|System: PC||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Paradox Interactive||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Paradox Interactive||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Aug. 13, 2010||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-8||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Teen||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Cole Smith
We all know people who dont like, or understand, video games. Its typically older people, and I can say that because Im not exactly young. These outsiders tend to lump all games into one category: ridiculously stupid time wasters. What a lot of them dont realize is just how sophisticated and complex these games can be. Case in point, Victoria II, a nation-building sim and straegy game. The difference between this game and Kirby is so vast it would require a wormhole to traverse it. I am absolutely convinced some members of the highest levels of government would fail miserably at Victoria II, and perhaps Kirby.
Victoria II is not just for nerds. It does take some time to learn, but I can almost guarantee the rewards are worth the effort. Yes, there were times I would have rather been whacking a mole with a mallet than negotiating religious rights to an irate mob, but with patience and perseverance, what you can do to that mole you can do the entire world, over time.
If youre a little apprehensive about this version because of the first one, Victoria: An Empire Under the Sun, dont be. Although I dodged a bullet by not having to review it some seven years ago, I heard all about it from the unlucky sap that did. Apparently, plenty has been changed since, but its not important to compare, this game stands solid on it own merit. I am not the most fervent of sim fans, but I do enjoy a good game when I play one, and I can certainly recommend Victoria II to all gamers who enjoy a challenge.
Plenty of tutorials, hints, and automations help keep beginners heads above water. Even seasoned vets can relegate some of the tedious micromanagement to the automation and still enjoy an exciting and complex game.
We begin in the 1800s during the Victorian era. Its the dawn of the industrial revolution. If youre beginning to think this is boring, think again. This is the beginning of our present day society. Its a time when the masses stand up to be counted. Freedom, democracy, dictatorship, disposable income, luxuries, oppression, and new technologies are emerging. The Dark Ages are vanishing in the light of enlightenment, and youre at the center of it all. Communism and fascism are not necessarily bad concepts if youre playing from these perspectives. This is an age of ideas and ideals.
A word of advice, start small. Choose a small country and learn the ropes. Youll gain lots of knowledge and experience by getting your butt kicked by larger and more powerful countries. But not to worry, time is on your side, you have 100 years to raise your nation. Like all economic and civilization sims, the key is balance, and Victoria II is no exception. The main categories you must attend to include commerce, military, and the population. Each of these categories has many subgroups, which are easily accessible from the menu. Picking a category and clicking on it will reveal many options. For instance, the population needs to be kept happy, so youll have to give them some freedom in various areas such as laws, religion, and time off from work. At the same time, you have to make sure theyre productive, and youll have to tax them to generate revenue for you to spend in other areas. Dont get greedy because if they dont have some spending money for recreation, things can get revolting, . and thats when things get ugly.
Fortunately, aside from a few freeze-ups, the game is almost bug-free. That is until the population revolts and starts making outrageous demands, many of which you cant meet. These incidents occur randomly and, at times, frequently. You cant plan for them, and you cant always deal with them. Paradox may have a patch for this annoyance by the time you get your copy of the game.
Put away that mallet and stop looking for weasels, there isnt a lot of combat in this game. World domination comes through more diplomatic means, but there are some battles, and youre going to have to have some kind of military presence to defend yourself. Warfare is automated, although you do have a hand in many decisions such as where to position your infantry and naval units on the world map. Your military grows exponentially with the population so your army will always be balanced.