This Victoria 3 review covers the third installment in a series that a lot of people have been eagerly waiting for a long long time. And after more than a decade of waiting, fans of the series can finally rejoice. This brand new grand strategy game developed by Paradox Development Studio is available now on PC.
As some of you may be aware, the title is about building your ideal society. You can start off as any of the100 nations that existed during the Victorian era, and work towards turning your vision into a reality. There are a lot of tiny factors that affect how your game plays out, including the nation you pick, as well as what laws, resources, technologies, etc you start off with.
And here’s the thing, the title has just been released and the general consensus seems to be mixed. Die-hard fans of the franchise seem to be thankful for a sequel, but no one is going to be lenient with the flaws that it has.
Story And Setting
The game is set during the Victorian Era, in the reformative 19th century. The political and geographical situation of the world at that time are portrayed realistically in the game, with Great Britain and the Victorian Empire at the center of the world. The story that unfolds is largely dependent on the moves that you make.
Which nation comes out on top, which nation turns into a colony of the other, which nations have good relations with each other, and which nations are at war? The ideal society that a player wants to achieve dictates all of these things, and each and every single one of your actions plays a role in seeing that goal come true.
There is no hard and fast narrative in the game though since the story isn’t the main drawing point for Victoria 3. Instead, it is the gameplay that attracts players, and how you create your own narratives.
Victoria 3 features a wide array of mechanics that make it seem complex on the surface. And while It’s true that these mechanics are intricate and highly detailed, they are not so complex that you cannot pick them up over time. The gameplay loop is highly addicting once you figure out what to do, so let us go over some of these mechanics briefly so that you can better understand the experience.
The main goal revolves around managing your population or pops as the game refers to them. A nation is made up of multiple different groups of pops, each of which may have a different ideology. The player’s job is to satisfy the interest groups that best align with their own ideology and to achieve this, various laws can be passed and certain policy changes can be made. This will make you favorable in the eyes of certain interest groups and they will help you in running the government.
Players can construct various buildings in their nations that affect their pops as well, like creating various job opportunities and also opening up some technology paths that we will touch upon later. These factors decide the standard of living of the pops, which in turn decides how strong your nation will be overall. All of these intricate systems are linked with each other, creating a sense of realism in the game.
The technology trees mentioned earlier serve as a map for technological advancements in the game. What’s more is that the players can unlock certain technologies which dictate their progress in other fields as well, for example, they can unlock technologies related to warfare that would strengthen their armed forces in particular situations.
Speaking of warfare, Victoria 3 has an extensive warfare and diplomatic system. When players fail to achieve their goals through diplomatic means, a war can be started to achieve them instead. The outcome of a conflict depends on many factors like the monetary situation of your nation, as well as the public sentiments in the nation. Of course, the strength of your armed forces matters a lot as well.
These systems have been carefully implemented into the game but one cannot help but feel that they are unpolished right now. Take the warfare system for example. When a war breaks out, the AI fights the war on its own. This wouldn’t be a problem if the AI was good at it, but that is not the case. The game makes stupid decisions for no reason, which might ruin your run altogether, which is honestly par for the course for Paradox games so early at launch.
Another flaw when it comes to the AI is the auto-expansion of buildings. The game is really bad at deciding when to expand and when not to, so much so that players have dedicated mods that mitigate this issue. Similarly, there is no way to predict how a diplomatic move will play out, as the AI decides a lot of them on its own seemingly at random.
The UI also doesn’t do Victoria 3 any favors, but we’ll discuss that in the next section of our review.
Visuals And Performance
Visually, the game is acceptable, to say the least. As we mentioned earlier, there are a lot of issues with the UI, and a lot of the important information is hidden beneath layers and layers of text, most of which come in the form of tips alone. For a new player, these things can get very frustrating very quickly. The game doesn’t even tell you some really important information like battalions needing manpower, all because of the interface. Everything is hidden behind a cascade of menus which makes the experience infuriating.
Additionally, the art direction in the game can seem questionable as well. An example of this is the clouds on the screen when you zoom out a bit. These get in the way of what you actually want to see and block off important information. This was such an issue for some players that there are also mods out now to remove these as well. If your game needs to rely on mods to look good, one could say that it doesn’t look good to begin with.
Performance wise there haven’t been any issues. The game runs great even on relatively older GPUs like the AMD Radeon RX 480 that we tested it on. We also haven’t encountered any bugs during our playthrough of the game, apart from maybe one crash when starting up the game.
Victoria 3 is a long-awaited sequel that was awaited by fans for so long that its existence was almost a meme within the community. Any mention of the word ‘three’ by the developers was taken as a hint that the game was coming out soon. And although expectations were high, Paradox still managed to make a game that could succeed in their massively popular Victoria franchise.
But the game is an absolute treat for fans if they can easily overlook the many flaws it has at launch, and most of us were probably expecting this anyway. The same however cannot be said for new players.
If you are new to the series, Victoria 3 might prove to be a difficult starting point. Along with the unpleasant UI, and the unpredictable AI, the gameplay experience is a mixed bag in general. You should try the game out if you are a hardcore fan of the genre or other Paradox games, but if you are completely new, then tread with caution.
This has been our Victoria 3 Review. While you’re here, consider checking out some of our other articles.
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Victoria 3 Review
- Story And Setting
- Visuals And Performance
Victoria 3 is an absolute treat for fans if they can easily overlook the many flaws it has at launch, but most of us were probably expecting this anyway. The same however cannot be said for new players who will be in for a rough beginning.
- In-Depth Mechanics.
- Wide Array Of Possibilities.
- Addictive Gameplay Cycle.
- Bad UI Design.
- Problematic AI.