Review | For The Glory
Format: PC | Genre: Strategy | Publisher: Paradox | Developer: Crystal Empire | Release date: 11/11/09 | RRP: £14.99
By Greg Giddens
It’s fair to say that For The Glory’s complete immersion in deep historical strategy was always going to limit its appeal. It attempts to widen its player base by tweaking the setup, maintaining the Europa Universalis formula originally developed by Paradox while implementing a greater emphasis on historical events to reel in new players. It’s a shame, then, that the game never feels polished or engaging enough to win over anyone but its most passionate and forgiving of audiences.
//For the knowledge
For the Glory provides a relatively large range of governmental actions to contemplate, from managing finances to military action, but neat execution makes the potentially overwhelming options easier to manage than a first glance would suggest. An excellent tutorial, split into nine easy-to-understand chunks, eases you into the game’s intricacies, and before long you’ll be a master of the options available for each of your five types of unit.
Merchants can be sent to a country’s centre of trade to add to the list of nations you can trade with. The more merchants you send to a country, the higher the income generated from that agreement. Settlers are used to increase population levels within an owned province, missionaries are used to change an owned provinces religion, and diplomats are used to form or break alliances with a multitude of options from royal marriages to declarations of war. The fifth type of unit is military, split into land and naval. Naval consist of warships, galleys, and transports, while the army consists of infantry, cavalry, and artillery. Everything remain simple, with each military unit sporting advantages and disadvantages in battle, and transport ships providing no offensive or defensive benefits but remaining crucial for the movement of troops.
//For the enthusiasts
Similarly to the Europa Universalis series, of which this is a spin-off, it’s the units that drive the experience. Indeed, the differences between this and its predecessors the two are mostly subtle: the interface is set up in a different manner, combat is slightly less in-depth, and a few extra additions – such as deployable privateers to hassle all ships in a specific region, and the ability to promote officials in each settlement to increase the amount of buildings and respective benefits – all improve on an already successful formula.
Arguably, the most significant addition is the integration of the AGCEEP mod. Fully titled the Alternative Grade Campaign Event Exchange Project, it’s a popular mod originally created by a group of enthusiasts with the purpose of providing a larger palette of historical events and what-if scenarios for the Europa Universalis games. For the Glory includes the AGCEEP mod as standard, a move that should not be underestimated. Its effect is what many history enthusiasts have been longing for, so for current Europa Universalis fans, the transition to For The Glory is an appealing one. There’s a certain draw to experiencing this mod with the tweaks Crystal Empire Games have made to the entire experience.
//For the people?
The lack of any form of narrative and a more introspective goal approach are problems, though, and there’s a chance many won’t even see the end of their campaign playthrough. Accessibility is certainly not the problem – the initially daunting interface and complexity of the experience are, in fact, very easy to learn – but the presentation fails to grab the attention. It all looks rather plain: the world map is nicely detailed but is lacking in animation, and what little animation there is looks somewhat crude against many other RTS titles; while the score is powerful and authentic, it distracts rather than immerses. The interface is neat and easy to navigate, but the pop-up messages are as intrusive as ever, especially if you increase the game speed. There are options to customise which messages appear, but setting it up to your own personal preference can be time consuming, and despite the information being useful, its still feels like there should be a better way of delivering it to the player.
There is no denying there’s an addictive quality to For The Glory. There is always something to do, whether it’s an era of peace or war, and the ‘hardcore’ RTS experience has never felt so assessible. There’s a niche of players that will put up with For The Glory’s quirks, but that’s its main drag: it’s a game for the fans, not the people.