PC/Mac/Linux
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System Requirements
1.9GHz CPU
512MB RAM (1GB preferred)
128MB video card
DX7 sound card
CD-ROM
1GB HDD space
Windows 2000/XP/Vista

Thank you Gamer\'s Gate for giving us an evaluation copy of this game.

Europa Universalis Rome is an open ended strategy game that allows you build your empire, conquer, and vanquish your opposition. EU Rome takes place from 280 B.C to 27 B.C. There are ten different cultures to play including the Roman, Egyptian, Greek, and Celtic empires. You will guide your country through conquests, diplomacy, warfare, trade, religious turbulence, colonization, and exploration. If you have played the previous Europa Universalis titles, you’ll be familiar with the interface; it’s pretty much identical.

How do I get started?

Given the depth of this game, I highly recommend going through the tutorials before firing up a single player campaign. They will teach you how to colonize as well as learn military and naval basics. Most importantly, you’ll learn how to navigate through the game’s complex interface. There’s a bit of a learning curve, but it’s not so bad once you’re used to it.

Single Player

When starting a single player game, you get to select your province and the starting date. The difficulty level will vary depending on the nation you choose. Your ultimate goal is to be the nation with the most prestige. How you get that prestige is up to you. The game will launch in a paused state, and when you are ready, will allow you to set the progression of time to your liking. Take a look around and check out your neighbors and see what alliances you can make and what land you can claim. Establish trade routes to generate income and other benefits. There are notification tabs on the top to alert you of possible improvements to your empire such as open government positions or trade routes not being used.

Diplomacy

This is where the game gets truly interesting. You define your nation’s character by how you expand your realm. Will you wage war? Will you be a good neighbor? What trading restrictions will you impose? If it’s war you seek, you can send a warning, an insult, or just declare war. If you want to have good relations you can send a gift, offer a loan, offer a trade agreement, or protect a nation (Proclaim Guarantee). If money is tight you can sell a province. In the midst of a war there are various forms of negotiating peace. White peace will settle the war in a draw. If you are winning the war, you can demand a tribute, or offer a tribute if you are losing.

Resources

Like most strategy games there are resources you have to keep your eye on. Gold is the currency in this game. Armies and ships cost money to build. Dirty politics is expensive but it’s available if you can afford to grease some palms or ruin those in power. Manpower is the number of fit men available to recruit in armies. If you run out of manpower you have to wait for their sons to grow up before you can build more armies. As you gain experience, you can unlock buildings and technologies that will help make your country more efficient. There are national ideas that you can adhere to. They all offer various bonuses. Some examples include ruler deification and national religion. If you have a national religion you have a better chance of invoking omens.

Religion

Religion plays a major part in this game. There are many religions ranging from Judaism to Roman and Greek god worship. To gain favor with the gods you are encouraged to offer a sacrifice to them. (You just need to click the button with a pig and a knife). If you have a majority of your people following your religion and favor with the gods, you have a better chance of using omens. There are many omens available such as population growth, defensive boost, trade income increase, research gain, and more. I highly recommend saving your game before invoking an omen. If the omen fails, you will get the inverse effect.

Multiplayer

There are three different ways of playing online. You can join or host a LAN game, join a game via IP address, or find someone through the Metaserver. The Metaserver is free and you can setup an account upon registering your game. You can play against or cooperatively with up to thirty two players online. Since these games are a bit long, you can save and resume them…phew!

What does the Vae Victus expansion offer?

There are now characters in this game with different personality traits and unique agendas. I found it humorous that most of the ambitions of these people were to get married and have a son. You have the power to grant them titles, smear their reputation, imprison, or assassinate them. Depending on your actions, you can gain or lose their loyalty. There will be squabbles between them; can you appease everybody? As a republic, every action you make has to be blessed by the senate. If your decisions are not to their liking, they will turn against you. You can pass laws that will favor the government, the rich, or the poor. Every decision has a trade off and the country’s stability will be impacted. When the stability drops, revolts are likely, especially in the provinces you conquer.

Graphics

The graphics are unique in this game. The amount of detail you see depends on how zoomed in you are on the map. If you’re zoomed all the way out you just see land and water. If you zoom in a little bit more you will see names of the provinces. Finally, if you zoom in even more you will see forts, battles, construction, and moving water. There’s truly nothing mind-blowing graphically in this game, but it’s really not needed.

Sound

After the intro movie, there is no voice acting. Any communication in the game is done through message prompts. There are basic sound effects like money going into a bank when your nation is prospering, and other similar sounds. The background music is very good and pleasant to listen to.

Controls/Interface

There are many different menus you’ll have to familiarize yourself with so there’s definitely a learning curve but it’s not too bad. All of the menus are explained in the tutorials. I highly recommend going through the tutorials before just jumping in. Once you learn the game’s interface, you’ll find that it’s decent. There are some handy features like a province finder that’s very useful.

Appropriateness

When you’re zoomed in and looking at a battle, you just see a simple animation of one soldier attacking another. There is no bloodshed. Most of the religions featured in this game are pagan; then again it’s before Christ. Lastly, this game features bribing and assassination as a means to prosper.

Final Thoughts

For the retail price of $25 this is a great buy. You save $5 by buying it in a bundle. Even though this game is pretty complex, it’s very fun and worth checking out. The possibilities are infinite and the replay value is endless. I truly believe that strategy gamers and history buffs will enjoy this game tremendously.

Final Score
Game Play 19/20
Graphics 7/10
Sound 7/10
Controls 4/5
Stability 5/5
Appropriateness 42/50 (violence & occult references)

Overall 84%

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Christ Centered Gamer looks at video games from two view points. We analyze games on a secular level which will break down a game based on its graphics, sound, stability and overall gaming experience. If you’re concerned about the family friendliness of a game, we have a separate moral score which looks at violence, language, sexual content, occult references and other ethical issues.

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