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Publisher: Virtual Programming    Genre: Strategy & War
Min OS X: 10.4    CPU: G5    RAM: 512 MB    Hard Disk: 700 MB    Graphics: 64 MB VRAM

Europa Universalis III
March 14, 2008 | Andrew Wasilow

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The sound and music on EU III are wonderfully composed and applied. The menu music inspires the player to throw virtual caution to the wind and jump right into full out gameplay; there is no room in this intrepid music for tutorials! And so I did, being completely overwhelmed with confidence, only to have it crushed by not being able to figure out the simplest of controls. The in game music is equally uplifting, provoking you to do bold things for your country, discover new lands, fight off old enemies, and, of course, rule the world. The music changes with the actions of the game as well. When you are attacking or being attacked, the music changes to the heavier war drum telling you that battle and victory is close at hand, or immenent destruction, depending on what side you are on. The music is original and, even though it does repeat, it does not grate on the nerves and heightens the playing experience.

The sound effects are also very well done and applied. When you buy something or revenue is taken in a money clinking sound is made. When you select an army or navy, appropriate battle sounds are made. However it is in this that I find my gripe. When you take in revenue, which you do throughout the game, the money clinking sound is made, every time. The same sound every time. For every sound in the game is repeated to the point that you simply want to turn off the sounds. But this is not a fault of EU III or the developers, this is my biggest and only gripe with any RTS. Command and Conquer, War Craft III, the Civilization series, Black and White, they all have the same problem with sound repetition. To put an extremely high number of sound effects in a game, for each and every action, would be unrealistic and very, very time consuming.

I had an issue crop up with the sound on my tower only, the G5 iMac did not present the same problem. After playing for an hour or so, the sound became very distorted and mixed. Sounds would seem to “stick” or continue playing after they should have stopped, the music would get stuck on a one five-second part of the track and not change, regardless of what was happening in the game. This problem would not go away without a restart of the game. Even though it only happened two or three times, I took it as a good thing when it did happen regardless of how frustrating it was at the time; without this need to quit the game, I would have kept playing for hours on end.

Game Play
Europa Universalis III is one of the more complex games of the Real Time Strategy (RTS) genre. It has an extremely daunting learning curve that make most games seem like Lemmings. The tutorial of the game is detailed, however it covers a lot of material in a very short amount of time, and at the same time, not all of the material in the game; this is your country, this is the end you hold and this is the end that you use to make your country larger by force A lot of it is on the job training that really does not require a tutorial for, but at the same time some form of instruction would have been nice. Trying to remember everything that was said in the tutorial while in the game proved to be more complicated that I thought, I ended up having to run through the tutorial a few times to make sure I got everything down before continuing with the game. For example, to have a usable army, you must select a General from the list of Generals available to you. When you first start this is limited to none. You must first select a citizen to become a General and use resources to promote this person to General, then you can select him to lead your army. The same goes for Admirals. In this way you have total control over every aspect of your forces. Each person you select as a General or Admiral will have different characteristics of warfare, and you chose which one is best suited for command based on your forces overall weakness. It’s a micro-manager's happiest dream come true.


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