The Basics: Mechanics & Interesting Features
As far as simulation mechanics go, Paradox has once again one-upped their previous entries by taking many of the best elements from previous titles and blending in a smattering of new concepts. Some of these new concepts include Monarch Points being split into three categories, Administrative, Diplomatic and Military Power–each of which accrue over time based on certain decisions players make throughout their global campaign.
Battles and sieges are represented quite well, and players have complete control over their on-ground forces as well as their naval fleet. Historical accuracy is a big part of how a realm will fare throughout certain periods–in both warfare and expansion, certain nations will receive “luck” modifiers depending on if players adhere to actual historical events. In this regard, the game inspires players to read up on their nation’s history, and while its not required, it can certainly help to know what events to expect–however the main notion is that you can make your own history and mold your very own realm as you see fit, for better or worse.
In essence, Europa Universalis IV offers players the chance to rule as they see fit; but there are consequences for certain actions. Being an aggressive conqueror will have negative affects as far as diplomatic relations, however the trade off is the possibility of a larger realm–it is this kind of balance that is maintained throughout gameplay, and players can weigh certain decisions and see their effects while trying to juggle national wars and conflicts as well as stabilizing an economy.
The deep level of control that one has over their empire is staggering, and is certainly intimidating at first. Players can see and modify nearly every aspect of their virtual realm; from global trade routes and economical decisions to absorbing other nations through imperialistic war and religious conversion. As every decision has its own circumstances and consequences–many of which mirror actual occurrences in history–players will often have to make tough choices. In this respect, EU4 allows players to don a crown and sit atop a throne, simulating a truly remarkable kingly experience.
The on-screen UI is perfectly streamlined with everything where it should be, and everything in its place. On a whim, players can examine their dipolmatic standing with dozens of nations, explore their trade routes via the Trade Map overlay, take a look on the far side of the known world and check out what Kazan’s main export is and so on and so forth. Half of EU4‘s gameplay is centered upon navigating throughout the main tabs, and as such, they must be optimized and streamlined and neat–a concept Paradox has reflected amazingly well.
Throughout every second of gameplay Paradox guides you along with a series of overlays that offer in-depth descriptions of everything that you need to know about the game. Just about everything can be highlighted with a quick mouse-over, which activates a convenient drop-down box that explains certain parameters. This is extremely helpful and is an invaluable resource to new players, and is just one of the ways that the developers have optimized the game for newbies.