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Victoria II (PC) Review

 
Victoria2boxart
Victoria2boxart
Victoria2boxart

 
At a Glance...
 

Formats: PC
 
Genre:
 
Year:
 
Publisher:
 
Final Score
8.0
8/ 10


User Rating
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We liked?


Hours upon hours of grand strategy game play.

Not so much?


Micromanagement is a must.


Final Fiendish Findings?

From the ground up, Victoria II is another great title from the masters. Although more user friendly than some, it’s still a grand strategy game and should be approached by those willing to spend hours upon hours of time tweaking the minutest of details.

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Posted March 14, 2013 by

 
Full Fiendish Findings...
 
 

A grand strategy game, by its nature, is going to exclude a portion of the PC gaming audience. However, Victoria II goes a long way to shore up its loyal base and perhaps bring in a few more fans.Victoria2boxart

I’ll admit that I am not the biggest fan of strategy games, but I still happen to be a huge fan of Paradox. They really, really, know what they are doing and put a lot of effort into every single aspect of a game. Victoria II takes that idea and shows it off in grand fashion while still holding true to the things that one would expect from this kind of game. I have been critical of Paradox before for not including any kind of tutorial in some of their games, but in Victoria II, as with most of their later titles, they have rectified that. Victoria II has a massive tutorial system that will guide a player gently, if not painstakingly, through every aspect of the game. Keep in mind that there will still be a lot to learn from actually playing the game for most of us even after hours of tutorials, but that’s on us.

Victoria II takes place over a hundred years, starting in 1836. The player’s job is to take control of a nation (there are more that 200 of them) and make it profitable and successful during trying times. Playing Victoria II boils down to micromanagement of various parts or, more aptly, branches. It’s normal for grand strategy games, but the roots run extremely deep in this one. Each branch, government, economy, warfare, infrastructure, and population are each controlled or affected by sub-branches that will eventually tie back into the larger picture.

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Population, for example, is made up of classes as well as vocations or disciplines. There are artisans, clergy, craftsmen, soldiers, farmers, and general laborers just to name a few. These groups can be used to further your overall goals or left to their own devices. Either way, those affect the overall game in both large and small ways. Government and politics are always a high point (depending on your view of politics, I guess) of Parodox titles and Victoria II once again has the player delve deep into the belly of the beast. Diplomacy plays a huge part in your success or failure.  One needs only to take a brief look at the political menus to find a never ending stream of options and decisions to be made concerning your nation or others. Some things you can control and some are just there to work around. Players will find that their political tactics or referendums often meet opposition. If not by your own senior staff, then by the populous in general. The player can also set standards, outlaw religion, accept slavery as a valid business, etc. As long as the people are kept happy, employed, feed, and have some discretionary spending, they will probably be alright with whatever you decide. However, because things are so very interconnected, they probably won’t be happy for long and one small move in the wrong direction can lead to disastrous results.

War is present, as it should be, but is only useful as a means to an end. Victoria II is not a game that one should approach if they want to build a war machine to conquer the world. It’s all about managing, adjusting numbers, trying new things to accomplish a desired outcome and then trying others when it does not work out like you envisioned or when your actions cause some other unaccounted for negative outcome with one of the many other branches. It will benefit no one, for instance, to engage in a long term conflict. War, like anything else in the game must be thought out, prepared for, and executed when the outcome is almost certain. There are several aspects of the game, such as reconnaissance, that will help the player make those decisions.
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The economy aspect of the game is where it gets super complicated. After playing a good amount, I still don’t understand everything that goes into it. There is trade, taxation, markets, productions, industry, and even unemployment. Some of those are directly affected by the player and some are simply indicators. Some things are governed by you and some by other nations. Ever so thankfully, Victoria II allows some of those to be automated. While there are players that might like to go on that grand economic adventure, most will be content to watch the highlights. Graphically speaking, don’t expect much. Players get a world map with indicators, events, and text popping out of places as well as brilliantly designed UI that takes most of the overwhelming task down to just whelming. What is there is nice to look at and gives a nice visual representation of what is going on with your nation and others, but what you see is basically a skin for so much cause and affect math that it would frighten small children to look upon it.

From the ground up, Victoria II is another great title from the masters. Although more user friendly than some, it’s still a grand strategy game and should be approached by those willing to spend hours upon hours of time tweaking the minutest of details.


Amy

 
U.S. Senior Editor & Deputy EIC, @averyzoe on Twitter, mother of 5, gamer, reader, wife to @macanthony, and all-around bad-ass (no, not really)