely Swedish. [Swedish narrator] You then get a menu that
just screams STRATEGY GAME, which lets you play in either
single-player or multiplayer mode. Multiplayer is where a game like this can really shine, but that’s only if you can find enough people as willing to lose weeks of their life as you are, so we’ll just be looking at single-player. Here, you’ve got ten scenarios, one tutorial, and any save games you’ve made. The tutorial is an absolute must, and even that can take upwards
of four hours to complete. But if you’re familiar with other
Paradox grand strategy games, or are just INSANE, you can sink your teeth into the meat from the get-go. Nine of these ten scenarios are based on specific moments
and wars in colonial European history, but there’s one called Fantasia that’s a real treat. It allows you to just go crazy and mess with civilizations from around the world in a historical context, but without following history to
the letter like the rest of them. So if you wanna go all Sid Meier and try to wipe out China as the Iroquois, this is your scenario. Once you’ve decided on what to manipulate, you can then choose from a variety of
victory conditions and gameplay options. There are four main ways to win each scenario, from gaining the most points by a certain year to taking over the known world. So combine this with the
various empires you can play as and randomized and historical events, and the number of scenarios effectively
balloons to a much higher number than ten. So, this is Europa Universalis. [gunfire and swords clanging] Oh my god. Okay, let me just make something clear: this is a game that can easily take upwards
of 20 hours to complete a smaller scenario, and that will balloon to 40, 60, 80 hours and beyond for a full 300-year reign. If you’re not the type that loves sinking days of your life into a skirmish over a few territories along the outskirts of Catalonia, you can move RIGHT along. However, if you’re like me and that just appeals to you on a deep, carnal level, and you can’t possibly rest until
every last one of those bastards either bleeds out or bows before you, then, my friend, you are in the right place. So pull up a chair and bring some trail mix. Europa Universalis is a real-time strategy game, but it’s not what you think of
when you think of RTS typically, ala Age of Empires and Command & Conquer. No, this is a grand strategy game, and game built on the very foundations of what personal computer gaming used to mean. Alongside things like military flight sims and computer role-playing games, grand strategy and war games are, in my mind, the pinnacle of the term “computer game.” Grand strategy itself is an offshoot
of your mainstream strategy fare, involving political and military
conflict simulation at the scale of an entire nation-state’s resources. That is, you’re not controlling individuals
or placing structures wherever you want, but instead are coordinating a nation’s infrastructure, economy and population on a grand scale. Europa Universalis takes elements
of war games, real-time strategy and kingdom management sims and mixes them all up into a creamy soup of history-soaked goodness. There is no one single goal of the game, and you probably won’t even
be playing the same way twice due to the various starting and victory conditions. but depending on the scenario and your own desires, you’ll be managing anything
from a vast empire to a small nation and expanding it as you see fit. Largely, this will happen through
trade, diplomacy and war, though which of those receives
the most attention is up to you. On the right-hand three-quarters
of the screen, you’ve got the map, which shows any territories you own or have ties with, as well as those of your allies,
enemies and neutral parties. This is also where you’ll be exploring
the known world for the time period, since until you do, it remains terra incognita, all covered up and unable to be interacted with. So producing and moving around
troops, traders and colonists is vital to your expansion, as is sharing maps with allies, if you build up a strong enough relationship. All of THAT stuff happens on
