Monday, May 21, 2018

Imperator: Rome, a sequel to Europa Universalis: Rome

At last, after so many years Paradox Interactive has decided to push out a new Grand Strategy game in the Roman Era, their previous development was called Europa Universalis: Rome and the expansion, Rome – Vae Victis, sure added something to the game but at the time I felt it lacking, needing much love and a revamp of some of the awkward mechanics inherited, from my own perspective, from an earlier version of Europa Universalis III and a limited engine, if memory does not fail me there was this great improvement on the Europa Universalis III engine that made it look fantastic from the original blob it presented itself like.

Something that stroke me as interesting when trying Crusader Kings II back when it came out was the fact that it shared some of the mechanics of the Rome game, it had individuals with their own goals and ambitions which could lead an army, govern, rebel, plot murder, all the goody stuff CK2 players enjoy so much nowadays was inherited and polished (after a couple of expansions, mechanic revamps and other things in between) to what we know today of it. From the side of Europa Universalis, I am unsure how much it was inherited but I can be sure that with the current version that is coming out, Imperator: Rome will greatly benefit from the Europa Universalis IV mechanics and the now polished Crusader Kings 2 mechanics.

At the time the images that have shown up look great and remind me so much of the original Rome games, there is no need to go for battles such as Total War, Total War is there for those huge epic battles on the ground that you can enjoy from the shoulder of the Legions you send down to cause havoc, no, we are here to enjoy the massive intricacies of the military (with hopefully improved upgrade mechanics that do not tie you to one update whenever the game feels like it and research that was arbitrary as hell), political (I can already see the civic faction breaking oh so many games, they broke so many of mine and caused so many rebellions I would change the people in power five times before I got to understand how the hell anything worked), diplomatic (hopefully as Rome you can get some sweet casus belli to expand your Empire all the way to Asia and also interesting decisions with your neighbors so they don’t eat you alive from the get go such as that little devil Pyrrhus breaking hell all over the shores of southern Italy) and religious system (some of the bonuses were really broken and the fact that you could get the total opposite to what you wished really made you think if you should even consider it on your to-do list but if you did not do it then you were asking for the religious faction on breaking your back every single time) of the Roman Empire.

Other mechanics that are coming back to my mind were the Legions your provincial Governors or Legate would command a Legion which in turn would start to become loyal to him, on one side this would be good because your treasury would be released from the much needed money during the early state of the game, on the other hand these men had become loyal to him so in case he rebelled they would stand by him no matter what, this would lead to some very interesting battles in which Legions would be fighting on the same square against other members of the same Legion who had fought with them side by side.

The sea battles were horrible, and I could never understand why the Romans would not capture more ships once they had discovered the retractable arm they could throw onto other ships, in real life this would give the Romans the advantage they needed over their much larger Carthagian foes as their sailors were not ready to face the might of the Roman Legion from ship to ship. The mechanics were oddly clunky and I was always praying my transported troops would make it to wherever they had to go because losing one of my Legions, any Legion, could cost me a bunch of territory.

Those barbarian invasions were also a hell of an adventure to deal with, I would leave regional legions (attached them to a local Governor who could be so useless at times) to defend tracts of land such as northern Italy (the alps mostly and using the bonuses of the mountains to my advantage) and fight the massive mothballs of up to 100K barbarians, sure the slaves and money I would get from them would be absolutely great and with the right politics you could get freedman and citizens in a considerably breeze (quite some time to be honest) which would in turn help Civilization push further out and bring the rest of the territories into being gloriously Roman (because what else is better than to have 100 Civilization and be the center of all European civilization, eh?)

As a Historian with a formal education one of the things that drove me to study History were the Total War and Europa Universalis games, I was amazed by the Roman and Medieval eras and to this day they continue to be some of my interests as a Historian, I also believe that teaching through videogames is one of the best ways for the current generations to learn about the many interesting aspect of Humanity (even if this vision is eurocentrist).

Now, if only Paradox Interactive would take their time to rework that Sengoku game they made, I know that would be another really interesting period to visit and while we are at it, a Victoria 3 game, anyone?

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