Hearts of Iron IV
One of the most epic strategy games returns, and here we are again at the dawn of World War II. All over the world you walk in the leaders’ shoes; how long will this darkest hour take you?
Forget about massive combats that were a must in 2000s’ strategies. You, as a commander, belong in the headquarters, so all you see happen on the map and in the papers. The map, though, is animated, and all the factories, borders and armies look very spectacular. And the papers inform you about all the important events.
So, you’re the leader of the country. What country? It’s up to you. Alongside with the major players (USA, USSR, Great Britain, France, and, on the other hand, Germany, Italy, and Japan), you can select any country at all, even the smallest one. By the way, small countries have their advantages too: for example, they can research new technologies faster, as their engineers don’t have that strong bureaucracy to move through. Besides that, each country has its tree of focuses that mirrors the real historical events.
As a leader, you control virtually every aspect of state development, from industry to ideology. There’s a complicated system of war, public or clandestine diplomacy, international trading or military interventions. You develop the army, from infantry and chivalry to tanks, warships, and aviation, and then move your troops to where they should be. You can focus too on the theatre you like the most. It may be European, African, Pacific of any other region (though the most action is concentrated within these).
The game offers either single player or multiplayer mode. Anyway, the AI controls the rest of the world, and it has a lot of surprises.
The only thing the game lacks is at least a little tutorial. If you’re new to it, you’re sure to spend many hours trying to make it all out. But you can use a single player mode to explore the game, and then play against human rivals.
Strategic games are the kind that was originally meant for PC. So don’t reach out for your Xbox controller, it won’t help a lot. You better learn hotkeys to access menus instantly, as time matters. Though, if you prefer to stick to a mouse, you’ll be good with it.
Replay Value: 4.5
The game offers a great lot of options. Select any country. Replay the real history, or try to create a bifurcation moments to launch an alternative timeline. And watch the add-ons: Paradox always has something in its sleeve to refresh the game you may seem to know inside out.
Hearts of Iron IV is one of the greatest (in all meaning) strategic games of 2016. Prepare to spend some time on learning, and it may become your favorite for years. At least, until Part V is released.
- Graphics 4
- Gameplay 4.5
- Controls 5
- Replay Value 4.5
Add-ons are released frequently
It’s a real textbook on history, and learning from it is more fun
Too complicated to play it casually