Victoria: An Empire Under the Sun
|Victoria: An Empire Under the Sun|
|Platform(s)||Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X|
Victoria: An Empire Under the Sun is a grand strategy game by Paradox Entertainment (now known as Paradox Interactive), released in 2003. It covers primarily its namesake the Victorian period (1837-1901) and beyond, specifically 1836-1920 for the main game, and extended until 1936 if the expansion is installed. The game runs on a modified version of the Europa Universalis engine, and the lead game programmer was Johan Andersson. It was later ported to Macintosh by Virtual Programming.
Unlike previous Paradox Games, which either focused on diplomacy or war, Victoria focuses on internal management, covering the industrialization and social/political changes in a country. The game itself gives a lot of importance to the economy of a country, having a complex market system which is described as being one of the best economic simulators ever made. Fans of Paradox's games have noted this one for being the deepest game Paradox had yet made, making it quite popular with the Paradox fanbase. However, Victoria received largely indifferent reviews on release, averaging only 60.4% on GameRankings. Critics cited reasons such as the game's steep learning curve and its relatively dated graphics. A sequel, Victoria II was released in August 2010.
The economic system in Victoria attempts to simulate the flow of resources in a world market. Every province in the game produces a resource. Some resources, such as wheat, are demanded principally by POPs (population units), and can be sold directly. Other materials, such as timber, are consumed mostly by industry - but can nonetheless be sold directly for less profit. The player possesses a wide range of options with which to build their economy, provided they have access to the proper raw materials. All resources can be collected or produced by industry. They can also be acquired on the world market. Access to the world market is granted based on a country's prestige rating.
Victoria has 47 separate resources, produced by collection or production (or in one case both). The game focuses on industrialization in a country, which is driven by technological research. The acquisition of machine parts is crucial to industrialization, as they are needed to build factories.
Diplomacy is managed bilaterally; nations can engage in diplomacy using a variable yearly supply of diplomats, offering various treaties and entreaties to other states. Players can use money to improve relations with the other powers; offer to negotiate for technology, territory, colonial claims, and money; sign pacts of unilateral or mutual defense or full alliances; demand the cessation of colonization of certain areas; and, if all other efforts fail, declare war.
Warfare in Victoria is a special circumstance of diplomacy wherein two players attempt to invade one another's (national or colonial, depending on the war) territory. It is abstract, and consists of divisions marching to hostile territory and fighting a hands-off battle that the player has no control over save by sending reinforcements or withdrawing. Combat efficiency, however, can be influenced decisively by the player. Appointing generals or admirals influences the morale and organization of the troops, as do technological improvements. An advanced railroad system in a province grants the province's owner bonuses in combat, as well as increased mobility. Provinces can also be fortified and troops will entrench when left alone long enough, both giving enormous combat benefits.
The ultimate objectives in warfare is dramatically different from those of other strategy games: it is generally very difficult to do severe damage to an enemy's economy in a single war, occupied territory is only temporarily in the hands of the occupier, and post-war territorial gains are generally modest and difficult to subdue. However, there are other conditions to peace such as War Indemnities and Humiliation.
Declaring war or seizing provinces from civilized countries without pre-existing claims makes diplomacy more difficult and can eventually lead to preemptive war from other powers. Warmongers tend to discover themselves radically isolated from the rest of the world and forced to engage in warfare almost continuously, which can lead to neglect of industry and prestige.
Military units in Victoria are divided into two types: land and naval. Land units fight against enemy land units, and can occupy enemy provinces. They are the key to military supremacy. Naval units provide a more supportive role; bombarding enemy land units and fighting sea battles. Some naval units can also transport land units.
Victoria got mostly mixed reviews from critics. GameSpot commented on its "wonderful depth" and "great alternate-history ambiance." However, GameSpot commented that the game was "more work than play," citing its steep learning curve and overall scope of options. IGN commented that the game had unique potential, but was crushed by its "bugginess" and lack of tutorial. Barry Brenesal ended his IGN review, explaining, "There's an excellent game struggling to surface in Victoria, and I look forward to playing it just as soon as the requisite patches appear. Now would some kindly soul please create an accurate, intelligent manual for the game?"
- "Victoria: An Empire Under the Sun (PC) on Metacritic". Metacritic. Retrieved 2012-10-07.
- Todd, Brett, (December 4, 2003). "Victoria: An Empire Under the Sun Review". GameSpot. Retrieved 7 October 2012.
- Chandra, Omeed. "Victoria: An Empire Under the Sun". PC Gamer US. Archived from the original on October 18, 2006.
- Luo, Di (March 1, 2004). "Victoria: An Empire Under the Sun". Computer Gaming World. Archived from the original on May 31, 2004.
- Goodfellow, Troy S. "Lost on the Road to Mandalay". Computer Games Magazine (161). Archived from the original on November 29, 2011.