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User Reviews

Technology and combat systems have been improved drastically, otherwise it's like the original. Va Jaa (18) 3.8 Stars3.8 Stars3.8 Stars3.8 Stars3.8 Stars
For WW2 buffs who wonder "What If...?" APFelon (21) 4.2 Stars4.2 Stars4.2 Stars4.2 Stars4.2 Stars

Our Users Say

Category Description User Score
AI How smart (or dumb) you perceive the game's artificial intelligence to be 3.5
Gameplay How well the game mechanics work (player controls, game action, interface, etc.) 4.5
Graphics The quality of the art, or the quality/speed of the drawing routines 3.8
Personal Slant How much you personally like the game, regardless of other attributes 4.6
Sound / Music The quality of the sound effects and/or music composition 3.8
Overall User Score (11 votes) 4.0

Critic Reviews

MobyRanks are listed below. You can read here for more information about MobyRank.
Hearts of Iron 2 takes a unique gameplay experience and enhances it further than most people expected. The end result is a grand strategy title that is fun to play, very engaging, and a bit easier to get your head around than its predecessor. Every strategy gamer worth their salt needs to have a copy of HOI2. Compared to this title, every other strategy wargame is just a mad click fest tank rush. So if you think yourself a strategist, take up the challenge that HOI2 offers.
Netjak (Feb 07, 2005)
Ultimately, Hearts of Iron 2 proves to be a worthy successor to the original title. Improved in just about every way imaginable, Hears of Iron 2 will not only satisfy the fans of the previous game, but is now set up in such a way to entice an even larger market segment into enjoying the title. Paradox Entertainment has outdone itself with this game and everyone should find the time to enjoy the fruits of their labor.
FiringSquad (Jan 20, 2005)
I am surprised - nay, elated - to see how well Hearts of Iron 2 came out. The first game was a great concept that simply didn't come out quite right, but we're glad to see that Paradox stuck with it and refined the formulas. Though it bears similarities in style and setting to its predecessor, at heart is a new game with incredible depth that is accessible to any dedicated strategy gamer now, thanks to the completely overhauled interface.
GameSpy (Feb 04, 2005)
Paradox has done everything they can to make it easier on you (you can automate some of the micromanagement, like leader assignments and convoys). But to get the most out of this game, you have to really want to play out the epic sprawl of World War II in extreme detail. Unless you're dedicated -- and let's face it, "dedicated" is just a polite way of saying "obsessive" or "fanatical" -- the whole thing will probably crumble into a swarm of army sprites jerking around on a map of a thousand colored blobs representing provinces with foreign names that don't mean diddlysquat to you. But if you're interested a day-by-day re-creation of what is arguably the most dramatic decade the world has ever known, presented in a staggering amount of detail using a complex and sophisticated simulation that affords all sorts of freedom for hypothetical situations, then you won't want to miss Hearts of Iron II.
Game Vortex (Jan 12, 2005)
Strategy games aren’t for everyone, and even with its player-friendly systems, Hearts of Iron II still falls into this category. Still, it’s much easier to get into than other games in the genre, making it a nice starting point for the curious Strategy player or casual fans. Hardcore fans will love it without question.
Worth Playing (Feb 27, 2005)
That said, it's an excellent game, with the caveat that you are a fan of this genre. Even though it says "real-time" on the box, it has little in common with what traditional RTS fans would enjoy. It's also worth noting that these people are not the target audience. While it's not for the faint-of-heart, and you're going to need to put some serious hours into learning it (most likely beating your head against the wall several times in the process), the time will be well-spent. Soon, you'll be arguing with your friends about whether moving Germany two clicks towards "Central Planning" on the slider makes a difference.
