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EU3 In Nomine First Impressions

May 29th, 2008 by Troy Goodfellow · 8 Comments · Paradox, Review

Holy crap this is good.

Let’s preface this by saying that I enjoy Europa Universalis 3. It wasn’t as fresh as EU2 or as captivating as Crusader Kings. But it was an attractive, stable and often enjoyable coast through history. My big problems were connected to how colorless it was. Every major nation was subtly encouraged to follow the same strategy time in and time out, so England and Austria and Aragon were more names on the map than anything else.

And, to be honest, there is still a lot of that in In Nomine, the newest expansion. Though some of the missions and decisions are particular to a single nation (only Castile can “form Spain”, only Portugal gets “discover the Azores”, etc.) more of them are generic “royal marriage with X” or “conquer Y.”

But because these generic missions are random with a nice little reward (if your mission is to conquer a province, it will become a core province, for example) there is a built in pressure to complete them, steering your nation in a direction it might not have gone if you had faced other missions.

Because the game is about choice, you can ignore the missions if you like. They add color and direction to what was otherwise an aimless sandbox, a race to global domination that pushed you in the same direction. They serve the role of the Senate and Papal missions in the recent Total War games, asking you to make nice or make war with your neighbors offering you a cookie for your troubles.

The changes to the missionary and colonial systems are brilliant. Religious conversion, for example, is now a matter of placing a missionary and waiting. The priest sucks up a little bit of cash and dramatically increases the revolt risk while he’s at work, and you could wait decades for anything to come of it. But it’s a damned sight better than the micromanaging of spending hundreds of ducats on a missionary who has a 25 per cent chance of success and then fighting the rebels that spawn when he fails. And doing that again and again. It also means that you don’t have to stay near the narrowminded end of the spectrum all the time just to make sure you have enough missionaries to convert a small heathen empire.

The rebellion system is great. You can see it in action around the world as rebels force overlords to recognize their independence or the tribal states of Central Asia fall apart in pretender wars. They are more of a threat now, even to the human player, meaning that you can’t just dial down the maintenance for your army if there is a chance of the Welsh proving to be a nuisance.

There are some problems. I don’t think it was a good idea to remove the stability hit for declaring war on a different religious group (Christian, Muslim, Eastern, Pagan). Though this makes sense historically, it also gives a great territorial bonus to anyone lucky enough to live on the edge of Christendom or the Ummah. And few of the new advisors really bring anything to the table; if I don’t have many loans, why would I bother with somebody who can reduce my interest payments? The tribal states fall apart a bit too quickly and easily, I think. Though it’s nice to see the Golden Horde struggle for once, the constant succession crises these nations face throws them onto the “why bother playing these guys?” heap with the Creek and Huron.

Still, this is a major, major improvement in the game. Considering how unimpressed I am with Rome, kudos to Paradox for bringing me back and getting me hooked again. And just when I had a lot of work to do.


8 Comments so far ↓

  • James Allen

    Yeah, In Nomine is awesome.

  • Scott R. Krol

    Wait, a Paradox title that doesn’t need a dozen patches right out of the box and actually works as intended? ;)

  • Troy

    Well, Scott, this is an expansion pack that fixes a lot of things they should have done the first time around.

    Think of it as a mega patch.

  • Jason Lefkowitz

    Think of it as a mega patch.</blockquote

    A mega patch that costs $20. Oh wait, really it costs $40 because you can’t run it unless you’ve installed the previous $20 mega patch first.

    I’m really intrigued by all the raves In Nomine is getting but the idea of paying $40 to expand a game I already paid $50 is kind of off-putting. At a minimum I wish they would offer some kind of bundle discount on In Nomine & Napoleon’s Ambition for those of use who would skip NA if it wasn’t required for IN.

  • Jason Lefkowitz

    Dangit. Missed a closing bracket there. Sorry about that!

  • Mark L

    I totally agree. I am having an absolute blast with this expansion- I especially love the changes to rebels and the mission goals. Both are excellent additions to the system. Watch out for the Defender of the HRE, though! Bohemia had their eyes absolutely fixed on my innocent little Venice…we couldn’t get away with nothin’!

  • Tzeraph

    Ok, I agree that some changes are good, but mostly, I feel that the game works against the player a wee bit too much.

    It is almost plain impossible to win a war, because somehow, the enemy always can afford to raise a three times larger army than you can do, even if you played them and know that they cant possibly rise such an army without taking loan after loan after loan.

    Altough, As I said, there are some improvements, such as the missionary system (love the changes there). Also, the different states seem a little more active in this patch, and you will almost always noice when someone is about to start a war against you.

    What I dislike most is the feeling I get from this patch; “it is hopeles, the other states will always win, if you aren’t incredibly lucky for once”. Oh, and the fact that you cant invade Venice since they seem to be able to block a land invasion with their fleet somehow… :)

    Just a few thoughts to level all the positive critique above ;)

  • joe

    Yeah I also had that impression that “somehow, the enemy always can afford to raise a three times larger army than you can do”. To do this, they’d have to rack up inflation like crazy, and this is usually not the case. So one can’t help but wonder: “Where does all the money come from” :)
    However, I’ve been playing EU3IN for like 2 months now and am kinda used to it – actually knowing that the enemy is stronger adds to the excitement of the game, at least that’s how I view it by now. One neat trick I’ve seen quite a few guys use on the web is mass up inflation in the beginning, build a large army, expand, move towards centralization, hire an adviser reducing inflation (or two) – that’s a new feature in IN, let inflation subside over a coupla decades, back to the expand part : )
    As a whole, IN is a huge improvement over the vanilla version – things are a lot more balanced now…
    Now, if I could only just stop those Austrians from becoming all-powerful…arrrghh – anyone else notice that the Austrian empire becomes really formidable towards the mid-17th century? They usually annex Bohemia, Hungary, most of Poland and Germany, all of the Ottomans by that time, have a huge economy and army and are virtually unstoppable.