Victoria II - Cheat Happens Game Review
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Victoria II
PC

Reviewed on: PC

Developer:
Paradox Interactive
Publisher: Paradox Interactive
Rated: "T" for Teen



CHEATfactor Game Review
by Joe Sinicki

   
   
   
Audio/Visual: 6
Gameplay: 5
Lasting Appeal: 5
Overall: 6
   
CHEATfactor: 6
   
     

It's easy to see that the video game industry has taken a rather casual road in the last few years. It seems that every week countless disposable party or fitness games hit the shelves; and don't even get me started on Facebook gaming. No, I don't care about your farm, your mafia family or your frontier (so stop sending me the requests).

Victoria II is a different sort of beat though. The sequel to 2003's Victoria: An Empire Under the Sun, the latest grand strategy game from genre standouts Paradox gaming has such a steep learning curve that's it could scare away new comers to the medium - but it also has one of the most rewarding and deep experiences I've had in recent years.

The story of Victoria II is a complicated and interesting one, both inside and out of the game. You see, when the game was first envisioned, not all were behind it, several members of Paradox Interactive's team thought the game would be a success, but the company's CEO publicly stated that he didn't believe that the title would be able to make a profit. After a vote on the company's forums went in favor of releasing the CEO said that if he was proven wrong he's shave his head for all of the world to see. On the actual gaming side of things, Victoria II charges players with the task of controlling a country from the 1830s to the very beginning of World War II. Now, any history buff will tell you that this period was pretty short on actual conflict (at least on the global scale), so much of the game is spent beefing up your country's diplomacy, and economic aspects as opposed to focusing on combat.

"There's a ton of replay value here..."

 
   

There's an impressive selection of countries to choose from in Victoria II (there's even some cool treats for history buffs to - you can play as the nation of Texas), and which you choose determines just how your experience will play out. For instance, picking a giant and thriving nation will prove to be a tougher task than playing as a smaller nation just getting under way. The easiest thing to do is pick a nation somewhere in the middle of the spectrum - it's got to be small, and not one of the world's powers, but it's also got to be able to support itself and make its own way. There's a ton of replay value here, and it's incredibly rewarding in different ways to take your country to new economic heights.

To be successful in Victoria II is no easy task though. You'll have to worry about everything from your budget, to the politics of your nation and even managing the technology sprouting from it. You're going to want to pay extra special attention to your production and trade factors though, as they're what's going to net you your allies and your enemies. Each country has its own historically accurate enemies when you start (The United Kingdom for instance is allies with everyone smaller than them who don't pose a threat), but you're free to strike up your own alliances as you play. There are other menus, including military; which you'll use later in the game as most countries and politics - which you're more than likely going to use once and then forget it's there.

"For good or bad, you're going to be spending a lot of trial and error time with Victoria II."

 
   

Now, about that learning curve. Victoria II is a very menu heavy experience, and you're sure to get lost in them if you don't know exactly what you're doing or where you're going. In fact, when first playing, I made several key errors that led to a rather horrid country of the Netherlands and a restart. Combine this with the fact that the tutorial has you doing a lot of watching as opposed to doing and you can see where this is going - things are about to get complicated. It's like watching a how to movie and then being asked to perform a daunting task perfectly from memory right after. For good or bad, you're going to be spending a lot of trial and error time with Victoria II.

Just what makes Victoria II different from other strategy games? First, the AI is so smart sometimes it's scary, and second, it's incredibly realistic, if you go in playing lil' dictator, trying to take over other nations at every turn, you're going to piss off a lot of people, and other countries are going to refuse to do business with you, or worse - attack you. Another cool thing about the game's mechanics is that when you do attack someone, you've got to choose just what you're going for. Gold? Technology? The land?

For what it's worth, Victoria II is a one hell of a strategy game, but it's also one hell of an endeavor. While undertaking the game's complicated interface and gameplay can prove daunting for most, those who stick with it won't be disappointed. Whether rewriting history or re-enacting it, Victoria II is a worthy investment for sure. 

 

CHEATfactor

CHEATS USED: Add Money, Fast Research, Unlock Research, Fast Expansion

The trainer for Victoria II from CheatHappens is sort of like having the best army, scientists and researchers in your country. Using the cheats included, turning a small river country into a world power just got easier. There's cheats for adding money, fast research and unlocking new levels of research, but the coolest cheat is the Fast Expansion cheat -- come on! It's everything wrapped up in a neat little package.

 

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