Paradox Development Studio
Date of Release: 01/14/2014
Europa Universalis IV: Conquest of Paradise Review
Suffering from scurvy, hunger, and desperation, the intrepid explorers aboard my Portuguese flotilla were desperate for landfall on an unseen paradise. Traveling for almost a month straight the toll of deep waters and insufficient supplies had made the prospect of discovery slim. Yet, as the sun mercilessly beat down upon their worn ships, a sailor noticed an odd shape off of the horizon. It beckoned the crew and their ships with sweet breezes of ripe fruit and cool mountain filtered water, and so the ships lurched forward. “I think I see something. I think I see… Paradise” croaked a sickly sailor.
Paradise —well, that’s one way to put it. A jumble of awkward landmasses and snaky islands that have a closer resemblance to splattered spaghetti sauce than to a naturally formed area of land is not the traditional image of paradise. This version of paradise places the Cherokee nation in an arctic wasteland and the Aztec’s on a secluded egg shaped island. You see, this is Europa Universalis IV’s first DLC, Conquest of Paradise. In CoP, players will have the chance to find a totally new and random world — and I mean random. This is the first time that a Paradox Interactive game has let players work and play in a randomly generated land which takes the place of the Americas on our globe. In this new world, the Native tribes will be numerous, their federation’s strong, and the land unforgiving.
The changes that have taken place are nuanced additions to this game already rich in detail. COP and the patch that came out with it, which is free for everyone, added federations, and colonial subjects which are a much needed advancement to the Native American societies. These colonial subjects have unique attitudes and specific needs that change the way they interact with their mother countries. They game also adds some weather tabs and a trading tabs to boot. Although the game title might tempt you to conquer paradise as a native hating, discovery doctrine spouting superpower, you would be missing the best part of COP: the revamped and empowered native tribes and federations.
While you might not be prematurely sailing to Europe with your glorious sunset invasion (which is a new achievement), you might be able to stand up to those European bullies for a little bit longer and with a few more cards up your sleeve. Depending on your preference of native tribes, you might be migrating your people across the land searching for a suitable place to call home. Or, as I did, you might choose an established tribe with more than one territory, like the Creek, and decide to extend your power and benefits to other tribes through the ability of federations. What makes this all the more engaging is the new native council system that works as an early deposit for your monarch points that you will be collecting. This allows you to build Native specific buildings and ideas without having to wait years as you did before. The Native council gives you substantially more power when playing — thanks in part to federations.
Even if you are at war with one of your neighbors, and this will happen often if you want to gain power as small native tribe, you are still bound by your federation granted the federation leader doesn’t kick anyone out before the Europeans discover “new” land. As the federation leader you will be given large bonuses to your army and its upkeep while allowing you to rally all of the nations of the federation to repel foreign invaders, if you so choose. In this the beauty of Europa Universalis lies: Historical and Ahistorical ruminations.
This is why the new random map mode just doesn’t sit well with me. Paradox Interactive games work so well under their historical premise; altering the flow if history to your heart and strategic content. The somewhat sloppy landmasses that make up those randomly generated worlds not only take away from the pleasure of playing these games but it also seems to diminish the role of a Grand Strategy game as well. I don’t want my Paradox games to mimic a Civilization Map, I just don’t. Luckily you can just turn it off. Phew! The most important part of Conquest of Paradise is it’s new focus on colonial powers and native powers. The real fun comes when you can wipe the America’s clean of those pale skinned foreign oppressors.