Game Watcher (Jan 05, 2005)
Overall, this is the supreme effort of this game company. Hearts of Iron 2 includes such astounding detail, and this attention to detail will amaze history buffs and laymen alike. Weapons include historical photos, leaders have real life portraits, even the weapon systems and upgrades are logical and accurate. The game sprites and also quite nice, and are sure to be improved by the many excellent game modders on the Internet, as Paradox makes it's games modable friendly for the game players. This game will not appeal to everyone, but if you have an interest in WWII, or just love well thought out, complex games, be sure to pick this title up.
GameZone (Jan 05, 2005)
Hearts of Iron 2 is one of the most in-depth strategy games around. There are so many different things you can do during the course of one game it is almost baffling. If you love World War II or strategy games, than you should pick up this game.
IGN (Jan 07, 2005)
Hearts of Iron 2 is undeniably fantastic and a considerable improvement over the original game and I couldn't possibly hope to cover every aspect of the game in a single review. In fact, even after playing through the holidays, the game is still offering up new twists and surprises with each new campaign. As I said before, if it works in the real world, it's probably somewhere in this game.
Game Over Online (Jan 20, 2005)
Hearts of Iron II, compared to the original game, is still fairly blasé in the audio-visual department. You basically won’t hear any sound effects until you click on an individual conflict. And because it’s a passive affair of watching ‘dice-rolling’ between two armies, you won’t do that too often either. The music in the original game was filled with a who’s who of classical music. Tracks like Wagner’s Ride of the Valkiryes really help set the mood. The composers in this game have taken some inspiration from it (I swear one of the pieces shares some of the same bars as that Wagner piece) but are not as good at evoking pathos from the player. Simply put, it sounds too militaristic, like calling a high school marching band full of brass a full orchestra.
85 (Jan 19, 2005)
Ich spiele deshalb so gerne historische Strategiespiele, weil man dabei den tatsächlichen Geschichtsverlauf verändern kann. Seit Panzergeneral hat das nicht mehr so viel Freude bereitet wie bei Hearts of Iron 2, für das ihr euch allerdings Zeit lassen solltet. Eine Schlacht gewinnt man vielleicht an einem Tag, aber einen ganzen Weltkrieg sicher nicht. Dieses Mal bestimmt ihr nämlich nicht nur das militärische Vorgehen, ihr produziert auch Nachschub, schließt Handelsabkommen und erforscht bessere Waffen. So könnt ihr euch das besorgen, was ihr für einen Sieg ganz nach eurem Geschmack braucht. Wer auf innere Werte setzt, ist mit dem facettenreichen Strategiespiel bestens bedient, denn es ist praktisch unbegrenzt wiederspielbar. Gerade die zu vier verschiedenen Jahren startenden Kampagnen bieten eine Vielzahl an Möglichkeiten. Hearts of Iron 2 bietet so eine ideale Spielwiese, auf der sich allerdings nur erfahrene Hobby-Generäle austoben sollten.
Absolute Games ( (Mar 29, 2005)
Война — плоть и кровь HoI. Все здесь подчинено накоплению «мышечной массы». Экономика существует исключительно для обеспечения игрока достаточными производственными мощностями, участвующими в создании армии. Как только напряжение военного противостояния спадает, становится неуютно и хочется, чтобы с той стороны нечаянно стрельнули из гаубицы по мирным пограничникам.
Gaming Nexus (Feb 01, 2005)
And that’s really how it all boils down. For fans of the previous Paradox titles, or for those who just love the oodles of history and detail that literally ooze from Hearts of Iron 2, this will be a wonderful game. Countless hours will vanish without a trace. But for me, this title demanded a bit too much time and energy to even get to a point where I was enjoying myself. It’s a good game, just not for me.
Gamers Europe (Apr 01, 2005)
This review was delayed by a good month for a reason – the multiplayer. It is quite lethally addictive. Up to 32 players and a multitude of options that will keep any and every fan up into the morning playing and plotting away. Quite vicious in that it will sap your desire to eat, sleep and blink but sure Churchill slept for four hours a night for three years, get used to it!
