In 2001, Paradox Interactive released Europa Universalis II, a grand strategy game where players managed a country in a Eurocentric vision of the world from 1419 to 1820. The community immediately set to work increasing its already preposterous girth. Their AGCEEP mod (Alternative Grand Campaign Event Exchange Project) ended up adding more than 10,000 true-to-life historical events.
But when Europa Universalis III arrived in 2007, it ignored those true-to-life events for a system that allows players to carve out a unique alternate history. The appeasement came with permission to the modders to make For the Glory, a full price game, using the EUII engine.
A fan-made vision of what EU III should have been, For the Glory is stunning. Playing one of the major nations with the AGCEEP mod enabled, events – interesting and otherwise – are constantly pinging up and changing your game. As Spain you’ll suffer the rebellion of the Valencia artisans’ guild’s private militia in 1520, or as Japan you’ll enjoy the consequences of Kanze Tayu-Matasaburo’s insane week-long play in 1464 (netting you bonus support from the aristocracy at a huge price). As engaging educational software, it’s unparalleled. As a game, it’s perhaps less impressive.
Little has been done to improve EUII’s aged interface. Fiddling with your country’s government, armies, cities and colonies is awkward, as is pulling up information or making diplomatic efforts. There are plenty of helpful tool tips, but in a misguided attempt at keeping the cluttered global map visible, For the Glory often crams a mass of vital information into tiny boxes. It’s like peering into an overstocked kitchen cupboard full of out-of-date sauce bottles. Worse, AGCEEP is unstable even in this professional incarnation, especially in multiplayer.
Disable AGCEEP though, and For the Glory suddenly seems lost in time. There are a few concrete improvements here from EUII, such as privateers and the addition of provinces, which your country ‘claims’ to rule without necessarily doing so. These are thin on the ground, though, enough to make you wonder what you’re actually paying for. It also still very much feels like an eight-year-old game.
Here’s how it breaks down. If you’re looking for a spectacular European strategy game featuring colonization, buy Empire: Total War. If you’re a stickler for realism and like the sound of a strategy game that won’t let you idly lead Sweden to world domination or scrub Russia from existence, buy Europa Universalis III: Complete Edition. Finally, if you’re very, very patient and prefer to be subject to real world history instead of making it yourself, buy For the Glory.
Jan 5, 2010