Victoria 3 is the new grand strategy from Paradox | Review

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Aina Prat Blasi
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After years of anxious waiting, Paradox Interactive has finally released Victoria 3, impressive sequel of the great strategy dedicated, nomen omen, to the Victorian period.
Victoria 2 it concentrated on the period 1835 – 1935, following a period that was as “short” (historically speaking) as it was convulsive as regards the renewal of the social, political and technological fabrics of Man.

Victoria 3

Victoria 3, The return of the legendary “Victoria”

The object of second chapter was to rejuvenate and bring the public closer to the saga, which started with a title considered by many to be too difficult - the same producer Johan Andersson defined the game interface as "forgotten by God". Personally Victoria 2 it was not who knows what a great revolution for the user's experience, which certainly improved the total incomprehensibility of the previous one, but it didn't move the perception of users much. To date, in fact, without arrogating me to be a know-it-all, I believe that in the ranking of the last ones paradox in order of difficulty, Victoria 2 is at the top of the list, with any doubts about Europe Universalis IV (which, however, has a much more accessible interface).

The challenge of this Victoria 3 therefore, net of having to present a product of great depth and complexity as always for i great strategy of the Swedish house, was to better manage UI and UX, while trying not to debase the game. A rather difficult challenge, despite the enormous progress made with Hearts of Iron 4 - perhaps the first truly usable for everyone, without prejudice to the need to study its gameplay - and Crusader King 3 (which however remains more a yes what a grand strategy).

Victoria 3

A social simulator

The product starts with a tutorial slow, dare I say slow. A slowness, however, necessary for the player who is fasting on wide-ranging strategies to settle in, who would find himself hopelessly lost in front of the mass gargantuan of data, notions and concepts to be assimilated. For the first run, even though I'm not really a beginner, I decided to follow the path guided by the tutorial in all respects, choosing one of the recommended countries (the Belgium, for greater accuracy). The title is set in the time frame that goes from 1836 to 1936 - I asked myself why move the game time by just one year compared to the previous one, but I couldn't find an answer - mainly focusing on the business, production and social policies. Although the nineteenth century was not exactly a peaceful century, Victoria 3 it has a clear focus on the political management of its nation, rather than the military one. The tutorial itself, which, as I have already said, takes a very long time, introduces the warlike theme much later than one would expect, to reiterate the fact that in Victoria 3 beating hands is almost secondary.

Victoria 3

I find that explaining a game like that complex is really a thankless task, so I prefer to focus on some of the most impactful aspects of the Victoria 3 experience, without having to rattle off the (infinite) list of features and dynamics available to the user. The first concept to master is that of the different types of groups social (POPS), each with different needs, different demographic, economic and political weight, as well as linked to the many special events that can take place during the game. Some of these events are closely linked to historic events (national and international), while others are drawn from a random pool and can therefore recur several times. The choices of player they directly or indirectly influence the evolution of POPS, helping them to grow within the political game or vice versa. The task is to keep everyone "good" a bit and to convey the most comfortable social fringes for our strategic choices.

In this sense, my dispassionate advice, once the tutorial is finished, is to have a long-term game plan, aiming to develop and "win" the game by following a path studied in advance. In Victoria 3 it is difficult to predict everything, of course, but it is still good to be ready and avoid navigating by sight. The POPS are then linked to the different choices that our nation, and its government, can take on the most diverse topics - just to name a few: freedom of the press, working methods, military conscription and so on. Every choice, every setting, every single element of state administration contributes to both annoy or help the various representatives of POP extension, and to purchase certain bonuses and malus. There is no "correct" way to manage the state, or in any case there is not necessarily a right and a wrong way: the important thing is to keep an eye on the fundamental resources (money, food, diplomatic strength, manpower) and internal stability .

Victoria 3

What emerges is a wonderful social simulator, through which the player can convincingly shape his own nation, following the various characteristic guidelines of the historical era in question. But I also have to advise all readers: the disaster is always around the corner and maintaining the delicate balance of one's country may not be within everyone's reach (or in any case, not in the first few games

Many factories and "few" armies

La production industrial, which goes hand in hand with the market economic system, is the second focus of Victoria 3. The structure is not immediately understandable, even if the tutorial is really well done. Basically, build a factory or any other productive activity, is burdened by public spending (the player). From here the life of the business can be managed in a more or less elastic way: with state control, with private control that follows the rules of the market, with more or less advanced production methods, etc. Even in this situation there is no "right" solution, but we must try to adapt the productive engine to the needs of the country at that particular moment. In order to make national industry flourish, there are many direct or indirect expedients, ranging from increasing the demand for our output of reference until the procurement of materials Prime necessary or political maneuvers aimed at improving the import/export balance. If it seems complicated to you, it's because, needless to deny it, it is. However, it is a more than manageable complexity, both thanks to the excellent tutorial and to the renewed game interface, now really full of useful information, without overload input the gamer.

Victoria 3

I left the phase for last military e diplomatic, which I will deal with in less detail but certainly not due to lack of content from the production. The fact is that Victoria 3 was not born with a focus on armed conflict, even though it dedicated itself to a period that was certainly not considered peaceful. However, it remains evident, also in this third chapter, that the greatest facets, the greatest details and the greatest satisfactions are dedicated to the systems described above. However, in an almost shocking way I must say for a Paradox fan, Victoria 3 introduces a system similar to Hearts of Iron 4, with the construction of the war front, the assignment of the same to general (which carries with it a whole series of huge bonuses and malus) and the conduct of long and complex battles. One more reason to appreciate the title, which strives to insert quality content even in the historically "weakest" points. The system diplomatic follows closely, although it is certainly not revolutionary by the standards of the series, especially when one joins coalitions or international alliances, which almost always result in expectations devoid of battles and emotions. Note of merit instead for the management (again) of the population: the reclutamento of the army can in fact also be managed on the basis of the geographical area and the type of POPS involved. Game of strength that, as in reality, the less developed and politically less important classes will be recruited.

Victoria 3

Approaching the end area of review, as always some impressions on the "dress" worn by Victoria 3 for the occasion. An exceptional suit compared to the habits of some Grand Strategy Paradoxes, which will make all players, old and new, happy. First of all the interface: finally a fast, immediate, usable and beautiful to look at system. The level of detail – from the fonts, through the illustrations and animations, to the color palette – is very high and of great impact. Again, together with Hearts of Iron 4 (but beating it by a few lengths), Victoria 3 has an exceptional zoom, which brings the player closer to the point of admiring the evolution of inhabited centers and the transformation of the landscape according to our industrial thrust. The game runs without major problems, albeit with some slowdowns in the most agitated phases. The animations, as already mentioned, are interesting and try to lighten a game system that cannot be defined as lean, not even with this (exceptional) UI. Someone could find the drawings and the illustrations related to different events as monotonous and repetitive, which is partially true but is also a hallmark of games paradox. However, I can assure you that any monotony of the drawings of the events equals the renewed graphics of the characters, now full-length portraits and finally worthy of their respective rendering three-dimensional. If I have to find a flaw, it is perhaps that of the initial loading, a little slower than normal despite the high-end PC and the ever-present SSD. The music worthily accompanies the entire graphic sector, with a classic proposal perhaps not comparable to the "hit" of Civilization, but equally pleasant and designed to follow the flow of the game.

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