85 (May 14, 2005)
On doit au studio de développement suédois de nombreux titres tels Europa Universalis 1 et 2, Victoria ou encore Crusader Kings et bien évidemment Hearts of Iron premier du nom. Toutefois ne vous alarmez pas si aucun de ces jeux ne vous dit quoique ce soit. En effet, bien que Paradox soit un développeur plutôt prolifique, tous les jeux qu’il sort sont destinés aux fans de Wargame, ce qui implique 3 choses : - il faut du temps aux néophytes pour véritablement apprendre à jouer et s’amuser - les graphismes sont d’un autre temps et l’interface déroutante au début - si vous surmontez les 2 épreuves précédentes, vous pourrez profiter d’un jeu aux possibilités énormes et à la durée de vie gargantuesque
Armchair Empire, The (Jan 30, 2005)
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.”
Game Captain (Jan 28, 2005)
Nichts für Freizeit-Strategen! In Hearts of Iron 2 geht es richtig zur Sache, hier wird dem Spieler in Sachen Taktik und Strategie fast das äußerste abverlangt. Grafik und Sound schwächeln zwar etwas, dafür holt die Spieltiefe diese kleinen Patzer aber dreimal wieder raus!
Gaming Age (Jan 12, 2005)
Hearts of Iron is a required taste that easily fits in that love it or hate it cliché. One thing is certain, you will not find a closer representation in how a war is won than in this series. Developers have sacrificed window dressing for intense and rewarding game play that will satisfy to no end. If you have the patience and are into the tactical portion of RTS games, then HOI 2 will fit the bill quite nicely. Fans of the first, what the heck are you waiting for, there is no question for you, just buy it.
GameSpot (Jan 18, 2005)
Even with these problems, Hearts of Iron II fulfills the promise of its predecessor. Paradox has done a tremendous job of making this complex design relatively easy to get into. If you can stumble through the first couple of hours, the blanks will fill in and you'll find yourself in an all-night struggle to take the Wehrmacht to Moscow, or to conquer the last few holdout provinces in China with the Japanese Imperial Army, or even to tiptoe around the combatants and keep Spain neutral. This is what the original game should have been.
Gameplay (Benelux) (Jan 31, 2005)
Paradox heeft de minpuntjes uit de voorgangers weggewerkt en dat levert een meer dan geslaagd spel op.
Gamers' Temple, The (Feb 08, 2005)
HoI2 will not appeal to the average strategy gamer. There is just far too much information to process and it takes a while to learn how to keep the war effort moving smoothly on the diplomatic, production, and military fronts. Further making the game a labor of love are the persistent blizzard of informational messages, outdated graphics, and annoying and repetitive background music. However, if you revel in detail and salivate at the prospect of playing a game that gives you so much strategic leeway that you can even try to lead Germany to a diplomatic victory without firing a shot, then you may have found Nirvana in Hearts of Iron 2.
82 (Mar 07, 2005)
Hearts of Iron II is by far the best war-themed strategy game on the market, but it isn't a game for those with short attention spans. If gamers can survive the learning curve, however, and show some patience, they will find one of the most fulfilling gaming experiences out there.
GamersMark (Apr 06, 2005)
If you’re looking for the most historically accurate representation of World War II, Hearts of Iron II is your game. Hearts of Iron II is a history lesson in itself, and you can really learn a lot of the abstract, mostly unimportant facts you don’t come across too often without really looking for it. World War II history buffs and the like will absolutely love the game for the sheer amount of historical value included in the game. Being able to go through World War II from day one to the last day of the war is an arduous task that only a fanatic would probably want to undertake.
Game Chronicles (Jan 17, 2005)
With the scope of this title, the online support, the unmatched replay value-Hearts of Iron II should keep the most hardcore of strategy gamers satiated in fighting, researching and leading their respective nation to the top of the food chain. Give the game a few hours, struggle through the tutorials, bugs, learning curve and you could be playing into the wee hours of the night invading France or Germany with a well honed military force painstakingly crafted through research and production. Those looking for lighter fare check out the Sudden Strike series, or the more recent Codename: Panzer RTS games, void of micromanagement but rich in hearty battles.
