Posts Tagged ‘Europa Universalis IV’

Europa Universalis 4: Mandate of Heaven ascending April

You must choose: history or sci-fi? No time to explain. Pick now. No do-overs. 3. 2. 1. Time’s up! Huh, that’s your decision? Interesting. You’ll have to stick with that. Okay, now there’s time to explain: Paradox have announced a release date of April 6th for the next Europa Universalis 4 [official site] expansion, Mandate of Heaven, which is also the release date for Stellaris’s Utopia expansion. What are you going to do, play them at separate times? Tch! So if you chose history, you can look forward to an expansion focused on China and Japan. Read the rest of this entry »

Europa Universalis IV looks east with Mandate Of Heaven

Space is getting grander and more interesting thanks to the Utopia dlc for Stellaris, and Crusader Kings II is receiving a rabble of Monks and Mystics next week, but Europa Universalis IV [official site] hasn’t been left out. A tenth expansion is coming. It’s called Mandate Of Heaven and it adds an objective system based around semi-dynamic ages (from Discovery to Revolutions) to the world while introducing new mechanics for the Empire of China, daimyos and Shogunate of Japan, and Manchu. Read the rest of this entry »

How historical games integrate or ignore slavery

Video games always come with an expectation that the player will suspend disbelief to some extent. Genetically engineered super-soldier clones don’t exist, radiation has never and will never work like that, and overweight Italian plumbers could never make that jump. In most cases, if we are unwilling or unable to suspend our disbelief, we may well struggle to enjoy the game and our questioning of the basics of its ‘reality’ would probably make us insufferable to be around.

There are some games however, where the realities of our world are key to enjoying the game. These are the builders like City Skylines, simulators and sports games like Prison Architect and FIFA, and even crime games like Grand Theft Auto. One genre has a particular problem when it comes to maintaining a foot in the real world yet still creating a setting where one can have fun without becoming mired in morally questionable events and choices: historically based games. And among historical games, few subjects are as complex to represent as slavery. Many have tried, from Europa Universalis IV and Victoria II to Civilization and Assassin’s Creed: Freedom Cry, and in this article I’ll investigate the portrayal and use of slavery in these games and more to explore what they get right, what they get wrong, and how games could do better in future.

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Learning to love imbalance in strategy games

From the forum threads full of arguments to the constant tweaking and occasional overhauls via patches – balance has long been one of the pillars of strategy games. It means fairness, a level playing field, and in competition it means that victory comes purely from player skill. But balance, and the quest to reach it, can easily become the enemy of surprise and of the joy that comes from succeeding against the odds.

Balance’s lofty position implies that nobody wants to be the underdog, that conquest is only satisfying if you have the exact same or at least equally effective advantages as your opponents. Sure, when actual money and trophies are involved, this sort of balance is necessary, but when you’re playing for fun? When you’re playing on your own? Give me the imbalanced every time.

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Steam Charts: Sidney The Best

I have a terrible confession to make. While, on a weekly basis, I protest about the oft-unchanging nature of these charts, the truth is that a new entry makes me sigh. It means I have to laboriously type out new HTML rather than just copy the links from last week. This means terrible, unspeakable suffering in a week such as this, where there actually are quite a few ‘new’ games. Read the rest of this entry »

Europa Universalis IV Launches New Expansion; Crusader Kings II Rewards Cannibals

A new Europa Universalis IV [official site] expansion, named Rights of Man, is out today. This means that people who pay £15 can play with expanded diplomatic options as a Great Power. As is the traditional Paradox grand strategy way, a big update has launched alongside this expansion with fixes and additions for all.

Look, if I sound half-hearted, it’s because I’m reading the notes for a Crusader Kings II patch Paradox also released today, and that has the lot: cats, fraudulent mystics, and cannibals finding human heads in their beds. EU4 is a let-down on the japery front.

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Europa Universalis IV Gives Away Free Swedish Songs

What if Paradox Interactive are a shadowy front for the Swedish tourist board? What if they’re being nice – with all these lovely games and free DLC – to lure us to lonely lakes and forests? What then? We all know what the UK government did with The Beatles. Now, I’m not saying this is true, but the latest free bit of DLC supports my theory completely. A collection of 18th-century Swedish songs from poet and composer Carl Michael Bellman is now resonating around Europa Universalis IV [official site] in free DLC, ostensibly to selling Paradox selling many games but… if you download this and start pining for pine, don’t come crying to me for help.

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