the left-hand part of the screen, which contains all sorts of context-sensitive information for what you’re doing over on the map, as well as stats for things like battles, cities, and your empire at large. Along the bottom, you’ve got a message log which keeps track of all notable events and is most useful if you disable those
messages popping up all the time. And finally, along the top is the status bar for your resources, population,
political stability and the current date. If you’re familiar with Sid Meier’s Civilization, there’s definitely a similar vibe going on here, but the game plays very differently, especially with its real-time gameplay, as opposed to turn-based. In fact, it could be overwhelming
to have so much going on at once, and you’ll be pausing, speeding up and slowing down the passage of time constantly. This and the map navigation are
two of my chief complaints, actually. I just think they could be handled better, and indeed in later games, they are. But yeah, this first game is still incredibly playable, and feels like a distinct entity
compared to the Civilizations and the even the Crusader Kings out there. You know back when I reviewed King Arthur’s Court, and rambled on about how much I enjoy
these types of territorial conquest things? Yeah, so this is all of that taken to another plane of existence entirely. It’s wonderful. The joys of slowly taking over Asia, or Western Europe, or just Ireland, by use of force, trade, shrewd politics,
or even arranged marriages, is just endlessly satisfying. I quite like the restrictions placed on the
gameplay due to the time period, too, since it forces a very specific set
of things that can and will happen. Now this is right when the
Americas were being colonized and world powers were shifting, and there were all sorts of
amazing new resources to trade and new technologies being invented
that were changing the face of war. The gameplay may be overwhelming at times, but once you get used to its quirks, the experience is a comforting one, and keeps me glued to the screen
for an embarrassing number of hours. Sometimes, a guy just wants
to be the next Genghis Khan and wreck the entirety of Asia. Other times, you want to nestle into your island nation and embrace xenophobia. And if that gets boring,
why not convert over to Paganism and rile up the nearby Christian pope? Or claim the throne of Milan by way of some obscure ancestry
that can’t be proven – or disproven – and start a feud that lasts hundreds of years. Ahh, I love this! And the fact that the dynamics of how you want to play and how you’re forced to play will change so much depending on your chosen empire
and financial situation, well, that’s all kinds of impressive. And it shows just how much effort went
into making each scenario so replayable and making the various empires within them unique. What is comes down to is Europa
Universalis is a historical sandbox that is as deep as it is wide, and I never get enough of it. Amazingly, the series only got deeper over the years, and recent editions of the game are
almost mind-bogglingly complex in the most awesome ways. But I still find the original to be a solid title all on its own, and is kind of refreshing to go back to an EU game that isn’t quite as much of a
monster in terms of complexity. After all, for the most part,
the history here hasn’t changed, only the methods to explore that history. So in that way, games like this are completely timeless. And if you enjoyed this look back
at Europa Universe-Awesome, then you might enjoy some of my other videos, as well those that are set to arrive in the future. New videos are here every Monday and Friday, so subscribing to the channel is beneficial if you like that kind of thing
coming to your subscription box. You can also follow and interact
with me on Twitter and Facebook for other thangs throughout the week. And there’s also Patreon if you want to be a patron, which lets you see videos
even earlier than they go public, as well as some other perks, so go over there and check that out, if you’re curious. And as always, thank you very much for watching.

