previews\ Jul 31, 2010 at 8:00 pm

Victoria II preview


Political management and diplomatic decision making await you in Victoria II. Taking cues from games such as Civilization, rather than Age of Empires, Victoria II puts players in the shoes of a monarch, to rule, manage and develop countries.

Victoria II permits players to select any country in the world to control with goal in mind to build up that country over a set period of time, facing certain hardships that are associated to that time period. Each country is populated with people of different needs, beliefs, education, jobs and opinions. The key to success is to manage your population and make sure they are in your favor.

Making decisions that aren’t popular will sway the population against you and ultimately cause a revolution. Choosing the right type of government that fits the needs of the people is important. Employing capitalism for instance creates a stigma that the populace decides on things like prices of trade, how long should work hours be, etc. Going with a Stalinistic regime means the player has control over most of the population, giving power to do things like shut down factories at will, set wages, and more.

Managing things such as trade, and deciding what to research are key components to further development. Taxing people ensures a constant source of income, as well as trading of different resources. Having five different research trees that span from army, to culture and industry, gives the player a choice on how exactly the country should develop.

Concentrating on the army tree for instance enables the construction of more powerful units, building up morale, or raising attack of armies and artillery. The commerce tree on the other hand will concentrate on generating income by establishing banks, raising efficiency of factories, and setting a currency standard.

Having five trees, each containing five categories, and every category being able to advance five times, creates the scenario where players won't be able to become a jack of all trades; rather, it requires the player to think what is best for the country, and for the people.

Countries are constantly trying to become advanced, and sometimes that means taking down those who stand in your way. Unlike strategy games where you build an army and send it to battle immediately, things must be thought through first, and most importantly, they take time.

Battles are as easy as clicking on your army (represented by a soldier on the map) and then right clicking on the enemy army. Everything then happens automatically, and decides the outcome depending on the state of your country and your army. Being prepared for battle however is no easy task, as enemies can invade at any time, and the player must manage each army to ensure they are well equipped, keeping their morale high, and keep them in good health.

Victoria II manages to give players total control, with dozens of options that truly make the player feel the impact of each and every decision. Strategy simulation fans should be on the lookout for Victoria II when it hits store shelves on August 13 -- especially if they have always dreamed of becoming a monarch.

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Mike Splechta GameZone's review copy hoarding D-bag extraordinaire! Follow me @Michael_GZ
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