Europa Universalis Review
Europa is an extensive game and it can take a significant amount of time to play your way through a game. Time marches on day by day, so it can take quite a bit of real time for 300 years to pass. You can control the speed at which the game time flows, but at the higher speeds you'll be flooded with status messages and will have to slow things down or pause the game to keep track of them all. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but it is definitely not for all game players.
I also need to mention that I have a love/hate relationship with the game's manual. There is a wealth of information contained within it, including extensive historical notes. However, a table of contents and index are curiously absent and the information in the manual is organized in a strange and mystic manner which makes it very hard to find the information you are looking for. Given the problems with the manual, the game is best learned through some trial and error coupled with reading of random sections of the manual. Yes this is a time investment, but you will be rewarded for your troubles.
Europa is one of those games that will eat vast amounts of time without you ever realizing it. You will find yourself wanting to do 'just one more thing' before saving and shutting down for the night without realizing that it is now 2 AM. While this type of game typically appeals to turn-based fans, they should not avoid Europa because it is a real-time game. Orders can be given while the game is paused and it's pace can be slowed to the point where it is effectively a turn-based game.
We could never cover all of this game's nuances in a review this short, but part of the fun in playing it is to discover everything that is modeled by this extensive game. It's not for everyone, though, like a true work of art it might not be accepted by the mainstream, but we're sure it will develop a rabid and very loyal following.
In The End, This Game Hath Been Rated: 90%. If you think some of the missions in Red Alert 2 are a little on the long side or are an impatient person, this is not the game for you. Those that invest the time it takes to learn all of this game's subtleties will be rewarded with a rich and engrossing gaming experience.
System Requirements: 200 MHz Pentium II CPU; 64 MB RAM; 2 MB Video RAM; 2x CD-ROM; 180 MB Hard Drive Space; Mouse.