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Hearts of Iron II: Doomsday (Windows)

75
MobyRank
100 point score based on reviews from various critics.
3.8
MobyScore
5 point score based on user ratings.
Written by  :  Indra is here (19671)
Written on  :  May 21, 2006
Platform  :  Windows
Rating  :  3.4 Stars3.4 Stars3.4 Stars3.4 Stars3.4 Stars

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Summary

A very addictive strategy game but also very irritating in gameplay

The Good

*2nd update

This is the first Hearts of Iron game I've played. Not bad really this game, not the best when it comes to top strategy games in my book, but at least "above average".

The game is a top-down strategy game that "tries" to mimic the WW II situation, with you acting as the supreme leader of an appointed nation, try to conquer civilization as we know it.

Nice to know you can play the Nazi's for a change. Be the bad guy, though when you play the game, technically there isn't any bad guys, there are just guys with guns, the more and bigger guns, the badder the guy!

It is interesting though how the game describes the actions that led to WWII. You got the allies, the axis and the communists. Three big ass factions who all want more. Though surprisingly I still can't understand why the Soviet Union wants more when their nation is 1/3 of the whole dang map. But when you played this game, you realize that Stalin is an idiot and Hitler was brilliant (at least when he was winning).

The Bad

There is a lot of bad things about the game, not that the game is bad, but simply because I've played better games with a similar concept.

The first thing you realize is that this game has its focus a little messed up. It's not a managerial game, it's not a war strategy game, it's not a political game either. It's a little bit of everything, but really doesn't focus much on either one (though a little more on the war side).

Technically that really isn't a problem. It becomes a problem when your player gets a little ambitious and realize that you can't do this and that, because those features aren't supported in the game. The game provides a whole lot of information, if not a little overwhelming the first time around, but when you play the game further on, that information seems only a couple of pages long.

Don't get me wrong, the game really tries, but it just doesn't focus enough on one area. Most of the information becomes a little useless as during gameplay it's not provided where you want it to be.

Which is why we come to the game interface. Again, it's not terrible, in fact its quite good. But not the information is there where you want it. A small example is when you attack another province. There you have a small box stating time to attack and yes and no. Not much information there eh? The thing is the other information you want is also available, like weather, terrain, unit strength, defence, etc. But it's available in other places, not where you want it to be. Other games provide a lot of information WHERE YOU WANT IT. This game lacks focus in providing information at the right time.

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The above mentioned is a minor defect in the game. There is however, a major defect: History.

The game greatly tries to mimic World War II, however in a somewhat irritating way. It almost exactly follows the World War II setting. No matter what you do, it almost exactly follows the WWII setting. Choosing otherwise though possible, would greatly mean a fast demise of your faction (eg. Soviet Union attacks your behind).

Historical events greatly dominate the game. These events unfortunately cannot created by a player. For example, there are many historical agreements between nations that effect another nation. There are no options for a player to do such (like the agreement between Germany and Soviet to divide Poland). Any international policy you have is either trading or standard international agreements.

I've played games like Romance of the Three Kingdoms. Note that this game was ages ago, but it was greatly superior in gameplay than this game will ever be. Why? Because it lets the player decide what to do with history. So what if Germany doesn't invade Poland? The fact that your playing the game as Germany should mean a historical difference. Even if you don't invade Poland or France, events in the game will FORCE you to do so, since the other option is far worse.

The developers of the game need to spend more time in gameplay that in mimicking history.

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Then there are little irritating details in the game that I've noticed. The interface really isn't user friendly, here are the examples:
  • The production bar doesn't stay the way you want to. When you lock a bar, the game sometimes changes it, instead of changing a bar you didn't lock.
  • Moving more than 15 officers is a hassle. Specifically when you want to move half to one province and the other to another. You have to manually select each officer (and hopefully you don't press outside the window or else you have to start all over again). Imagine if you were moving 50 officers?
  • Combining units is a disaster. There is no easy way to do it, even more irritating if you have a lot of officers in one province. Combining airplane units is impossible to do if you have land units in the same province.
  • You have a lot of officers, but a lot you don't want to use when you want to attach them to a unit. Scrolling through 50 officers is frustrating since you want certain officers with certain traits. There is no fast way to do this. You have to scroll manually one at a time.
  • Nations have a bad habit of canceling trade agreements every time you load a game. Reputation also goes down when you do this. Also, troops that were sent on loan to you are often cancelled. Egad, sometimes you wish you just didn't turn off the computer.
  • Difficulty setting is irritating. I really hate it when difficulty means that you get penalties instead of making the enemy strategically more difficult. When in combat, you get a penalty (-20%) if you play the hardest setting. This also applies to your production level. Can't they figure out something more intelligent that refers to difficulty?

    And there are a ton load more of irritating features in the game. All minor but sometimes you really want to bite someone.

    The Bottom Line

    Addictive as hell but there are still one too many features in the game that makes is a "mediocre" strategy game instead of a dang good one.

    The developers should really try playing the game for 48 hours and realize all those little faults they missed.