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Europa Universalis IV

13 August 2013
Europa Universalis IV - cover art
Glitchwave rating
3.80 / 5.0
0.5
5.0
 
 
768 Ratings / 3 Reviews
#500 All-time
#14 for 2013
A player may take control of any nation and its economy, administration, diplomacy and military between 1444 and 1821 AD.
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I think my thoughts on Europa Universalis IV can be summed up by pointing out that my main issue with the game is how gimmicky and shallow I find many of its systems and the overall gameplay loop to be, and yet it took me over 800 hours of play time to come to that conclusion. It is paradoxically (hah) one of the most thorough and carefully constructed historical sim/grand strategy ever made and one that continuously frustrates me as a player with abstractions like the mana system that can't quite seem to model the history it wants to. It's not good, it's not bad, and it's not really in the middle either. It just... is.

Recommended To: People who enjoy grand strategy games that combine historical accuracy and detail with complex and player respondent systems
Not Recommended To: People looking for a grand strategy game that combines historical accuracy and detail with complex and player respondent systems
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not_moth 2021-05-17T23:15:32Z
2021-05-17T23:15:32Z
3.5
1
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grand strategy historical
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Map Painter 4
Whats odd about EU4 is that despite 15 DLC worth of content and lots of things to do in the gameplay loop, the overall level of strategy seems to be less than a browser game.

Really this isn't much more complex than Risk.

The economy is simple. Trade is simple. War is simple.

There doesn't seem to be much to do other than paint the map.

Games like Anno focus on one gameplay loop and make it infinitely more enjoyable and challenging.

Games like Civ abstract away some aspects of the simulation and representation to have far more enjoyable economy, development, and war.
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Crimson7 2023-12-31T18:07:37Z
2023-12-31T18:07:37Z
2.0
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It has enough breadth and just enough depth to keep you ticking away, in my case for 1.5k hours, and yet nothing is ever deep or fleshed out enough to not feel shallow. You can do anything... as long as said anything fits within the constraints of the system.

There's not many games that allow you to simulate this period of history, and play any country, ranging from European monarchies, to a nomadic horde, to Indian sultanates, to African and New World tribes, all within the same game, using a combination of shared and unique mechanics, and run those countries for 400-odd years. But in giving this range, it can never do every country and area justice, and everything eventually feels half-baked. However, I understand why, as any deeper would turn the scope of the game into something completely unworkable.

Sure, there's empire building, but there's not much to do other than clicking buttons, putting down buildings. In fact, now that I think about it, a vast majority of the gameplay is clicking a range of buttons of varying forms. Invariably, this means it becomes a highly-detailed, complex map painter, with a Renaissance-themed lick of paint.

Also the fact this game is still being actively developed is astonishing to me, I can't fathom how ugly the codebase must be - I would have thought EU5 would have been announced years ago. I know the DLC money must be good, but jeez.
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Jackrb 2023-03-06T21:58:44Z
2023-03-06T21:58:44Z
3.0
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abandoned
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All these paradox games lose a half star from me for predatory DLC philosophy. Ruins so many great games, but everyone who plays PDX games is a whale anyway.
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benjikz 2023-08-09T16:11:06Z
2023-08-09T16:11:06Z
4.5
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The Illusion of Replayability: How Europa Universalis IV Fools You into Having Fun!
Europa Universalis IV is a very comprehensive and addictive grand strategy experience that hides its highly formulaic gameplay in the hundreds of countries and idea groups there are to choose from. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy EU4, in fact, it's probably the closest thing to a perfect empire-builder, but its formulaic and repetitive gameplay is also what leads to Paradox's awful DLC policy and ultimately makes the game feel bland.

EU4's Vision and Gameplay

Why is EU4 unique? Because more than any other strategy game I've ever played its core gameplay feels like an old habit. Once the player learns the fundamentals, the player will eventually become close with the highly replayable and interconnected grand strategy gameplay formula. Assign traders here, develop province there, rip off the estates, get morale or discipline, and conquer country X. In EU4, even though each nation is different and there are several idea groups that allow for slight flavor, at its core, the interplay between the dozens of in-game currencies and modifiers makes each game, whether its France or Mapajahit, feel familiar. After climbing the game's steep learning curve, EU4 manages to create a complex self-contained economic, military, and political simulator that allows the player to find replayability in any situation. The secret to EU4 is how it fools the player into thinking each game is somehow distinct when in reality each game actually follows slight variations of the same recipe for success. EU4 fools you into having fun!

It's this fundamental vision of EU4 that leads to both its strengths and weaknesses.

Even though many longtime fans of the franchise and of grand strategy games in general will criticize EU4's monarch "mana system" and the oversimplification of other mechanics like development, I actually think its these two gameplay mechanics that form the bedrock of EU4's gameplay formula. The intuitiveness and uniformity of the develop and monarch point system allows you to recreate the same gameplay while playing as a European king or as a Native American chieftain. So, in a way, I understand the criticism of EU4's supposedly "bland" monarch and development system but it's at the core of EU4's vision for replayable and versatile gameplay.

