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On Site Mini-Review: For the Glory

December 11th, 2009 by Troy Goodfellow · 9 Comments · Paradox, Review

I’ve been dithering on commenting about For the Glory, the fan made pseudo-expansion to Europa Universalis 2. It has new graphics, including a greater variety of sprites and map modes, and makes good use of the alert tabs that Paradox introduced in EU3. But when you pay your twenty dollars for it, you are essentially buying smoother integration of two popular mods – The Alternative Grand Campaign Event Exchange Project and the Age of Timur.

The latter mod is in many ways the more modest. It adjusts the start date and gives you lots of new nations to choose from. You also get to play Timur – the great Central Asian conqueror who is near the end of his reign in EU3.

The real meat is in the AGCEEP, which take a very different design philosophy from the current Paradox model. EU2 was always chained to history to some extent. Monarch and leader lists were fixed to an historical chronology and events would pop up to either keep you on the straight and narrow historical path or give you an alternative history.

Imagine that those event pop-ups happened to you every three years and they asked you to make decisions that didn’t really make sense outside of the real historical context. For example, your English Henry V obliterates and vassalizes of France and is still sitting in Paris with a huge army. Then an event asks you if you want to give a bunch of these provinces to your Burgundian friends – say no and everything goes to hell.

It would be stretching it to say that the AGCEEP forces you down an historical path. Events link across nations in some interesting ways and the alternative histories it draws are actually quite intricate. But this is an event driven game in ways that the new EU games are not. Events are not there to entertain the player or give variety or goals to aim for – the events exist to make you feel you are living a textbook, that you are the guiding spirit of a nation with a destiny you are either simpatico with or struggling against. The events, both historical and original, are creative and interesting and attractive in a very unique way.

In many ways, AGCEEP is one of those “Let’s Add More” mods. To compare, the largest event file in the default EU2 game is the 210 kb random event file. AGCEEP has a 1.8 MB event file for the Holy Roman Empire and most of those events are there to cover almost every possible contingency for the abolition or restoration of the HRE.

So much work has gone into the Timur setting and AGCEEP mods that I sort of regret not being able to return to EU2 with any great joy. I’ve moved past the event driven history that both embrace because EU3, at least since In Nomine, has found ways to make me feel more attached to the national histories I write even as it doesn’t ask me to choose to between a constitutional monarchy and a radical revolution in 1789 France or combat Hussite and Lollard heretics or applaud the rise of an historically awesome ruler like Akbar.

If you were a fan of the historical events, the real question is whether it is worth the 20 dollars to have smoother mod integration with the main program. One of the problems with the EU games pre-EU3 was that there was a wide range of mods and each one pretty much needed a unique installation. The mod functionality here is the big asset, since you can get both the AGCEEP and Timur mods for free on the official forums.

That’s a decision for each individual gamer. As much as I enjoyed looking at the greater variety in unit sprites and applaud some of the new religious stuff in For the Glory’s mod additions, I’ve moved past EU2 – still one of my favorite games ever, but superseded by its sequel.


9 Comments so far ↓

  • James Allen

    I agree: going back to EU2 is painful, especially if you have played EU3 with the newest expansion that comes out Tuesday (Heir to the Throne) that adds ruler succession with dynasties and purposeful wars with specific goals.

  • Strategos' Risk

    I’m fine with not having gone to EU3 in the first place, since Paradox hates Intel Chipsets, and my laptop which was new in 2006 was unable to play a game that is only slightly more graphics-intensive then bloody Risk.

  • Vakros

    EUIII has such a hideous map I could never embrace it — I’m so grateful for ‘For the Glory’ for making EUII playable at higher resolutions. Until Paradox goes back to nice looking 2D maps this is the strat game I’m sticking with.

  • Oak

    Vakros, there are a couple of EUIII graphical mods you may want to give a try:

    Strannik’s HandDrawn Map

    Pishtaco’s Theatrum Orbis Terrarum

    Both give the map a lovely hand-made look. I especially like the muted colors of TOT.

    (Sorry, wasn’t sure how to make html links here)

  • Railick

    For the Glory and Arsenal of Democracy for me are two master strokes for Paradox.

    It makes perfect senese; we all know Paradox loves pie charts. They’re sitting there looking at their player base pie chart and it says 50% love EU 2 and HOI2 and 50% love EU3 and HOI3 (okay maybe not 50% for HOI3 you get the idea)

    Paradox knows pumping out new expansions for EU3 will get them money but they ALSO know release For the Glory will get them money from people who hate the very idea of EU3 and it panders directly to them. In the process they share their profit with the modders who made their game so popular over the long haul in the first place. It is a genius business decision in every way. The exact opposite of what Valve did with L4D2.

    Paradox has created a sequel to their game without replacing their existing game, much like EQ2 does not replace EQ1, thus they can get money from BOTH titles, each selling to a person who wouldn’t buy the other. The same goes for HOI2 and HOI3 players. There are those waiting for Arsenal of Democracy (Which may already be out I don’t recall) who would never pay for HOI3. Better yet there are bitter people who HAVE already got HOI3 and have decided HOI2 is better so they’re going to run out and get this game when it comes out as well, double sale! (you just sold some dude your new game and your old game, well done!)

    Now Paradox buys AGEOD , another master stroke. They take another hardcore strategy game dev like themselves and snap them up increasing their street cred even further! On top of that they have their own digital distribution platform so they can publish their own games.

    It’s a small wonder Paradox makes such good strategy games that simulate complex economy models, they have a good grasp on how to work real world economies their success is evidence of that. This is one reason I’m sure HOI3 will be patched into near perfection over time, they don’t want to ruin their already extremely good reputation, as any EU3 player knows reputation is the key to getting what you want ;)

  • Natus

    So, very late to the Paradox party, but I’m getting the idea that if you have EU3, you don’t even need to venture into EU2. One of my many resolutions of 2010 is to conquer my Paradox fear. Which is silly, because thyese are exactly the sort of games that should appeal to me.

  • Troy

    Well, I can’t go back to EU2 (though I did over the holidays because it ran on my netbook.) Other people like it more than EU3 for a variety of reasons.

    If you want the most interesting and deep and varied experience, EU3 is what you want. If you want the pageant of history, with the 30 Years War and the French Revolution and Peter the Great, you might like EU2. (Or you can start an EU3 game at your favorite date, since you can begin a campaign any time in the period.)

  • James Allen

    Of course, there are mods (Magna Mundi, to be specific) that give EU3 a more historical flavor. So really there’s no reason to go back to EU2, at least in my opinion. The latest EU3 expansion (Heir to the Throne) makes it a very complete game (here’s why).
    Paradox games are tough to get in to, but once you do, they are quite rewarding. I think EU3 is the most approachable of the lot, which isn’t really saying much, though.
    Now, if France and Austria would only leave Great Britain alone and let me colonize India, everything would be fine ;)

  • Troy

    In my current game as Britain there is no France and Austria is Vienna and a couple of Spanish provinces. Bohemia and Holland are the problems on the continent, and I have no issues colony wise at all.