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Europa Universalis Rome: Vae Victis

Score: 88%
ESRB: Everyone 10+
Publisher: Paradox Interactive
Developer: Paradox Interactive
Media: Download/1
Players: 1
Genre: Real-Time Strategy/ Strategy

Graphics & Sound:

I like history. It does make me chuckle a little when you have an honest conversation about history games. The honest fact is that most of them are better titled revisionist history games. The South did not win the Civil War, no matter how many times you play on Easy mode. I do have great respect for the games that take the time and the serious approach to make their titles more like history simulations. With the Europa Universalis: Rome expansion, Vae Victis, they have taken some great steps towards making a great simulation of the socio-political moves during the high times of the Roman Empire.

There were some changes to the heads-up display and the User Interface, but overall, it still has the same attention to detail as the original. I was already good with the HUD and the UI, but better is always good. You can quickly see new aspects of your character's life as you progress through the game.

The music is just as epic and melodic as it was before. I had forgotten all of the harp string and pan flute music. I can still picture being fed the grapes. But hey, I digress. I would say that everything I need from the sound effects is still there.


Vae Victis comes from an interesting point in Rome's history. In 387 B.C., Brennus attacked and then held Rome for three months. In what could be a Roman ideology, they offered a ransom. Brennus asked for his weight in gold. When the scales were set, it took nearly a thousand pounds of gold to true the scales. Obviously far more than Brennus's weight. When the Romans complained of the obviously rigged scales, Brennus tossed his sword onto the scales and exclaimed "Vae Victis." The Latin term is most commonly translated to "Woe to the vanquished" or also "Woe to the conquered." Basically those who have been conquered had no right or place to complain of their situation. It took even more gold to true the scales again.

Vae Victis is seamlessly integrated into the original game. There is no harsh line of distinction between the two. Whereas this is always nice for the player, with seamless game integration, it can make comparing the two very difficult. The social implications of this expansion are as epic as the game itself. Citizens of this historical macrocosm will actually begin to take on their own paths in their world. At first, I felt like they were doing nothing but fighting with one another. Then I remembered they were supposed to be humans.

In most "God" games, you sit at the top and look down. Your word is final. You are, after all, Caesar. The Senate function in this game does a great job of tapping you on the shoulder and saying, "Hey! Knock it off," or "I don't think so." Your social party will play a huge part in the direction in which you take your empire. You now have to bend the Senate to your will along with the people. Otherwise, you will find laws that have been placed by the Senate that prevent you from getting your way.

Expect to be receiving many orders and challenges from this Senate. They go even further with Tribes and nobles setting their own courts and laws. You will need to rally them to your aid as well. They are not all out to get you. A good Caesar will move the Senate to pass laws and decrees that will allow you to rule your empire. If you cannot balance all of the characters in play with the Senate, courts, and conspirators, you may find yourself with the dagger in your back uttering, "Et tu, Brutus?"


Vae Victis lies just as much as the original game. We still have completely different opinions of Easy and Hard. I like to be challenged, and I do not mind learning from failure. What is important, and what this game did for me, was that I always knew why I failed. I didn't have unexpected issues just pop up and over run me. Now with the Senate features, you have an even clearer picture of what is happening in your nation, where it is happening, and who is doing it. You have many options on how to deal with your problems, which are usually caused by others plotting for your job, but what the Senate will allow is going to guide your decisions. I wish I could say these were easy decisions, but in fact they are quite difficult. Good luck.

Game Mechanics:

My chief complaint about the Europa Universalis: Rome experience was its A.I. I could be accused of not being entirely happy about the A.I. in most games, but I have to nod when I see a huge improvement in the way it works. The developers of Vae Victis have spent their time wisely improving the A.I. and improving the experience of battle. It always annoyed me to see that random A.I. NPC's would wander around aimlessly trying to get into formation. I ramble; the battles look better and the A.I. just looks cleaner.

I love the fact that you can now follow the prominent characters of the missions as they grow, develop, and raise their families. See their lives unfold right down to their having kids and gaining prominence. It adds that connective nature to the RTS genre that makes you keep characters alive. Increased control and less macro-management is provided by the Governors having larger areas of control and influence.

What can I say? A good game made better. I know this is always the goal of an expansion, but not always the effect. If you were on the fence about playing this game before, then this expansion should bring you down. This is still a very intense game. There are no light and fluffy bits. I urge everyone to look at what they have done, but also caution them that this is a hearty game. Be prepared to learn still. You will not be able to help it. See what you can remake of history.

-WUMPUSJAGGER, GameVortex Communications
AKA Bryon Lloyd

Minimum System Requirements:

Microsoft Windows XP/2000, 1.9 Ghz Intel Pentium or similar AMD, 512mb RAM, Direct X 9.0c Compatible Video Card with at Least 128MB and Support for Pixelshader 2.0

Test System:

Dell XPS DXP061, XP Pro, Intel Core Quad, 2GB Ram, Gforce 8800GTX

Windows Legendary Sony PlayStation 3 Pro Evolution Soccer 2009

Game Vortex :: PSIllustrated