Europa Universalis IV: Mare Nostrum (PC) Review

By Ian Soltes 05.05.2016

Review for Europa Universalis IV: Mare Nostrum on PC

Europa Universalis IV has quite a history behind it. Few games can boast 8 expansions even counting minor things, yet EU4 has now hit that number. Focusing almost entirely on refining the various ship-focused options, this expansion feels just like what it is: an expansion.

It's pretty straightforward, really. Up until now, the naval aspects of EU4 have been fairly simplistic and underwhelming. Missions could be assigned and ships positioned, but some depth was simply lacking. Now, with this expansion, various new options have been added. For example, now missions need to be assigned directly instead of by providing vague notions or moving a ship to a specific spot. While this does limit the viable options somewhat, it also adds a bit more strategic depth to the naval combat system.

In addition, the espionage aspect has been greatly improved and reworked with more defined outcomes and plans, as well as the option to outright steal a nation's map, making uncovering the map (previously a potentially annoying chore) far easier to do, resulting in some smoother gameplay. Likewise, the options to attempt to reduce enemy trade power, increase corruption, and sabotage recruitment capabilities add some much needed depth to the espionage mechanics.

Screenshot for Europa Universalis IV: Mare Nostrum on PC

Perhaps most useful of all, however, is the ability to rent out armies to other nations for a bit of cash. No longer will unneeded armies just sit around unused, waiting for a call to arms that may never come. Instead, they can now be lent to other nations to line the coffers a bit while helping out allies in their own personal military battles. With a sufficiently large or advanced army, this can allow a war to be tipped without actually getting involved in it.

The real question, however, is if this is a 'true' expansion or, instead, merely a very large patch that costs some money. Sadly, the answer is the latter. Nothing in this expansion really feels like a stand-out addition that simply couldn't be done in a prior version of the game. There are no new civilizations to play as, lands to explore, or massive overhauls to the game's mechanics. Instead, it's a refinement to the naval combat system and spying functions, with another unique mechanic tossed in. Ultimately, it feels more like a large patch than a full expansion.

Screenshot for Europa Universalis IV: Mare Nostrum on PC

Cubed3 Rating

5/10
Rated 5 out of 10

Average

It feels so wrong to give expansions scores like this. Not because they don't deserve it, but because it calls into question if they really are 'expansions'. While it does change some of the mechanics, playing without it will be unlikely to elicit many noticeable differences for players who don't dabble in the ocean or spying. Even for those who do, the amount of depth may simply not be enough to merit a high score. While it's certainly not 'bad', it's also not 'good', and is more like 'just there'. Our seas aren't that deep it seems, though not quite that shallow either.

Developer

Paradox Development Studio

Publisher

Paradox Interactive

Genre

Strategy

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  5/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date None   Australian release date Out now   

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