Europa Universalis 4: Third Rome Impressions: Long On Immersion, A Little Light On Content

Europa Universalis 4: Third Rome Delivers What It Promised
  • Windows
  • Simulator
  • Strategy
Europa Universalis IV: Third Rome Paradox Interactive

Europa Universalis 4: Third Rome is the first of a new kind of DLC for the venerable grand strategy game: instead of a content pack that delivers new features for countries all around the world, it’s an immersion pack, focused heavily on a single country or region and as much about adding flavor as about adding new features. Third Rome is focused on the Russian region and its immediate neighbors, and delivers as promised: For $10, less than a normal DLC, it delivers a significantly ramped-up Russian experience.

Europa Universalis 4: Third Rome Impressions: Lots Of Flavor, Some Content

Europa Universalis IV: Third Rome Photo: Paradox Interactive

To test out the features of Third Rome, I started a new game as Muscovy, and within a few years started playing around with some of the unique features of the expansion. The most immediately obvious are the three new Russian government abilities, common to all the Russian states: Reform Subedik, which reduces Autonomy in all eligible provinces; Support Oprichnina, which decreases the progress of all rebels by 30%; and Raise Streltsky, which raises 20% of your force limit instantly as super-powerful full-morale Streltsky infantry, at a cost of a substantial increase in future stability costs. The beefed-up Cossacks estate, now featuring its own units, is also immediately noticeable.

Early on, the other major feature in Third Rome—besides for the expanded map, which includes about two dozen new provinces in the Russian region, and a handful of new states—is the revamped system of Orthodox authority and the religious Icons that go with them. The authority system for Orthodoxy still seems like it could be fleshed out more as the only way to reliably increase authority is to designate Metropolitans in your provinces, though random events carry you through pretty well. That said, the Icons are incredibly powerful, especially the one that helps Russian states embrace Institutions more quickly.

Russia has a new set of National Ideas, the most important of which is the ability to settle Siberia without colonists. This alone is a game changer that frees up Russia’s ability to embrace other military, economic or technological ideas while still expanding all the way to the Pacific. Any Russian principality can get access to these ideas if it forms Russia.

The net effect of Third Rome is to make Russia more powerful—but, as I learned, that was a much-needed change already. If there’s a bit of a bitter note to these EU4: Third Rome impressions, it’s for the same reason I’m not calling it a review: I got curb-stomped. Five or so hours in, my Muscovy game took a very sour turn when Poland and Lithuania’s personal union became the Commonwealth… and they broke our hundred-year-old alliance, turned against me, and utterly devastated Muscovy when its manpower was already depleted and before it could wrangle up other strong allies. It wasn’t a game-over war, but might not be recoverable—so that means it’s time for a fresh start as another Russian state and another set of features!

Still, this reviewer’s non-amazingness notwithstanding, Third Rome is a very welcome addition to Europa Universalis IV. The immersion pack expands the range of strategic options in the Russia region considerably and I hope Paradox will expand similar mechanics to other countries and regions in the future. Europa Universalis has been out for years now, but Paradox still manages to keep it fresh. And for $10, Third Rome is just the sort of DLC we want.

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