Hearts of Iron II
Score: 8.5 / 10
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.”
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.
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
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
(January 30, 2005)
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