Europa Universalis III

  • Wonderfully layered strategy
  • Endlessly replayable
  • Rewards strategic thinking
  • New graphics aint special
  • Historical deviations may upset purists
  • May be too complex

If there was ever a gaming equivalent to the domain of historical global domination, then Europa Universalis (and its WWII offshoot Hearts Of Iron) would have to be it. Perhaps in terms of pure numerical depth the comparison is a touch ambitious, but in bringing together areas of foreign policy, trade, development and warfare, few games have been so successful at weaving all the threads together, especially within such a rich tapestry as post-medieval European history. OK, the graphics were a bit crap, but EU’s Risk-style map and cute icons did the job adequately enough.

Which brings us neatly to Europa Universalis III’s headline feature - 3D graphics. Don’t get too excited – it hasn’t gone all Total War (intriguing though the prospect is). Rather, in place of the static 2D map that was probably knocked-up in MS Paint, we’re now treated to a zoomable atlas, with textured lapping oceans and soldier pieces that poke at each other with all the enthusiasm of a road-sweeper encountering a dog turd.

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