Nearly 4 years after its August 2013 release, Europa Universalis IV is still at the pinnacle of the grand strategy genre. Forget the likes of Civilization or Total War. EU4 is a game which continues to impress me even after pouring endless hours into it over the past few years.
To be perfectly honest, I’m surprised at myself for not having made an EU4 post sooner than this. I can wholeheartedly say that it’s my favorite game in terms of both enjoyment and time played, and it’s not aged at all since I’ve begun playing it. In fact, Paradox’s team is still developing the game and updates it regularly, so it’s actually gotten much more enjoyable over the years.
A shory summary for those new to the game: in Europa Universalis IV, you can select any nation in the world and lead them to war or victory as you see fit. The game begins in the year 1444 and runs until 1821, but it also has bookmarks which can allow you to start your game in a number of historically significant years from throughout the time in between the end dates. Many nations, especially the more prominent ones, feature unique gameplay mechanics and events which allow the player to either follow the course of history or take control and make their nation their own. The basic gameplay feels—at least to me– like a mix between Total War (the video game) and Risk (the board game) but in real-time strategy form. It’s a unique experience.
The game is also notorious for its massive and still-growing number of Steam achievments to unlock. I admittedly have spent a lot of time trying (and often failing) to achieve them. However, the only thing on Steam that has the Europa Universalis community talking nowadays is the game’s reviews.
Europa Universalis IV currently holds an 79% approval rating on Steam, and that rating is only 33% amongst recent reviews. I’m writing this now to lend my voice to the disapproval, but also to explain it to anyone looking for a new strategy game. EU4 is and always has been a fantastic game to play. Those reviews do not reflect the gameplay; read the comments if you don’t believe me. The reason the reviews are so negative is because Paradox has recently raised their DLC prices significantly and inexplicably.
Two of EU4’s DLC’s (namely Art of War and Conquest of Paradise) are somewhat essential for having decent games, so the uproar is understandable. However, don’t give up on EU4! It’s a great game, and I would highly recommend it. Just wait for the prices to go down, or buy it now (with some DLC) if you happen to have a wad of cash burning through your pocket.