In the end, however, players quickly figure out EU4's formulaic gameplay through several ways. Once the first 200 years or so occur, the game slows down tremendously and since you've grown and your initial position is no longer as relevant, the ugly side of this formulaic gameplay structure begins to show. At this point in, the game quickly makes the game boring as each nation plays more or less the same, pursuing large armies, acquring administrative efficiency, and monopolizing trade. Longtime players of EU4 will also want more flavor than the game already offers which leads to EU4's massive modding community. Though I love the various mods that expand idea groups or even change EU4 to a fantasy setting, these are also just reskins of the core formulaic gameplay in the futile search to add even more nations or early game variety to create replayability.

In this sense, EU4 is very "successful" and fun grand strategy game that hides its formulaic gameplay behind its various idea groups and nations to create a very addictive and replayable map-painter.

Paradox's Sabotage of EU4

However, this aspect of EU4's gameplay is also what fuels Paradox's ridiculous DLC frenzy. Since the core gameplay is so formulaic and interconnected, the only way to expand the game is to simply add more nations or small mechanics for particular countries. This is why you get the terrible "content pack" DLC and why the quality of Paradox's expansions and DLCs has slowly deteriorated over the years.

Paradox's DLC policy and cost, which is either a ridiculous monthly subscription service or an absurd cost of $225, makes it so that you should only really buy EU4 when it and its DLCs are on sale. Also, Paradox's recent management of EU4 has also led to game-breaking patches or unpolished and unacceptably buggy updates and expansions being sold. It's a shame Paradox has been a detriment and has continuously hijacked EU4's growth and development as a game but ultimately it was bound to happen from the game's conception.

Conclusion

Overall, EU4 is fun and seems infinitely replayable until you realize you're essentially playing the exact game every time. If you're interested in grand strategy games it's definetly worth checking out and enjoying its core gameplay, which is interesting and successful at what it aims to do, but don't let it fool you into a rabbit hole that costs hundreds of hours and $225.
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Swaylius 2022-06-12T17:23:42Z
2022-06-12T17:23:42Z
3.5
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Would be a 10/10 if not for DLC
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eascide 2021-08-29T16:59:52Z
2021-08-29T16:59:52Z
4.5
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Catalog

Rikatan Europa Universalis IV 2024-05-28T04:46:23Z
2024-05-28T04:46:23Z
4.0
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
BurgurBurgur Europa Universalis IV 2024-05-28T04:19:47Z
Windows / Mac / Linux/Unix
2024-05-28T04:19:47Z
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
Backlog
KatherineJaneW Europa Universalis IV 2024-05-25T21:55:05Z
2024-05-25T21:55:05Z
4.0
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
tymantrim Europa Universalis IV 2024-05-22T03:31:28Z
2024-05-22T03:31:28Z
4.0
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
SCArmy Europa Universalis IV 2024-05-14T21:45:25Z
2024-05-14T21:45:25Z
2.0
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
edklat Europa Universalis IV 2024-05-13T00:58:10Z
2024-05-13T00:58:10Z
3.5
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
Nezbie Europa Universalis IV 2024-05-12T23:07:39Z
2024-05-12T23:07:39Z
3.5
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
Bubu66 Europa Universalis IV 2024-05-12T04:32:27Z
2024-05-12T04:32:27Z
4.0
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
snow415 Europa Universalis IV 2024-05-10T21:34:43Z
2024-05-10T21:34:43Z
3.0
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
AKAT_84 Europa Universalis IV 2024-05-08T15:49:57Z
2024-05-08T15:49:57Z
4.5
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
eighteensecond Europa Universalis IV 2024-05-06T19:19:05Z
2024-05-06T19:19:05Z
4.0
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
Fabian_brouwer Europa Universalis IV 2024-05-06T17:24:42Z
2024-05-06T17:24:42Z
3.5
In collection Want to buy Used to own  

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  • Previous comments (25) Loading...
  • itgoesyuh 2023-02-05 04:27:30.096211+00
    the ante bellum mod is pretty great
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  • Sj825 2023-06-13 13:14:14.664066+00
    Ingenious masterpiece of a strategy game (I simply pirated this game with all DLCs)
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  • wulc 2023-06-22 11:32:14.51488+00
    Anbennar mod is so much fun
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  • wulc 2023-06-22 11:32:28.246085+00
    Also give me my 10k hours back [2]
    reply
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  • Sparkles2003 2023-07-04 20:08:11.624553+00
    this game is my addiction
    reply
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  • MitsuMura 2023-10-12 14:07:04.126949+00
    this game is my addiction [2] somebody help me
    reply
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  • GOLD3N_Y3ARZ 2024-05-10 03:47:37.269394+00
    Can't believe this won't get more DLCs now
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