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Europa Universalis: Rome Demo


Tigranes

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As some of you know, the demo is now available (~350mb) for Europa Universalis: Rome, which uses the EU3 engine and is sort of a spinoff-slash-sequel. It is set basically in the last three centuries before Christ, covering the Punic Wars and the last years of the Republic up to the Augustan reforms.

 

The demo gives you control of Rome or Carthage for about 25 years, just after the start of the first Punic War. I finished one campaign, and will play another tonight if I can. I found the screenie key, so maybe a short warstory in the works, I know we have a few EU enthusiasts here.

 

A very disorganised 'first impressions':

 

I fired up the demo with my 4-year-old computer, which can barely (~10fps) run NWN2, Oblivion, KOTOR2, etc, at the lowest settings. The poor CPU especially meant EU3 wouldn't go quite very fast, either. I was pleasantly surprised with Rome because while it uses the EU3 engine, the map now only covers Europe and some surrounding areas, so the game plays quite smooth and fast - and if it does for me, it will for most of you. No bugs, no crashes, etc., so all good there.

 

The core game plays very much like EU3; same combat system, same events system, similar research/civics system, etc, etc. But as a whole, I found that the game's pace was now a lot more sensible. I like slow games and one of my biggest peeves with TW is that in 20 years you've pulled a Genghis Khan and rule the world; but in EU3 there were times you'd spend 5 or even 10 in-game years (over an hour on my machine) not doing much at all, just waiting to build up some cash and manpower. It's a lot better in Rome as the pace is a bit faster, and there are more things for you to do when you are having that sort of down-time. I definitely think it's a winner.

 

Specifically, the biggest 'innovation' in Rome is the introduction of characters. Think Total War here. You have a pool of generated characters who belong to specific families. They have 3 stats that correspond to military leadership, diplomatic skill and governorship/research. They also have traits such as Corrupt, Unhealthy, Invalid or Brave. They can be appointed to lead armies, go on diplomatic/intrigue missions (where they could be caught and executed), carry out research (no funding slider anymore), govern provinces or be elected as leaders (i.e. consuls). They each have friends and rivals, can get married and have children, and with a dynasty you will be able to see the family tree. Historical characters such as Cato and Hannibal can be found, and some have their own portraits. Most interestingly, they have loyalty (to the state) rating and popularity (to the people) rating. If a character has low loyalty and high popularity (a state most commonly found in long-time, victorious generals), they can disobey orders (e.g. refuse to leave command or disband), or even carry out rebellion. Troops that have fought under a general can become 'loyal' to him: they will follow him if he rebels anywhere - and since disbanding now requires you to pay out retirement packages based on their contribution, simply disbanding 'loyal' troops can be costly. Lots of fun - I had Cato with 10,000 mean on the straits of Gibraltar refusing orders, so I had to try to assassinate him.

 

Cities have individual trade routes, and each trade good provides special bonus. So if X has Stone, that's +100% defence; if Y has Iron, you need that for heavy infantry. If you have X trade with Y (tkaing up one trade route), they both get both bonuses. So no CoTs. It's simple, it's good. Cities also have governors. Cities have a 'civilisation' rating. You want this rating high, because:

 

The 'grey' territories have barbarians living there. You can negotiate with them sometimes, e.g. bribe, but if you take troops there they'll most likely rise up. If you've somehow dealt with the barbs, and you have provinces nearby with Civilisation rating and civilians, you can colonise; and the process is a lot faster and lot more painless than EU3 colonisation, just once, a few months' wait, and voila. Barbarians can be pretty damn punishing though, I had a 19-barb stack led by one of the best generals in the world smash into Italy in the middle of the Punic War when everybody was in Spain, Rome was sacked and I nearly lost the war because of the income loss.

 

The negatives? Firstly, no historical events, just 'casual'/'generic' events. I hate this. But I'm sure a mod will rectify this very soon (Europa Barbarorum, of Rome: Total War fame, are already working on their own version.) Secondly, the ping-pong armies are still around; you will still have random 1-unit armies run around beesieging you or harrassing you. I wish casualties were higher and the battle engine dealt with routs, but ah well. It's still a substantial step up in enjoyment from EU3 and it's a lovely game.

 

Will post short warstory of second campaign when I get around to it, this no-save thing really kills you.

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Arghh! I won't have time to try this before the weekend :p

 

I am very much looking forward to this title. Thanks for the impressions and the heads-up :)

“He who joyfully marches to music in rank and file has already earned my contempt. He has been given a large brain by mistake, since for him the spinal cord would surely suffice.” - Albert Einstein

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I wasn't a fan of the user interface. It was too big and not as intuitive as the EU3 interface. Doing several construction projects at once is a pain

The area between the balls and the butt is a hotbed of terrorist activity.

Devastatorsig.jpg

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Well, second campaign crashed on me last night, so too bad. I had conquered all of Spain, blockaded the straits of Gibraltar and protected the Malta/Syracuse area from landing, then was trying to negotiate a good peace deal (the AI is STILL bloody stubborn)... then by mistake I move the navy out of the straits and all those 30,000 men Carthage had been building up with nowhere to go, land in Spain. :)

 

Oerwinde, yeah, the interface is too big (I hope someone mods a 'minimal' version a la Oblivion). For multiple construction though you can still use the ledger.

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