This is the first in a series of articles devoted to Europa Universalis IV: Chronicles, and it examines how Europe was transformed from 13th century into 16th century.
In some senses, a Paradox Immersion Pack is essentially a guarantee of mediocrity, something reserved for the most ardent fans and achievers. In other cases, they open up the universe and provide seasoned players with new methods to play the game as well as greater depth to their favorite countries.
Origins is difficult to categorize, with the main features being a selection of missions for a few African countries, as well as some new sprites and a few of new tunes.
One difficulty I have with this is the persistent impression that playing an African country is the same as playing a European one – there is no discernible change in the way the game is played, from commerce to diplomacy to war. There’s no distinction between spy networks and claims, exploration and colonization… There are even Estates…
This is not just uninteresting, but it is also an obvious disservice to a whole continent. EU4 has been out long enough to have spawned a plethora of different play styles. Europa is, of course, right there in the name of EU4, and it remains the major topic. If you’re going to make an Immersion Pack for Africa, it should include more than task trees that have nothing to do with gameplay.
These new mission trees are generally on par with their European equivalents, with objectives ranging from conquering your neighbors (which you’ll accomplish at random during a regular playing) to somewhat more specific aims like establishing your power against the West.
However, the missions have a lot of historical flavor, so they can be useful for players that appreciate going up the tree and utilizing it as a guide for their own growth.
The extra sprites are wonderful, but most gamers play from a bird’s-eye angle, so you don’t get to see everything. I can’t help but believe their art staff would be better effective focusing on region-specific UI, clumsy boundaries, or areas where rivers abruptly become oceans.
For gamers interested in following the Jewish religion and enjoying a more immersive experience, the new Judaism mechanics may be worth it. The fundamentals of Judaism are comparable to Protestant mechanics, with Aspects separated across the several monarch point groups.
Festivals are unlocked by the Administrative Aspects, and although they aren’t very interesting, they might give benefits to your nation, such as alleviating unrest or cutting technology expenses. Many of these advantages may be found elsewhere in the game, but having another option to activate or stack them might be beneficial.
Permanent benefits to, you guessed it, diplomatic relations and religious tolerance are the core of Diplomatic Aspects. These may be beneficial, particularly because most players do not use their Idea slots for religion.
Military Aspects are also very potent, providing a significant decrease in land attrition or a rise in morale that may shift the tides of many a conflict, particularly when paired with other benefits.
Version 1.32 of the patch
The Origins DLC isn’t the only thing coming out right now; patch 1.32 is Paradox’s latest effort to squash the issues that have plagued EU4 for over a decade. This free patch has a number of improvements that most people will like, but only time will tell whether they were successful in avoiding replacing existing problems with new ones.
After the debacle that was the 1.31 patch, the new Tinto studio has a lot to show, and although I was able to go through a non-colonial Leviathan campaign with just minor graphics issues, several players reported game-breaking problems that caused their saves to crash and corrupt. I assumed it was due to interactions with certain DLC I’d never bothered with, but such instability after so many years of work is inexcusable.
Many of these adjustments are hidden from view and go unnoticed by most people, however some are more noticeable than others. Take war, for example, where enemy AI now enjoys pursuing and bringing inferior forces to fight. While these pursuits seem more realistic and hard, they may also be used to entice armies away from strategic locations with a tiny sacrifice force.
We may also notice less AI-hired mercenaries during peacetime, since the AI now appropriately disbands units when they are no longer required. According to my observations, this seems to have resolved the problem I often saw with nations – particularly England – having hordes of mercenaries standing idle.
We can see enough of updates to make modders happy in the patch notes and game files. Several additional triggers and modifiers have been added by Paradox, allowing for the modification of more variables. These are always useful and might lead to some useful community balancing tweaks in the future.
Along with the corrections and additional modding possibilities, there have also been some much-needed balancing tweaks, such as War Score, Aggressive Expansion, and Overextension, which are all personal pet peeves of mine. It is now simpler to acquire and keep more provinces than it was before, which helps in dealing with the growing number of provinces over time.
KEY MOMENT IN THE GAME
Being able to claim land that I had taken during a conflict without immediately forming a regional alliance against me. They’re all mine, so take them all!
VERDICT OF EUROPA UNIVERSALIS IV: ORIGINS
The Origins Immersion Pack isn’t very noteworthy. Whether it’s worth it to you depends on whether you want to play a fleshed-out Judaism or want to take an African country via the mission trees.
The free patch that comes with it, on the other hand, should be appreciated by everybody, particularly if it does what it says on the box. This seems to be the case based on our limited testing, with a considerable performance boost over 1.31.
Good vs. Evil
- Judaism gets some new dynamics and flavor.
- Some historically significant mission trees for Africa
- If you’re into sprites, here is the place to be.
- For European countries, it adds nothing.