Europa Universalis: Rome Review

We get serious with this review of Europa Universalis: Rome.

Review by Darren Cartledge
Published 6th June 2008

Europa Universalis: Rome

  • Developer: Paradox Interactive
  • Publisher: Paradox Interactive
  • Release Date: 18th April 2008

Empire building games are often a simple affair and on occasion don’t provide us armchair generals with enough of a challenge, so its nice when one comes along that pushes our strategic decision making to the limits. This is exactly what Europa Universalis: Rome does and any armchair general will have to be at the top of their game in order to prove their worth.

At first glance you may be forgiven for thinking that Europa Universalis: Rome is a turned based strategy title, but this is very much a real-time game. Set in the ancient world between 700 and 400 years before the birth of Christ the game revolves around the Roman Empire and key eras in its history. You can play the game from a number of different era’s which of course brings different challenges with it that are unique to that era. You will also find playing in different eras that the size of your empire will change adding to the challenge of the game. The game also allows you to play the game from different viewpoints. You can play as a number of different nations from Romans to Barbarians allowing you to create a unique game every time you play adding a lot of replay value to the game.

Playing Europa Universalis: Rome may seem like a daunting task to the less seasoned armchair general, however getting to grips with the basics is pretty simple although you will have to spend sometime learning some of the more advanced features included in the game, but once you do you will find yourself engrossed in a truly massive game.

EU: Rome offers a pretty good challenge and as mentioned above does include many features that you will have to manage on your way to building your empire. There are many different aspects for you to take control of including diplomacy, warfare, city management, religion and trade to name but a few. As well as managing all these things you will also have to ward off attacks from enemies sometimes on multiple fronts and remember all this is happening in real-time so it can be a little overwhelming at times, however Paradox has included a couple of features to aid you during your rule.

As there seems to be a lot going on at any one time in Europa Universalis: Rome, the game allows you to issue orders whilst the games action is paused. This for me proved to be an invaluable feature allowing me the time to plan my strategy and counter enemy attacks. You can also play the game at the speed of your choice, this allows you to speed the game up when there’s not much going on, and slow it down when things heat up a little, although you will often find yourself playing the game at the default speed as there’s always something that requires your attention.

Sooner or later when playing Europa Universalis: Rome you will come under attack and you will be required to either recruit an army or move troops into a position to defend yourself, here the game takes a more realistic approach then other real-time strategy games. Unlike in other games where units move to the position you order them to instantly, in EU: Rome units have to march or sail to the position and as in the real world this takes time meaning a poorly defended city could easily fall if you don’t have any troops near by. You can track a unit’s movement progress by a meter that gradually fills up as they approach their destination. Raising an army also takes time to recruit and train your troops, so you can’t instantly reinforce weak positions. This may sound like a negative to the gameplay of EU: Rome but it makes you think about your overall strategy and troop placement.

EU: Rome may sound a little complicated and you do have to invest quite a lot of time getting to grips with some of the finer aspects of the game, but once you do the game becomes quite engrossing throwing up new challenges as you look to expand your empire.

As well as the single player mode EU: Rome also features a multiplayer option in which the AI controlled nations are replaced by real players adding more variety and challenge to the title.

Visually EU: Rome looks a little like the Civilisation games, except it features a lot more realistic looking world map that includes an impressive amount of detail and clearly shows the boundaries of each nation. Units in the game look a little dated and lack real detail, but they serve the purpose of showing you the position of your forces well. Sound in the game is a little lacking, there are sound effects when you select a unit and a nice score plays in the background but other then that there’s not much to talk about.

If I’m honest Europa Universalis: Rome isn’t going to appeal to real-time strategy fans that are use to playing the more common Command & Conquer style games. This is a hardcore strategy game that takes time to get to grips with but does provide an engrossing, challenging and overall, a playing experience that will test the strategic planning skills of any armchair general.

Review Score: 7.6/10

Please note, this review was scored using our old system. For more information please see our review policy.

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