Gives you control of a nation to guide it through the years of early Colonialism and create a dominant global empire and will provide you unprecedented freedom in how you want to rule your nation, unparalleled in its depth and historical accuracy.
For a complicated game, the UI and everything in general are intuitive and not too hard to understand. Comparatively, pretty much every last grand strategy I tried in the past simply was too crazy and unintelligible for someone new to such a genre, like myself.
However simple though, if you're looking for a war simulator look elsewhere. This game's about international relations and nation management, the least of which is on the list of priorities is throwing armies around like you would in a Total War game and absorbing every last chunk of territory you can get your hands on. It's not as though if you want to be the Napoleon of the 1500s you can't be, however you'll likely have several major nations invading you, very few friends after a short while, and all of twenty men left if you don't manage your manpower well. Rifles may very well practically grow on trees but the men who wield them don't.
I'd recommend starting as England, allowing you to be able to focus on learning how to effectively manage internal affairs before dealing with international politic heavy nations like Austria or most any other surrounded by neighbors. As a more isolated nation, it also seems to have more internal events, civil wars, and rebellions which will likely be your undoing but teach you much. It's also a nice place to watch the world develop so you can gain a basic understanding of the world's progression through time, from national motives, to religions, ect.
Simply summarized, this game's an imperialism simulator. If you're trying to be the nicest, most lovable, cuddly dictator then you'll soon be invaded and end up like Ned Stark.
Still playing this as much as I can since release. I was looking into getting a CIV 5 expansion, or Rome II, but this game is scratching my strategy itch far better. There are a couple of minor UI issues, like wishing to could send a newly constructed ship to a fleet, but overall the micromanagement is much better than EU III. It's at this point that I feel I have a pretty good grasp of the game, and I just started a brandenburg game in Ironman to try to create Germany early. It's this sandbox aspect that makes the game so appealing, and Paradox so far has done a good job with patches and tweaks.