80 (Apr 17, 2005)
Overall I was satisfied with Hearts of Iron II. The game itself offers a challenge to most strategy die-hards, especially those with an appreciation for World War II. The game system itself has been upgraded by the changes to all the non-combat portions of the game, causing a micro-manager to salivate at the mouth. However, the game still has an identity crisis, trying to figure out if it wants to be a Real time or a turn based. If you’re the type of player who likes to revert to the last auto save each time something bad befalls you, then you’re going to think Hearts of Iron II is way too easy...but if you’re like me, and you enjoy the challenge of recovering from near disaster, then this is the WWII strategy game for you.
Daily Game (May 08, 2005)
Hearts of Iron II is a very complex and difficult WWII strategy game, but it makes no bones about catering to a casual crowd. Newcomers should stay far away, but hardcore RTS fans will find incredible depth. If the recent slew of recent WWII strategy games hasn’t quite filled your challenge quota, Hearts of Iron II is more than ready to step up to the plate.
80 (Feb 10, 2005)
Il est évidemment impossible de lister ici tout ce qu'il est possible de faire dans le jeu, mais sachez que la guerre n'est bien sûr pas la seule activité à laquelle vous devrez vous livrer puisque celle-ci réclame des ressources importantes et qu'il faut donc veiller à avoir les infrastructures de production nécessaires. La recherche est aussi un point très important qui permet bien souvent de prendre l'avantage sur l'ennemi. Bref, on est réellement ébahi par la richesse des possibilités incluses dans le jeu qui est vraiment impressionnante. On ne peut que regretter l'aspect austère du titre qui ne dévoilera ses grandes qualités qu'à ceux prêts à lui pardonner son apparence vieillotte et qui prendront la peine de s'y investir à fond.
80 (Jan 22, 2005)
Selten war es so schwer eine gerechte Wertung für ein Spiel zu finden wie für Hearts of Iron 2. Während sich mein Hardcore-Strategenherz angesichts der Detailfülle, Komplexität und Spieltiefe im siebten Spielerhimmel befindet, schaudert es den Redakteur in mir an den Gedanken, dass sich ein Gelegenheitsspieler an diese Anhäufung von Statistiken, Daten und gewöhnungsbedürftiger Menüführung heranwagt. Wer bereits eines von Paradox historischen Strategiespielen kennt, kann beruhigt zugreifen, denn mit dem HOI Nachfolger hat der schwedische Entwickler bislang sein Meisterstück abgeliefert. Alle anderen sollten viel Zeit einplanen, um in den Genuss der enormen Spieltiefe eines der umfangreichsten Strategietiteln der letzten Zeit zu kommen.
GameStar (Germany) (Jan, 2005)
Der Faszination von Hearts of Iron 2 kann ich mich nur sehr schwer entziehen, obwohl sehr viel davon eigentlich nur im Kopf statt auf dem Bildschirm stattfindet. Ich weiß eben, dass parallel zur Inseleroberung meine Forscher gerade eine Atombombe basteln. Sehen muss ich den unspektakulären grünen Fortschrittbalken auf dem Forschungsbildschirm dazu nicht. Deshalb kann ich mit der Simpel-Optik leben. Doch um in den Genuss dieses hochgradig komplexen Vergnügens zu kommen, habe ich auch richtig schwer geschuftet. Zehn Stunden dauerte die Einarbeitung, inklusive Studium des extrem kleingedruckten Handbuchs. Trotz Tutorial gibt sich Hearts of Iron 2 alle Mühe, Einsteiger abzuschrecken, was nicht zuletzt an der miesen Grafik liegt. Dafür hat das Team in Sachen Bedienung wirklich seine Hausaufgaben gemacht. Übersicht regiert vor Winz-Icons. Hearts of Iron 2 macht aller Komplexität zum Trotz Spaß und spielt sich dank cleverer KI jedes Mal anders.
