Game Review: Europa Universalis IV

Zach Lentz, Staff Writer

The genre of making games purposely difficult has been a niche for specific game developers, such as FromSoftware with their Dark Souls and Bloodborne series. Those games are action role-playing games, which demand a players reaction time and skill of mixing blocking, dodging, and attacking into a ballet of success. Even the most skilled players will frequently die, as the games are designed to kill their players. Europa Universalis IV is a different game from the Bloodborne and Dark Souls series, although both have extreme learning curves. However Europas is a different curve than the other two, the game demands a different kind of strategy. You need to know history, know which nations were strong at certain times in history, remember which advisors to pick, how to run your economy, deal with the death of a leader, command an army and know how to wage a proper war. All these things most players will know little to nothing about when they first load up the game. There aren’t any streamlined tutorials either, so learning most of the core mechanics are up to the player to go out of their way to learn.Levantine Heritage

The learning process is laborious to work around at first. Learning where to go to find all the information is easy but hard. There are tons of YouTube videos to watch, wikis to visit, and people on forums to talk to concerning the game. The sources are numerous, and numerous sources usually mean many terrible ones. As a result, you have to sift through those to find the diamonds in the rough. Many of the tutorials only skim the mechanics, leaving the player very confused. New players still discover the game daunting and confusing after watching those thin guides. After a little hard searching, a player can eventually find a guide that is dense and full of information. Those guides can take hours, even days to go over, and even then there is still a lot that you will need to learn on your own, but once you do, it feels very very rewarding.

After sifting through guides and learning the ropes, the player is ready to choose their first nation to play. You can choose from any country on the map, but certain ones are good for a beginner. The best ones are England, France, Muscovy, and the Ottoman Empire, with the Ottomans being the best choice. Theirs located nowhere near any other major countries who could threaten you, and they have a strong army nonetheless, so you can quickly take over all the smaller nations that surround you, vastly increasing the size of your empire. And on top of that, they come with one of the best leaders of the early game, which is a tremendous asset considering your location as the only major player in the middle east. You will also have one of the most influential economies in the game for throughout the entire game, making you virtually untouchable for the rest of the game.
Michigan Toy Company

For my playthrough of the game I chose to play France, and this was a ride of an experience. You have to go through a lot and are thrown into a war with a significant power right from the start of the game, that power being England. You enter the war with them over the territory of Normandy, and a few smaller provinces England took from France earlier in history. And since England is always one of your rivals, you’re constantly finding a reason to go to war with them. For me, these reasons varied hereditary monarchical issues, trade disputes, competition for colonies, and so many more. I found myself in many other demanding military and political positions with countries other than England, the Holy Roman Empire and Castille being the main annoyances. Castille is the foundation of Spain and a significant player in the early game, and when they swallow up their rival Aragon to form Spain, they become even more of an annoyance. After the religious shift away from Catholicism that France Michigan Toy Company
experiences, this does not put you in Spain’s good books. By the end of the game, I still had constant squabbles with both France and Spain.

Europa Universalis IV is a game that does not hold your hand, and it is a gratifying one to learn. Once I finally learned everything and achieved a secure place for my nation, I felt remarkably accomplished; and, I couldn’t put the game down.