Hearts of Iron
Genre Strategy -> Strategy
Today's Rank 1539
Homepage
USA
Date 2003-02-13
Publisher Strategy First
UK
Date 2003-02-28
Publisher Koch Media
North America Retail Box ArtUnited Kingdom Retail Box ArtThe market may be flooded with WWII games, but there's nothing that offers the scope of Hearts of Iron. This Grand Strategic war game puts you in the role of national leader, responsible for everything from appointing government ministers to forming political allegiances, controlling the direction of military research and directing operational-level military campaigns. The whole globe is up for grabs and you can jump in from 1936, before the political landscape of wartime has taken shape, or you can leap into the thick of things at 1939 or even 1941. You can take control of one of eight major nations, ranging from the obvious--Germany, Great Britain and Russia--through to the likes of nationalist China. You can also opt to play the role of any minor nation, though the challenge becomes very different as you are frequently forced to ally with whichever major force approaches your territory first and then hope for the best. The game will look very familiar to fans of Europa Universalis and its sequel. There's a good reason for this: Hearts of Iron is built on an adapted version of the engine. It drives the game's massive depth and scope, but also causes some problems. The interface is clunky at times and struggles to cope with the masses of information available. Also, the map territories don't always make a lot of sense. Perseverance is required, but also rewarded. The level of micro management is intense, but gives you full control. It ranges from choosing to research nuclear technology at the expense of building more advanced conventional military might to staging coups in opposing countries. You just don't get the chance to play out WWII at this level every day and that's reason enough to pick up this game, put up with its sometimes annoying foibles and revel in global conquest. --Jason Weston
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