Europa Universalis IV (EU4) is a deep and complex strategy title that attempts to build from the success of the previous titles in the series. This is via a new trading aspect to the game as well as making it more approachable to the new player.
The fundamental gameplay of EU4
is not vastly different from its predecessors, in that you take on the role of a monarch in Europe from the 15th through to the early part of the 19th century.
The view of the whole of Europe is the primary element that the player interacts with. This allows them to manage their own realms as well as invade others. EU4
will boast 4000 historical monarchs players can interactive with.
There are also historically accurate events that occur in the game that the player can then either follow to their conclusion as they did in actuality or change the course of history entirely.
deviates from the previous titles is many fold, the key one being trade. EU4
will allow players to manipulate trade routes by controlling key ports across Europe.
This becomes increasingly important as trade routes to Asia and the Americas open up. These trade routes were the cornerstone of how Europe became such a dominant and influential region in the period EU4
is set and their inclusion could prove to be its making.
In addition to trade routes,the concept of 'Monarch Power' has been added to the Europa Universalis
mix. This is where the influence of the player's monarch affects their realm. If they are warmongering then you will be feared by your people and respected by your foes.
Conversely a player with a leaning towards diplomatic solutions will have greater influence beyond their own court and will be able to broker deals with neighbouring territories in their favour.
The influence of religion also plays a key part in EU4
. Nations with similar belief systems will look upon a player's nation with greater affinity than those with other faiths. This can lead to open warfare between nations and it is up to the player to either become a defender of their chosen faith or a crusader.
Multiplayer is supported heavily in EU4
. Everything from a one-on-one right through to 32-player epic campaign, EU4
has a lot to offer in this regard. There is even the inclusion of drop-in, drop-out allowing players to take control of AI realms for a period and then handing back to the AI. Co-operative play is also planned, with teams of players taking control of subsections of a single nation state.
Finally the opportunities to modify the game will be offered when it is launched. Players will be able to make an alternate reality Europe, one in which the Spanish Armada did make it to the shores of England say. All such customisations will be available upon the game's release in the latter part of 2013.
As visually impressive and feature rich EU4
is, the question remains: how can it reach a broader audience? For this franchise to grow beyond its core audience, its approachability must be addressed.