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Platform

PC

 

Genre

Strategy

 

Publisher

Paradox Entertainment/Atari

 

Developer

Paradox Entertainment

 

ESRB

E (Everyone)

 

Released

January 2005

 

- Even more depth than the original

- Strategy gamers will lap it up

- There’s no right and wrong way to do things

 

 

- If you’re not ready for it, HoI 2 could blow-up your brain

- Tiny text brings on the headaches

 

 

Review: Hearts of Iron Platinum (PC)

Review: Lord of the Rings - The Battle for Middle Earth (PC)

Review: Kohan II - Kings of War (PC)

 

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Hearts of Iron II

Score: 8.5 / 10

 

As I was saying to the Armchair Empire’s Minister in Charge of Web Activity and Art Guy, Mr. Nash, Hearts of Iron II (HoI2) is one of those strategy titles that will blow-up the brain of anyone that gets within 10’ of it – whether or not it’s actually installed on a computer.  Only the best of the best should actually play HoI2 and even those people will experience a sensation that can only be described as “warming of the brain.”  

 

hearts of iron 2 review          hearts of iron 2 review

 

HoI2 really does make you think. (It’s the instant before your brain blasts out your ears.)  Not only does it include a myriad of interconnected considerations for every thrust into enemy territory, it also plays out a lot of “What if…?” scenarios with you at the helm, complete with brand names from the time.  World War II buffs and statisticians will be in their element.

 

The gameplay mechanics of HoI2 don’t differ much from the original (or the Platinum version I reviewed back in October).  The core strategy is turn-based with some in-between action elements, which are almost always won or lost on the decisions made at the start of the turn or a series of carefully weighed decisions that build upon themselves.  That’s the short description.  A longer description would include the terms: belligerence value, logistics wizard, transport capacity, industrial capacity, and 10% envelope penalty.  If just reading those terms peaks your interest the HoI2is your game!  If you look at those terms and wonder what “belligerence” means, spend $30 on a dictionary then you can think about picking up HoI2.

 

The manual – deftly written by Chris Stone – will be your constant friend and companion (even though the table of contents is on the last page, you know, the place where a helpful index would be).  It’s quite easy to forget how many 

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elements of the game are intertwined and the manual goes a long way in explaining things.  

 

HoI2 makes a you responsible for not only controlling a (hopefully) well-trained and well-equipped army with all the modifiers and minutia involved, but also managing the economy and making/breaking alliances with other countries.  So while you’re worrying about a planned attack on an enemy province (and the weather, time of day, terrain, etc.) you also 

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manage industrial capacity, consumer goods, and organizing research programs to develop the next big thing.  On the upside you don’t have to deal with troop movement during a battle – there’s no Soldiers: Heroes of World War II interludes here.  HoI2 is more of a numbers game with a good interface.

 

The interface itself has received some upgrades over HoI and becomes easier to use after you’ve put in some hours of play but the font is eye-strainingly small.  It’s as if there is so much information packed into HoI2 they had to make room by making the font smaller.  Making the font larger should be a feature available in the options menu.  

 

hearts of iron 2 review          hearts of iron 2 review

 

Strategy fans will certainly get their $40US worth of gaming here and so much more.  On top of the single-player game, HoI2 also features a multiplayer component, which can be great fun depending on the kind of people you’re playing with.

 

If you’re only moderately interested in strategy games but the thought of figuratively making your brain go “pop!” has you intrigued, Paradox has released a downloadable demo of Hearts of Iron II.  The demo will tell you whether or not you’re ready for such a deep strategy game.  As fun as it is for fans, novice players should give it a pass.

 

- Omni

(January 30, 2005)

 

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