100 thoughts on “LGR – Europa Universalis – PC Game Review

  1. Damn! I dont think any game from my childhood was played as much as Svea Rike 😮 Best game! Well… Svea Rike 2 is even better 😀

  2. I remember playing EU2 with a friend, "just for a few hours" he said. I was stuck in North America all the time and he was constantly bugging me to send troops to help him. Didn't even get close to be able to save him.

    Years later i bought EU4 and i was hit in the face by the 89' learningcurve, i was considering giving up and going back to Shogun Total War, but i persevered and i learned the game mechanics one by one. The awesome music helped to keep me interested.

    I think Paradox should send diplomas to people who have learned to play their games 😀

  3. I literally couldn't even estimate how many hours I dedicated to this franchise– just a massive amount of time. It taught me a lot about history and geography. If someone ever puts a gun to my head and tells me to point to Wallachia or Ostend or Kazan, I'll have no problem.

  4. Ahh Cities Skylines. The game that was told in legend that would save the gamers from the unholy spawn of the new version of Simcity.

  5. Wait… Strategy First? You mean THAT Strategy First? The same company that constantly spewed out horrible games on Steam every day? This can't be that same company, could it?

  6. This game looks alot like Hearts of Iron series. If I would suggest a game to you, Try Hearts of iron 2 or 4 🙂 It's like Europa Universalis, but it's in the second world war. Skip Hearts of Iron 3, i've played that for hundreds of hours and still don't completely understand it… Plus the bugs… Oh the bugs …

  7. Want complexity? Play M.A.X. (Mechanized Assault and Exploration – Interplay – 1996)
    But only if you have spare hours in your life, because you will get addicted

  8. Years ago when this came out, after a couple of months EB games was selling this for $1.99. I wish I was kidding.

  9. Don't be silly, what else would I be doing with my life if not fighting over some territories along the outskirts of Catalonia?

  10. "The joy of slowly taking over Asia, Western Europe, or just Ireland." Yeah, I'm always pretty content with ruling over just Hibernia 😉

  11. A 27" monitor and comfy chair mean I'll never stress my back again. I think playing Daggerfall on a CRT gave me a hunch when I was a kid.

  12. Can't believe I missed this review originally. This is indeed the type of game to make you forget about day/night cycles by how engrossing it is.

  13. Nice retrospective. 🙂 Even if the first installment is a bit simpler, it's really refined for a strategy game of this sort from 2000. As always, thanks for the review. 🙂

  14. Glad I'm not the only one who's injured =himself playing videogames. I end up taking as many painkillers due to overdoing games as I do from injuring myself at the gym 😛

  15. I like the look of this game.  Something about the graphics/colors, art design, or whatever makes it look really approachable.

  16. E… Europa Universalis?! At this time of year? At this time of day? In this part of the country? Localized entirely within your bookshelf?!

  17. I started with EU III when I actually game across it in a store back when PC games were still on shelves and when I got home and saw the thick manual inside I knew I'd struck gold lol…. I've been hooked to Paradox games (primarily EU/CK/HoI/Vic and now Stellaris) ever since.

    I never feel as if I've truly learned everything there is to know about those games, and the way they keep updating them with new expansions they just remain fresh and interesting.

  18. Such nostalgia! I love that game! It was my first game I ever bought. And when I heard his voice, I was mind-blowed! Thanks Paradox!
    Tack så mycket! ^_^

  19. I didnt even know where Paris was until I played EU4. The game is legendary and the reason I dont find history nightmarish.

  20. EU4 gets a bad rep for having a rediculous amount of DLCs, but most of them are not essential, and the game hold up on its own pretty well.

  21. EU4 is by far the most polished Paradox game and it has the pedigree. I'd go so far as to say it's the most engrossing strategy game out there today. Civilisation used to hold that title but when EU came along it revolutionised the strategy genre. It's basically a fleshed out computerised version of the RISK we all remember and love from our childhoods.

    My only issue with the game and Paradox games in general is that they're poorly optimised for multi core CPU's. If you bring up task manager in game you'll see that most of the load (i.e. calculations) is being handled by just one core. Where you will really notice the decrease in performance is when you're playing the game on Very Difficult as the AI get's an extra 50% force limit and so builds allot more units which means more variables needing to be created which in turn means more calculations being performed on those variables.

  22. I picked up a combo cd with Crown of the North and EU II back in late 2004. Been hooked ever since and I still play EU II a lot.

  23. @LGR is Svea Rike the same game as Europa Universalis: Crown of the North? I remember the latter very fondly but the plot and even the look of the box art look very similar.

  24. Christians have pastors and have relationship with God through Jesus, its catholics that have popes and have religion.

  25. Gog had an eu sale and I bought eu1 and 3. I finished the tutorial for EU 1 last week and it was a lot of fun. It held me in a way that civ hasn't really managed to.

  26. Be very careful with paradox games. They can suck you in for hundreds of hours. Hearts of iron, Stellaris, cities skylines, love them because I must have spent a hundred hours on each game. Hate it because I don't have enough time!

  27. If you liked this, Star War Rebellion would excite you, as long as you "auto resolve" the space battles.

  28. Thanks for reminding me of how great this game was. Grand Strategy games are amazing and Paradox makes the best of them. The detail in some of these older games are amazing.

  29. pls lgr teach me how to play and understand the game. i started a new game once and only clicked one single button,after the game started,and i had already a civil war! xD

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