First, let me say that I am a middle-aged guy who has played relatively complex historical table-top wargames and miniatures since my pre-teens. For those familiar with such things, Eupopa Universalis III is very close to the Avalon Hill classic grand strategic board game Empires in Arms, with far more detail and control available to the player in all areas except combat itself (which is much simpler in EU3; I loved the Empires in Arms system where player-chosen tactics were key for each battle). Anyone looking for a long thinking game with a strong historical basis and flavor will probably be happy with EU3. I am, even though there are many caveats (which I'm going to list below) with the game itself and this port.
Be aware that this game was produced by Paradox but has been ported to Mac OS X by Virtual Programming.
A previous reviewer, Richko65, notes that the game version from the Mac App Store is 5.0. Before I made my purchase, I sent an email to Virtual Programming and they assured me that the game version here in the MAS is the latest available, regardless of what it says in-game. So I bought the game, took a screenshot, sent that to VP, and again they told me that the version is the latest available. Is it? There's no way to know other than to trust VP. If it *is* the latest version, though, why doesn't it show 5.1 instead of 5.0 in the in-game version display? The player-created FAQs for EU3 available at various places online state that 5.0 has a major bug with alliances that makes the game nearly unplayable once war is declared (some cascade issue where any declared war results in Total World War) so it's kind of important to know if this is actually 5.0 or 5.1. I've played the game a bit, and I do seem to be getting stomped by big alliances a lot, but I have nothing to compare this with; is it because I'm seeing the 5.0 bug or I'm just a bad/new player? I don't know yet.
The game comes with all the expansion packs, but it is not possible to play *without* the expansions. For people who already know the game well, this doesn't matter as you can choose any country and starting date you like. However, each expansion also added a layer of complexity. For people new to EU3 (or even EU the series) like me, it would have been nice to have played the "vanilla" game first and then added the additional complexity from the expansion packs later. Just as an example, Divine Wind (the last expansion pack) adds the ability to construct individual buildings. That doesn't sound like a big deal, except there are a lot of different buildings all of which have different effects on all sorts of aspects of the game which a new player will have absoluely no feel for at all, not to mention having just one more thing to think about when learning a game with literally hundreds of non-combat options not all of which are easy to remember or laid out in an interface which is easy to pick up.
The little window that pops up when the game is launched each time allows the player to choose mods. Or at least, it's supposed to allow the player to choose mods, but when I click on the dropdown menu all I get is the default game, not other options.
In order to earn public in-game achievements, one has to register with Paradox. To do this, you first have to get a forum account with Paradox. Then you can register the game. Except registering the game also requires a long code which is not provided within the game itself. I had to send an email to Virtual Programming, and they gave me a code to use. But this is silly; there has to be a way for Mac App Store purchasers to get a code without having to jump through the hoop of emailing the company that ported the game and put it in the MAS.
The game's tutorial is pathetic. Paradox offers two kinds of tutorials with EU3: A "video" where the game just proceeds from slide to slide with a bunch of text and arrows pointing to things on the UI, and a few (3 or 4) too-simple and too-fast scenarios where you supposedly learn the skills needed to play the game but actually learn only the most superficial things such as building and moving units. The "video" tutorial elements are OK, but there's no way to back up to see something you saw earlier other than ending the tutorial and starting from the beginning. And in any case, the "video" elements are *not* a substitute for a manual. There are manuals available online, but they are not in easy and obvious places. Plus it's hard to tell if whatever manual you are reading refers to the base game or the Chronicles version sold here which includes all the expansions and therefore all the additions and changes they make to the game. This is the single most frustrating thing about this game. I don't mind having a huge manual to read, but make it possible to read it in-game *and* give me a PDF that I can either print or read on my iPhone while I'm in flight or on the train or something. I shouldn't have to rely on my ability to find the *right* manual somewhere on line using Google.
In full-screen mode it is not possible to go to different Desktops (or as we called them in the pre-Lion days, Spaces). I know this is a common issue with many applications with their own full-screen mode, but since Lion was released in July and this game was released in October, it should have been addressed by the porting company. Things work fine in windowed mode.
I have a mid-2007 20" iMac which has a 256mb Radeon 2600 (pretty old for a computer used to play games). That and my 4gb of RAM play this game very prettily, smoothly, and quickly. The game does take a while to launch each time, but once launched and playing it's great.
I hope that Virtual Programming is going to keep this updated with the latest from Paradox and that both Paradox and Virtual Programming work out the registration and tutorial/manual issues. I'm looking forward to a lot of fun hours with this game, but I can't give it more than 3 stars due to the issues documented above.