34 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not for the faint of heart!
Europa Universalis 2 is probably the hardest of the hard in terms of strategy games. Don't be fooled by the real-time aspect of it, it's a straight-down-the-line hardcore strategy game.
It has both depth and breadth, two qualities which normally come at each other's expense, and the basics are reasonably easy to pick up. The devil, as always, is in the details, and...
Published on 1 Jan 2004 by Mr. P. Walker
2.0 out of 5 stars Rather Dull - i didn't rember this game till amazon prompted me
This is a rather dry game which has been overshadowed by later rivals (e.g. civilisation series or even total war)
Published on 5 Jan 2009 by Chris A
Most Helpful First | Newest First
34 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not for the faint of heart!,
This review is from: Europa Universalis II (Video Game)Europa Universalis 2 is probably the hardest of the hard in terms of strategy games. Don't be fooled by the real-time aspect of it, it's a straight-down-the-line hardcore strategy game.
It has both depth and breadth, two qualities which normally come at each other's expense, and the basics are reasonably easy to pick up. The devil, as always, is in the details, and the intricate economic model couples with the military, diplomatic and social fronts to keep players permanently occupied in all speed settings but "Paused".
The game is played in campaigns, which see the player assuming the 'power behind the throne' for a nation of the Earth in 1419 or one of a good half dozen times later than that. The game ends at the latest in December 1819, and players can choose their own victory condition from a preset list, or play without a set one.
Starting countries range from the standard (and easy) choices like England, Spain, France... through the less normal (and harder) ones like Prussia, China, Aztec... to the downright insane, like Tibet, Navaho, Albania. The vast range of starting options makes sure that players never run out of things to try. The long campaigns (incidentally the most interesting ones) will take a solid thirty hours' of play to play through well. But I think that's a Good Thing.
Events keep the game... interesting, and specific events sets are tailored for most of the nations in each campaign. These have a range of minor notables, diplomatic crises and economic issues to deal with, frequently presenting the player with tough choices. The AI is also very well-maintained, and generally well-suited to the role it is given.
As regards support outside the game, it is well-supported by the publishers, who are still producing updates and bug fixes, with massive input from players. The publisher's fora are heavily used, and there is a wealth of information in them.
In terms of playing styles, it supports all sorts. I come at EU2 as a colonizer who enjoys discovering New Worlds - and I can do that. Another group of players attempts to conquer the world from the most ludicrously difficult position they can think of. Yet more play to accomplish their own ideas - eliminating Protestantism from Europe, finishing with a Turkish East Asia - the game allows for all sorts of players to do whatever they like.
For people who enjoy meaty board strategy games, this is perfect. For those who found Civ 2 a bit long, it is considerably less than perfect.
30 of 30 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Classic Strategy,
This review is from: Europa Universalis II (Video Game)An excellent upgrade to Europa Universalis, this game is a tremendous pausable strategy simulation of a euro-centric (although the map includes the entire world) history from the end of the middle-ages to the Napoleonic era.
A variety of scenarios are available, enabling you to play as any Nation (eg France, Spain, etc..., or even Burma, Iroqois, Eire, Ukraine, Bavaria, Castile, Aragon, Brittany....), in a variety of periods.
I sense that the makers of this game were perhaps inspired by an old board game called Empires in Arms which was created by the Australian Design Group (sold to AH) which represented the pinnacle of board gaming.
In any case, EUII has many of the good design features of that board game, although army supply rules are perhaps over-simple for my liking (ie, you can't build campaign supply depots, so rich nations don't have any advantage when it comes to Supply, which I think is wrong).
The map is divided into small geographical regions, such as Yorkshire, Croatia, Galway, Alsace, etc... and the player controls one or more of these areas to form their nation. Your nation can be expanded through diplomatic resolutions to declared wars, colonisation of unclaimed lands, or other nations' rebelling provinces joining you spontaneously (rare but worth waiting for!). And it can shrink due to wars or internal rebellions (playing as Britain can be disturbing when half the country suddenly decides to form a new nation as the Royalists, during Cromwell's time....).
Warfare is fairly simple - Inf, Cav, or Art can be purchased (if you have developed the technology), and they each have their own movement rates and combat effectiveness. Combat is divided into two alternating phases which continue until one side has broken. One phase is firepower, the other melee. Cavalry have no firepower and nor do Infantry prior to the invention of the arquebuse, and you can guess the rest. A region that has had fortifications built in it will be reduced much more quickly if the sieging force includes Artillery. Occasionally your Nation will have leaders, who have varying abilities to aid in combat.
Technology is divided into two warfare and two economic areas - choose how much of your monthly income to apply to each. Developing technology gradually introduces new economic options and construction (improvement) options for your land regions, and improves the effectiveness & speed of your army & navy.
