Thank you GamersGate for sending us this game to review!
While some strategy games place you in command of a general/hero in relatively fast-paced action, Victoria 2 helps you create the bigger picture, by giving you the opportunity to create or change a country’s history during the Victorian time period.
Victoria 2 is a grand strategy game which places the player in command places the player in command of almost any country from the Victorian time period from 1835 to 1935. The tutorial partly helps the player conquer the steep learning curve and once you get past the first few years of game play the game gets addictive. The game places a lot of power through politics, diplomacy and warfare at your disposal.
The game consists of a Grand Campaign and Multiplayer, though multiplayer is for hard core fans that have a lot of time on their hands. The Grand Campaign is filled with events like reforming your nation, gaining prestige from a successful expedition in Egypt and improving relations with your neighbors, that will keep you busy and wanting more. Whether you want to free Britain’s colonies or just humiliate China through defeating them in an unjustifiable war, the globe is yours.
The game play interface is based on a regional based world map where the regions contain information regarding the population, workforce, ideology, culture and the amount of armies that can be built. The game uses a real-time system where the speed of the game can be set to the player’s liking. Armies are simple to command, battles are resolved by the AI and the resupply system is also automated. You can control the production, budget, research, politics, trade, diplomacy and the military of the nation. The production mainly consists of building factories to produce goods for trade or war. The control you have over your production depends on the country’s state economic policy. The budget interface lets you set the tax rate for poor, middle and rich classes.
The income provided from the mines, tax etc. is used to allocate spending for things like education, administration and the military. The technology interface shows the literacy rate and research points of your nation which determines the effectiveness and speed of research. The politics interface is used to implement social and political reform. The availability of the reforms mainly depends on the willingness of the Upper House to enact them. You can also release a nation, choose the ruling party and make decisions (which create modifiers, like an increase in population). The trade is automated, but there is an option to buy or sell goods if you don’t trust the AI. Diplomacy options include declaring war, forming an alliance, increasing/decreasing relations and requesting/granting military access.
Another important factor is influence - a degree of influence over what decisions other countries make, either because they like you a lot, or they fear you a lot. The current wars and great powers are also available in the diplomacy screen. Last, but not least, your military is one of the more exciting elements of Victoria 2. Unfortunately for some, the military doesn’t completely revolve just around buying armies, the country has to have a large enough population to sustain and build armies. Mobilization is possible, but the quality of the mobilized troops is not as effective as with sufficient troops. You also have to bear the Casus Belli system (war justification) in mind. When starting a war, you set a war goal and if you don’t have justification, whether you win or lose; you gain infamy which tarnishes foreign relations. Planning is very important when occupying territory, especially when engaging a large country, because of the siege process involved.
The enemy AI is challenging and your allies tend to stay loyal as long as your relations are good. It is also notable that rebellions randomly rise up later in the game, but the 1.2 patch seems to fix it.
The game has a good soundtrack, but addicts may want to place the music on mute after a few days. There are some minor stability issues, but the game runs smoothly for the most part. The interface is user-friendly. The interface is user-friendly and the menus help the player keep a close eye on everything from construction to occupying/losing territory, though the pop up messages may become an irritation after a while.
Conclusion: with just a few minor problems and a looping soundtrack, the game offers a fun and satisfying experience. The replay value will keep fans coming back for more, though a lot of people might be put off by the steep learning curve and the patience required in becoming a true and virtuous ruler, sweet talking politician, or an egomaniacal tyrant.