It took me a long time to get on board with the "Grand Strategy Game" genre, that has been essentially created and fostered exclusively by developer and publisher Paradox Interactive. To be fair, it's not exactly been an easy barrier to punch through. To start a game like Hearts of Iron, Victoria or Europa Universalis for the first time, has historically been to look into the heart of the abyss and see the open maw of eternity in the obsidian black.
Let's just say, they can seem pretty complicated.
To be fair, Paradox has gotten better about this, and the recent Crusader Kings II, which I've come to adore, while still every bit as deep does an admirable job of presenting itself in a more approachable way. It's no surprise to me, having played the game a reasonable amount of time, that CKII has taken up a position as a sort of gateway into the languages and dialects you will need to be able to play something like Europa Universalis. Having watched an outstanding series of Let's Play videos from user Quill18 -- the videos can be found here -- I find myself hopeful that EUIV is carrying on that trend of being both extraordinarily deep without immediately running new players off.
But, at its core I love the concept of these games. They fit nicely into a surging niche we've talked about before, one where players are given extraordinary tools to play in a virtual environment without clear, preconceived goals. Giving you all of Europe as your playground to rewrite history, EUIV is my pick for game of the week.
Which, by the way, was a harder pick than I might have expected for a mid-August week ahead. There's a lot of stuff that's sort of snuck up on us, or at least me. Not the least of which being the cornerstone of Disney's new videogame strategy, Disney Infinity, which can be found on pretty much everything that's not the PC. Along with Infinity, the oddly hyped Duck Tales, which I'm pretty sure everyone is excited about primarily because the Duck Tales theme song was so cool, also hits this week.
On a more violent note, a PC version of Space Hulk that, I must admit, is at least intriguing comes to a download near everyone, and Payday 2 has sort of come out of nowhere to be something it seems like people are interested in.
Finally, if I could travel back in time and make myself pick Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons as last week's game of the week, I would do so. The XBLA game skyrocketed in the span of two days from a game I knew nothing about to a Game of the Year contender in my book.