You are also presented with the opportunity to very gradually change the nature of your nation's society, and some changes can happen through historic or random events. These are represented by options representing the level of "Centralisation"(affects stability/economic potency), "Aristocracy" (affects land unit prices/diplomacy/economy) "Innovativeness" (tech/expansion) "serfdom", "mercantilism", "Quality/Quantity", "Offensive/Defensive".
Economic management is not overwhelming, but is satisfyingly complex. Each land region has values, both for collecting taxes as well as for generating trade. As population grows, you get more tax. The commodity traded can range between worthless to immensely valuable.
You will often be tempted to enter into an exhausting war, simply to dislodge a rival from the lucrative tobacco-growing colonies in North America, the extremely lucrative spice-growing colonies east of Java, or for the control of a Centre of Trade in Holland, which will provide you with extra trade-based tax income. Yuor explorations will focus on finding new regions from which to trade Ivory, Spices, Tobacco, Chinaware, even cotton. Gold is especially tempting...
Periodically, your nation will generate merchants (to send to a Centre of Trade and generate you some Trade income), colonists (send to unclaimed lands to plant 100 people - 700 results in a new region added to your nation, natives that haven't been wiped out will add to this), missionaries (change regions to match the official state religion for less rebellions and better tax compliance.
17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Risk with bells on,
This review is from: Europa Universalis II (Video Game)Europa Universalis 2 (EU2) has a novel layout; you navigate the game world across a large map of the world with various territories (think Shogun map) and attack them. However the game is played in real time, not turn based, with a variable speed to allow you to speed through or micromanage. Think of it as a longer and more detailed version of Risk. You send out settlers and missionaries to the uninhabited regions of the map, and war or subjugate the other empires. This as well as accepting tasks, such as conquering a specific region in 5 years, or holding on to a territory for 5 gain you the points you require to win by the end of the game.
The military system is a little simplistic, probably the most disappointing feature of the game, you have no real input on the fighting once it has begun. Although this is historical, it is not as fun as Shogun.
That of course is the aim of the game, to be as historical as possible. Events are placed before you every so often, as and when they happened in reality, with two choices that affect your empire in a different way. The level of knowledge is remarkable, did you know there were protestants in Eastern Europe well before Luther, or that Spain and Portugal divided the rights to the new world between them? Me neither till EU2
Another problem with EU2 is the empires, fine you can play as any country that existed in that era, and there are an awful lot, but most condemn you to annihilation, or worse sitting around for 100 years waiting to be conquered. However when you play as Portugal and expand further and quicker than they ever did, or as England and never lose your hold on France, you get a nice warm feeling of success. This together with the addiction of wanting to have one more battle, or build one more army till dawn comes round, makes EU2 a game to be played.
Something here has to be said about the music, all period of course, and some really good stuff, if you are not careful you may find yourself dancing to it whilst in a boring bit.
In addition to this the game allows for basic budgeting and science, but nothing of the sort seen in Hearts of Iron. The same goes with the diplomatic page, there are a few options, and they can be used to go effect, but often something seems lacking.
That is the thing with EU2, it is great fun, and will teach you loads of random historical facts, but there seems as if something is missing.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Immortal Classic,
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars
This review is from: Europa Universalis II (Video Game)This game has one of the steepest learning curves you will ever find. But if you take time to master it you will eventually discover an immortal classic that is still played and modded to this day.
If you are thinking of buying the EU3 title I would much rather recommend you EU2 as the latter features more depth, less micromanagement, and more strategic gameplay.
There are serveral mods out there to suit your exact taste. Be sure to get them!
ACGEEP: Extreme amounts of historical events modelled!
EP: Extreme competitiveness from the AI!
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Possibly the best stratagy game ever,
This review is from: Europa Universalis II (Video Game)Europa Universalis II is a worthy sequal to the impresive Europa Universalis. As you would expect Europa Universalis II improves on the game play of the first and gives you a larger variaty of games to play on. The game has also got an expanded period of time that you can play in. It now streches into the Napolionic Wars! This is a great addition to the game and gives you hours of fun and is almost worth buying the game for on it's own!
The game itself covers all aspects of running a country, this includes taxing your peasants, raising army's, making alliances with countries, and improving your technology. Europa Universalis II improves in nearly all areas of the original game with many more diplomatic options and more technological advances to be made.
Considering the original game was a masterpiece there is no doubt in my mind that Europa Universalis II is possibly the best statagy game ever.
1.0 out of 5 stars It glitters but it's not gold,
= Fun:1.0 out of 5 stars
This review is from: Europa Universalis II (Video Game)Introduction
I used to play Civilization II a lot, but I grew increasingly annoyed at how it disfavoured war. So I began looking for a really good war game. Europa Universalis 2 seemed to be the answer to my prayers.