Jolt (UK) (Mar 10, 2005)
As far as titles go, Hearts of Iron 2 doesn’t give much away. We’ve heard of an iron lung, but an iron heart? Fortunately we’re here to explain what games are all about just so you don’t have to worry about the weird titles they have. In this case we’re looking at a game from a genre that fills the hearts of many gamers with fear – a hardcore strategy title.
Ondanks alle problemen lost Hearts of Iron II de beloftes van zijn voorganger nu eindelijk in. Paradox is erin geslaagd een complex game veel speelbaarder te maken. Het duurt nog steeds meerdere uren om alle finesses te doorgronden, maar eenmaal de leercurve achter de rug, ben je klaar om naar Moskou op te rukken of de laatste resten van het Chinese leger van de kaart te vegen. Hearts of Iron II is wat het oorspronkelijke game had moeten zijn.
PC Powerplay (Jan, 2005)
Hearts of Iron hat mich anderthalb Jahre lang gefesselt. Teil 2 habe ich noch sehnlicher erwartet als Gordon Freemans zweiten Auftritt. Und nun bin ich ernüchtert. Die Entwickler haben sich viele Verbesserungen einfallen lassen. Das neue Kampfsystem ist eine Wucht, die Forschung viel übersichtlicher. Aber es gibt auch Konzepte, die überhaupt nicht aufgehen. Mit den tumben Computerdiplomaten zu verhandeln, bereitet mir Kopfschmerzen. Was mich am meisten stört: Der Spielverlauf ist nicht mehr so frei wie früher. Das zerstört einen Teil der Langzeitmotivation. Ich will wieder mit der Roten Armee im Sommer '39 durchs Brandenburger Tor marschieren oder 1941 Elektronikrechner entwickeln!
Next Level Gaming (Jan 31, 2005)
So in the end, I must say this game does a great job of creating a game that simulates the experience of Axis and Allies the board game, just updated and enhanced with the power of a computer. So here it is, if you like the board game, pick yourself up a copy of this game. If you are looking for a fast paced WW2 shooter, well through a dart at your local PC store collection, your bond to hit one, but this one is not for you. This is an addictive game, so if you do get into it, be prepared to spend a good amount of time gaming.
Given these upgrades to the usually steep Paradox learning curve, it would be tempting to simply reward this unique development team a gold medal for finally recognizing the vast world of gamers that are interested in grand strategy but turned off by layers of menus and irrelevant detail. This landmark game is still very good, and, if you can find enough players to control the great powers, rewarding in multi-player. But until Paradox can find a way to craft a computer opponent that knows how important the invasion of Normandy was, the single player sessions will be merely satisfying.
PC Action (Feb 04, 2005)
Eigentlich mag ich Karten. Bei Hearts of Iron 2 gibt es aber doch ein paar zuviel. Dazu noch eine Menge Menüs und jeder Gelegenheitszocker ist hoffnungslos überfordert. Taktiker dagegen freuen sich auf eine knifflige Herausforderung.
Joystick (French) (Feb, 2005)
Difficile de noter Hearts of Iron 2 : alors qu'il est plombé d'un nombre incroyable de défauts graves, même dans cet état il réussit à être intéressant. Bien sûr, il faut se passionner pour la période et aimer les problèmes logistiques, mais pour les joueurs très indulgents et très motivés, il offre des mois d'une expérience unique.
In the end, Hearts of Iron II feels like an amalgam of details in search of a cohesive game design. Dividing Europe up into provinces made a lot more sense when many of those provinces could be treated as separate nation-states. And diplomacy based on sending other countries money worked much better in 1540 than it does in 1940. Abstraction is fine, but when it’s mixed with detail to this degree, it needs to be better integrated into an overarching game structure. You can still have plenty of fun sweating the details in Hearts of Iron II— just don’t look too closely at the whole thing.