“It may not be honest, but it is politics, and politics are important in A House Divided.”
Developer: Paradox Interactive
Publisher: Paradox Interactive
Release Date: February 2, 2012 (U.S.)
A House Divided is the latest DLC for Paradox Interactive’s Victoria II. Victoria II plays similar to many other PC strategy games. It’s a real-time strategy game in which you take control of one of the world’s nations from the 1800’s until 1939. A House Divided, as its name implies, starts out on July 1, 1861. It’s the start of the Civil War, so you can immediately jump in at what was arguably the most tumultuous time since the U.S. became a nation.
You can still choose from a number of nations to play as on any continent, but seeing as how the DLC was heavily focused on the Civil War, I chose to play as the United States. If you want to go the other route you can play as the C.S.A.-Confederate States of America. Playing as either side is pretty much the same. You begin immediately in war against the other side. You can negotiate for peace, or raise armies and challenge your opponents. As you research new technologies, you can unlock bonuses to help your army. These can include advanced types of guns such as machine guns, or better strategies for your army’s formations. Bonuses can include boosts to morale, or better overall leadership from your generals.
Much like in the original, wars have to be declared before you can move troops into other provinces. This time however you have more options, and can justify a war in different ways. In my campaign I wanted to “liberate” the state of North Carolina, so I justified my war against the South by saying that I wanted to free the citizens of North Carolina. It may not be honest, but it is politics, and politics are important in A House Divided. Wage too many unjust wars and your infamy will rise. Other nations will notice that you are a war mongering nation and may ally themselves against your opponents. Balancing diplomacy is a big part of Victoria II, and it continues in the DLC.
Much like diplomacy, production and trade are also important. You can still build factories in your own territories, but you can also build them overseas in ally’s territories. If you’re an influential enough nation, you could be one of the eight great powers-the strongest nations in the world. This will of course allow you to push around smaller countries or form powerful allies. I used a couple allies to pressure the C.S.A. from the south while I moved my armies into their territories from the north.
I liked Victoria II overall, but the expansion seems kind of dry. I found the C.S.A. to surrender too easily to peace on my first play through, leaving there to be little tension between the U.S. and the succeeding states. Granted this was on the normal difficulty of the game, so if something seems too easy you can always up the difficulty to hard or very hard. Still, they never posed too much of a threat from that point on. It would have been interesting to see an alternate, “What if?” scenario. What if the South was still its own nation going into the 1900’s? Of course, the C.S.A., as a smaller nation, is at a disadvantage to start, so you might want to play as them for a tougher time.
The scenario of the Civil War inherently makes A House Divided an interesting DLC concept. It’s a shame that they didn’t do more with it though, such as making the war between North and South more drawn out, or by throwing more random events into the mix. If you liked the base game of Victoria II and you’re itching for more, A House Divided should last you for a few more play throughs.
Jerry Kline, NoobFeed