EU2 is a war game played on a geographically correct world map consisting of variously shaped small regions. You manage your nation's resources, establish diplomatic relations to other nations, go to war and explore areas that are not yet colonised. Movement and battles happen in real time, but you can pause the clock whenever you want to.
To be precise, you don't quite rule your country. You are actually the king's regent. The stupid monarch can make peace without asking you and he keeps giving you senseless tasks (like: arrange a royal wedding with Nubia). You get victory points for completing the tasks.
The gameplay in EU2 is quite inconvenient. A few examples:
1. The map moves automatically when you move the mouse over the edge. You can't switch that feature off. As the Pause Game button is very small and near the edge of the map, it's a tough job to quickly pause the game without moving the map!
2. Various screens that you open give you just little pieces of information, and movement between screens has been made incredibly inconvenient. For example, while ordering troops, you'll often discover that you don't have enough money, so you have to go to the money screen, take a loan and then return to the order troops screen. Each one of these steps takes several mouseclicks, not just one or two.
3. Loading and saving is inadmissibly slow. The game itself is fast enough.
4. Managing saved games is very uncomfortable. Among other things, I still don't know how to delete a saved game.
5. It's a terrible insult on players that you must press the "surrender" button in order to exit the game. I just have some other things to do, and I'm saving the game to continue it later. What does it have to do with surrendering?
6. The soundtrack suits the historical background well, but for some reason it begun to annoy me after a few days. My girlfriend just loved it, though, and she kept hanging around while I was playing, just to listen to the music.
7. A serious flaw is that the political map shows you the names of provinces rather than countries. It means that if you want to find out where a country named Teke is, the only thing you can do is to keep clicking on provinces (which would open the province information window on the left), and hope to eventually hit one that belongs to Teke.
8. Most of all, it's very disturbing that the game has a tutorial, but no help. You must discover many things by yourself. For instance, when you start a new game and must choose a country, you are given only eight choices. I was really disappointed, as I had read on the Web that you can choose any country. I just couldn't accept the limitation, so I searched and searched and searched and searched, and finally I found that there was indeed a way to choose other countries than the eight that are being proposed to you. (You have to right-click on any of the eight coat-of-arms). Hadn't I known that the possiblility had to be there, I would have probably given up looking for it.
You can't do anything
I read a review saying that the game was complex. It isn't. Yes, it takes several hours with the tutorial to learn the game, but when you start playing, you'll discover that EU2 is like Microsoft Office - only a tenth of all the features are actually necessary, if even that.
At first, it seems that you have a large variety of actions at your disposal. The bad news is that none of them really makes a difference. Whatever you do, you have very little influence on the events. The province improvements you build, apart from taking a hell of a lot of time to get ready, bring only minutious changes to your economical parameters, so that you end up building improvements just out of boredom, as you have nothing else to do. You can send diplomats to other nations and see how the number expressing your relations increases, but what does it matter? No one ever attacks you anyway. You can change 8 policy parameters, thus you can, as the publisher's blurb proudly tells you, have exactly the kind of policy you want. What they conveniently forget to tell you is that you can make only one small amendment in every ten years. (Yes, it's ten years!!) So it'll take centuries to have exactly the kind of policy you want. Besides, the policy's effect on what's happening in the game is rather small.
So basically you hire troops, build an occasional province improvement when you can, and send out your merchants you are getting a couple each year, to increase your income somewhat. Most of the time you sit and wait for your troops to get ready and, just to avoid dying of boredom, send out an occasional diplomat, even though you know already that it won't really affect anything.
That the game isn't complex is best demonstrated by the fact that you rarely need to write anything down.
The financial side of the game is a hopeless failure. For one thing, you can't store large sums of money, as it gets eaten up by inflation. So when you get money, it's reasonable to spend it as soon as you can. That idiotic feature largely ruins all your attempts of long-term planning.
Although this is supposed to be a war game, it's impossible to get enough money to have sufficient troops. There simply are no sources of decent income. I mean, in Civ II, it's difficult to get a lot of money, but at least the resources are there, it simply takes time to gradually get to exploit them. In EU2, the few existing income sources earn you miserable pennies and all the game lets you do is to increase it by another few miserable pennies. You can afford a decent army only when you have at least 20-30 provinces. But then you'll also have to defend those 20-30 provinces. Thus, serious warfare is virtually impossible.
