Published on February 11th, 2014 | by Tony Odett1
Europa Universalis IV: Conquest of Paradise Review
Summary: Colonial expansion is fully realized and much more exciting in this must have expansion.
Columbus and his small flotilla had been at sea for 4 months. The open water was treacherous, and supplies were running low. If land were not sighted soon, the expedition would have to be scrapped, a failure, both for Columbus and for Spain. But… what’s this? Water birds! Soon, an island appeared in the distance. Columbus soon found himself in the ship’s boat, rowing toward shore. As they beached the craft, he stepped onto the sandy shore, and planted his flag. “I claim this island for Spain. I shall call you… Alabama.”
Europa Universalis IV’s first major expansion, Conquest of Paradise, focuses on moments like these. Conquest of Paradise represents a massive upgrade to the New World exploration and colonial model, allowing for a truer exploration experience, upgrading the colonial experience, and generally adding significant flavor to the gameplay experience in the Western hemisphere. For owners of EUIV, this is a can’t miss addition, broadening the game’s model to encourage a more realistic colonial race.
Previously the game (and the predecessors in the series) utilized the historical placement of New World civilizations and the real-world topography. This meant that if you had any knowledge whatsoever of the Americas, you knew exactly where to go and what to colonize. Conquest of Paradise randomizes the Americas, giving the continents an entirely random geography. The provinces seem to be named randomly, meaning I’ve done things like land on the Atlantic coast of Ohio and discover land-locked Panama. The randomness adds honest-to-God exploration to your scouring of the globe, and is a welcome change.
The second important change is the addition of colonial nations. Instead of giving you core provinces on other continents as they achieved city status, colonies will now form a sort of vassal state that you will manage. These states will have their own armed forces, and behave generally how any other vassal state would behave. You will decide their tariff level, their leadership, and encounter a number of random events that will give the relationship with your colonies the degree of complexity you would any inter-continental nation/vassal connection would have. Mistreat your colonies, and they will desire liberty; increase that desire enough, and they will declare independence. And good luck fighting that war- the colonies are a LONG way from home.
I like the alterations to the colonial model- this feels much more realistic. Countries could not govern with any degree of authority over an ocean where it took three months for communications to circulate. Pushing the relationship to the top level more accurately conveys the circumstances, and also allows the player to focus less on managing new territory and more on commerce, European wars, and the like. This also allows the player to switch out and eventually play as the colony, so if you have a great of re-enacting the American Revolution but wants to start in 1620, the option is there.
Conquest Of Paradise’s final stroke is to add more random events and historical color to the native civilizations of the Western hemisphere. This provides more incentive for trying a playthrough as the Iroquois or Aztecs, as you’ll experience events that are tailored to your particular nation. I always found playing as these nations to be bland, and a little bit like waiting to be executed. But now, they have added unit sprites and color to increase the value of the experience. And maybe, just maybe, your Aztecs can fight those Spanish off and drive them into the sea.
Conquest of Paradise is a must-own expansion for anyone who has Europa Universalis IV. This is the age of colonial expansion, and the alterations to the model are realistic, compelling and make for a fun new experience. Download and explore- the island of Massachusetts awaits!