by Ryan Sandrey
reviewed on PC
Patience, my dear boy! (cntd)
As you cycle through each of the available modes, and their (usually construction-related) sub-modes, the World Map, with its incredibly basic graphics, changes the ‘Cards’ you see to reflect this: If you select military mode, the Unit Cards change to reflect the armies in a particular region of the map.
This only appears if the game runs smoothly. On several occasions, I encountered game-breaking crashes that ruined my attempts to play the game, and this took a beta patch to solve. With reports of such crashes rife once you get further into the campaign, even if my problems were encountered right from the first turn, AGEOD have work on their hands trying to keep those who become immersed in the rich world of Pride of Nations playing the game trouble-free.
Cartography and trade 101
Getting to grips with the intricacies of the World Map is crucial for any budding colonist, as it provides you with all the information you need about a region, such as whether it has any armies in it, how big the Cityscape with its associated industries is, the state of agricultural and mining in the Countryscape and whether the area has a harbour or not. Whilst some regions may contain all of these indicators, every region contains at least one of them, allowing you to get a grip on the state of your country at a glance.
A glance is not enough to understand the Free-Market economy that Pride of Nations operates, however. With such a detailed and intricate system of the utmost importance for countries that rely on empire for their wealth and prestige, such as Britain, it really is necessary to understand the mechanics of trade and the economy in order to succeed in Pride of Nations. This involves not only understanding the amount of resources your country is using, through the use of the essential ‘T’ screen, but also getting to grips with the intricacies of world trade, such as the rope-laden Maritime Trade Boxes which allow you to trade using merchant fleets worldwide. Trade is a crucial factor but complicated to grasp within a few hours of playing it.
History is written by the victors
Throughout the course of the grand campaign, you will encounter a series of events that test your abilities as a leader of men. Some of these are based on actual historical events, such as the Unification of Germany (if you play as Prussia), and it is recommended that you handle these in the historically accurate way so as to earn your dominion Prestige points, which affect the way other countries deal with you. Relationships with other countries are constantly changing due to your actions, and this is where Pride of Nations differs from its Paradox stable-mate Victoria II, which was an advocate of Lord Palmerston’s ‘Gunboat Diplomacy’, in allowing tense negotiations and political manoeuvring to take precedence over military force when situations arise. It isn’t merely a case of applying focus points to a country; it is instead a case of bringing the possible colony under your country’s sphere of influence and then making your move. Alternatively you could just send the navy and army in, but that didn’t exactly help Britain in the Transvaal, so you have to be careful. The game is true to life in the political nature of the world, and this is a commendable feat in a genre often over-populated with action-orientated titles.
A mixed bag
With the game roaring out period classical music, Pride of Nations immerses you in the turbulent world of the 19th century. If you’ve ever contemplated what ruling Britain at the height of its empire was like, this game is for you. With its long loading times, insurmountable learning curve and game-breaking crashes, the game isn’t for everyone. However, if you want a challenge and have the time and motivation to play Pride of Nations, the £15 price-tag is great value for money, but if you’re more at home conquering the world as quickly as possible, without having to deal with the intricacies of a world trade market or the day-to-day resource management of your empire, then this game probably isn’t the one for you.
Accurate representation of the 19th Century political landscape. Budget price tag. Incredible amount of depth.
Incredibly basic graphics. Long loading times. Steep learning curve. Game-breaking crashes.