Experience one of the most defining periods in world history in an experience crafted by the masters of Grand Strategy. The greatest cultural and military civilizations are brought to life through this epic title rife with great strategic and tactical depth. Set during the golden age of the Roman Republic when the Senate ruled the Empire, Vae Victis features a massive number of additions and improvements to Europa Universalis: Rome, a game that was already one of the most prominent to depict that era in the widest scope. An overview of these key changes begins with government, which has received a lot of attention for the expansion in order to produce more fluid and balanced gameplay. The cast of historical characters of the ancient world have also had a significant overhaul across a variety of areas and with the addition of missions, decisions and laws, Vae Victis is an expansion packed with a huge amount of new content.

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Fortunately, Paradox Interactive has given a chance to justify running through another campaign of Europa Universalis Rome with the release of their first expansion pack, Vae Victis. So not only do we get to play one of our favorite strategy games from the year, but we also get to justify it as "work.

The series simulates a wide range of political, military and economic interactions in real time on a truly global stage. The original games focused more on the Early Modern period of history, but the concept has been translated to the Middle Ages, the Age of Napoloen, World War II and a number of other eras.

Earlier this year, the developers finally adapted the design to let players play through all of Roman history, from the first tentative steps of the Republic to the crises of the Empire. Vae Victis expands on this already gigantic premise with a few new ideas. Some, like missions and national decisions, are clearly copies of the similar systems in the latest Europa Universalis III expansion, In Nomine.

Others, like improved character interaction and political parties with actual agendas, strike out into more original territory. Some slight interface improvements and AI tweaks have also been included to make the core experience more dynamic, more exciting, and, yes, much more challenging than before.

The missions and decisions are ways of giving the player a bit more direction while also giving them a bit more control over the game. From time to time the Senate, or the noble or tribal groups from other government types, will chime in and ask you to complete a certain task by a certain date.

In some cases, it might simply be to capture a single province. In other cases, it might be to resist an enemy invasion. The rewards are generally the same as we saw in In Nomine; you might get a small bit of cash, or a boost in morale or some other area. While some players prefer the more open, "do what you feel" approach to the original EU Rome, Decisions also follow the general pattern of In Nomine. Instead of forcing players to adapt to rapid changes in their empire at key moments, Vae Victis gives players the option to trigger decisions based on their accomplishments.

The real control though, comes from the various shifts of power in the Senate and the consequences that has for your strategies. Rather than just being one amorphous body, the Senate is composed of various groups, each representing a key agenda. Those groups are more or less attractive based on the abilities of their individual members and the particular state of your empire at a given moment.

That means that each group will grow more or less powerful as time goes on, and will both reflect the overall drive of your policies and provide a ready check on your dictatorial ambitions. So you may find yourself preparing for a prolonged war and then hampered by a surge in power of the mercantile or religious elements in the Senate.

The only real hitch in this system is that passing laws actually decreases the stability of your country. In This Article.


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Paradox has a pretty good track record regarding expansions with meaningful features, so how does Vae Victis stack up? Moving on… No, seriously, keep going ET AL. In fact, the tutorial still uses indicators for the old interface pointing at the wrong icons at times! I actually had to approach the Paradox PR rep and ask for a features list to make sure I saw all of the new stuff. No matter how small in terms of size or content an expansion or a patch may be, it should always be accompanied by appropriate documentation. End of rant.


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