The funny side of budgeting in EU2 is that the first time you play it, you're likely to learn a truly royal attitude to money. In other games you lose your military units as soon as you can't pay support for them. Not in EU2. When you run out of money, you're simply declared bankrupt and you can immediately take a new credit. The interest will be higher but what does it matter if you can't ever be refused another credit? So you just spend and spend and spend. You never run out of money. Never. The only bad thing about it is that bankruptcy diminishes your country's stability, and with too low a stability, you can't initiate a war. So you end up sitting on your you-know-what, borrowing more and more money to pay off the ever-rising loan interests. Effectively - since other nations never attack you - you can't do anything at all. Therefore, you will probably make sure in your next game that you don't overdebt your country. But if you're not interested in going to war, you can live forever with unlimited money, buying whatever you please.
In a few respects, EU2 is historically incorrect, like the Golden Horde being a Moslem country. But that's a small matter. A major flaw is that war is as unrealistic as it can get. For instance, how on Earth can two ships win a sea battle against 19 of comparable technical level? But even that's a trifle compared to the amazing fact that you can't plunder. If you occupy an enemy province, you will get zero (repeat: zero) income out of it unless the enemy voluntarily surrenders the province to you by agreeing to sign a peace treaty. What kind of a medieval warfare is that? If you occupy one of enemy's provinces and he occupies one of yours, you both have lost a province and gained nothing. There is no obligation to sign a peace treaty. Even when you have conquered all the enemy's provinces and are sieging his capital, he still has the nerve to demand tribute from you for ending the war. The only way to get rid of your white elephants is to occupy the enemy's entire territory, so that you can annex it without his permission. Obviously, it's advisable to choose enemies as small as possible. :-)
Maybe I should also mention that it's unclear what does it mean when one nation is another's vassal. I didn't notice it to affect the game in any way.
The battle system is as absurd as it can get. Here's a typical example. The enemy had 4 armies in the province A. I attacked with 12 armies from the province B. I lost the battle (!!) and the program directed my remaining troops not back where they had come from, as dictated by all possible rules of logic, but forward - into the enemy province C. The enemy attacked my empty province B from his province A and conquered it.
A second example: my province A was attacked from an enemy province B. I lost the battle and my troops retreated to the enemy province C and conquered it without me having to do anything for it.
A third example: I had two provinces A and B. B was occupied by the enemy. The enemy attacked A. I lost the battle and my troops retreated to B where another battle took place. After losing, my troops retreated to A, only to engage immediately in another battle. So they kept shuttling between A and B until they were annihilated.
It takes a hereditary imbecile high on LSD, in order to as much as come to the idea that attackers who lose the battle move through the whole enemy province and attack another one rather than return to where they came from, or that defenders who lose a battle "retreat" through the enemy lines into the province the enemy came from.
As to sieges, you have very little influence on your troops in a situation of a siege. You can see the general information on the province, but you won't really know how the siege is advancing and there is virtually no way to give orders to your troops. I pressed the buttons in the siege window, and the troops did something, but I couldn't find the way of making them do things the tutorial had told me I could do.
There are a few small bugs. For instance, in the tutorial, part of the text often remains over the edge of the screen and you can't scroll down to it. You'll only see it after the next instruction is displayed.
God knows I really wanted to like the game, but, after the initial excited expectations, I spent weeks trying to find out if I really couldn't do anything meaningful. I found out I couldn't indeed. This game is unplayable by any standard.
2.0 out of 5 stars Rather Dull - i didn't rember this game till amazon prompted me,
= Fun:2.0 out of 5 stars
Amazon Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Europa Universalis II (Video Game)This is a rather dry game which has been overshadowed by later rivals (e.g. civilisation series or even total war)
9 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning Grand Strategy,
By A Customer
This review is from: Europa Universalis II (Video Game)A game of unparallelled scope and depth. This game is a must have for any strategy gamer. Take control of any nation on the planet and lead it from the end of the 100 years war to the napoleonic era. With a great diplomacy engine and a challenging economic model, along with realistic warfare, it is an unbeatable combination
5 of 32 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars What a disappiontment!,
By A Customer
This review is from: Europa Universalis II (Video Game)The game has very little action involved.
If you are hoping for a computerised version of risk... this isn't it! If your looking for Cossaks with more political management... this isn't it! And if your looking for a game worth its money.... guess what- yep this isn't it!
There is a novel notion that you are managing the great nations entirely, unfortunately u can't take your nation from the medievil ages though to napolion. You have to do separate missions. The management is not as user friendly as i would have hoped and you have very little control over the battles, in-fact after the initial click you aint got any! I had a dream that this would be a "Pax Imperia" for the old world- I was disappointed.
All in all there is something novel about the game... but it could and should have been so much better!
Most Helpful First | Newest First
Europa Universalis II by Focus Multimedia Ltd (Windows 2000 / 98 / Me / NT / XP)
Used & New from: £1.99