Winds of war

Who I am
Aina Martin
@ainamartin
Author and references

The series of strategic set during the Second World War Hearts of Iron was born in 2002, when Paradox was still a very small reality, which however had already made itself known by strategy enthusiasts with the first two Europa Universalis.

Since then a lot of water has passed under the bridges and today the Software House in Stockholm has become a colossus with dozens of titles behind it, including those directly developed and those published, to which all strategic enthusiasts always look with great interest. In the meantime we have arrived at the fourth Hearts of Iron, which not only follows the thread of the previous episodes, but takes both hands from other series, especially in the interface. One of the main flaws of Hearts of Iron III was precisely the excessive complexity of some menus, which made entry into the game more difficult than it should. Of course, fans of the genre have never been frightened by a few extra clicks, but given the work done with the fourth chapter, in which everything is much more intuitive, especially thanks to a better organization of the menus and the more rational positioning of the various buttons, now less hidden and always in evidence, it is evident that the criticisms have served. There are still a lot of buttons, because the functions to be covered are really many, but now everything appears more controllable and direct, although the complexity of the game mechanics has not diminished. For those wondering why we started talking about the interface and why we dwell so much on the subject, it is right to specify that in a grand strategy title the readability of what happens on the screen is one of the fundamental elements of judgment; one of those that can make the difference between a good title, a mediocre one and an excellent one. A bad interface risks transforming any strategy into a chaos of incomprehensible icons and numbers, compromising it inexorably.





We reviewed Hearts of Iron IV, the new strategy set during the Second World War

Let's start playing

Started Hearts of Iron IV, as good boy scouts we select the tutorial to try to understand the rudiments of war. Unfortunately, despite the commitment, after concluding it we had more questions than answers. The tutorial is structured in such a way as to let us perform some basic actions, explaining the different buttons as we use them. Too bad that to simplify our life some options are completely disabled, while the explanations never go to the bottom, referring to external links for more information.

In fact, instead of following the game tutorial, before playing, you should watch one of the many video tutorials that are already on YouTube (we recommend this channel, but there are others to consult), or read the Wiki official, practically a manual, where the details abound (the Spanish is missing, unfortunately, as from the game, after all). Of course, someone will already be scared of similar preparation before they can play, but it is one of the costs to pay if you want to enter one of the most complex and satisfying genres on the market. However, something more could be done within the game. After the introductory phase, which in this case already means several hours spent with the title of Paradox, it's time to choose our country and start getting serious, examining the different possibilities available. The first box that we open is that of scientific research, which allows you to develop four technologies at a time (the slots can be increased during the game), chosen from a huge range. In the various selectable boxes you will find everything that can be used in war. It should be noted that technologies do not only mean new weapons or vehicles, but also types of infantry, tactical equipment, medical equipment, production facilities and much, much more. During a campaign it is not possible to develop everything and you are forced to choose a specific address, which guarantees not only a greater specialization of the army in the chosen field, but also a greater speed in discoveries, of course.



Production and micromanagement

Speaking of productive structures, it must be said that there are several and that they are located or must be built in the provinces into which the territory of our state is divided. Initially it is necessary to take care to have a certain number of civilian factories, which will serve to meet the overall needs of the population and to build and forage the military factories, in which the equipment for the front is built, and the shipyards, necessary to expand and fortify the fleet. The more factories you have, the more projects you can carry out at the same time, obviously provided you have the necessary resources to build what you want (more on that later).

In reality there are many other structures that can be built in the provinces and they concern all aspects of the management of a nation in a period of war. For example, it is possible to upgrade the railway network to accelerate the transport of men and vehicles to the front, or you can create military airports to, guess what, extend the range of the air fleet, while reducing fuel consumption. In addition to production, an important factor to consider is that of national focus. Selectable from a rich tree diagram, they are targeted policies that take into account national specificities and are based on the historical reality of each state involved in the conflict. For example, Italy has national policies involving the war in Ethiopia, before and after winning it, while Nazi Germany has many voices regarding the use of propaganda, one of the driving forces of the Third Reich. National policies are not all punishable indiscriminately, but require choices of direction. The skill tree has branches that are mutually exclusive. In this way, more weight is given to the selected aspects. Don't worry, because there is no possibility of making mistakes, unless you act on the field in a contradictory way with respect to what you have chosen. For example, if expansionary policies linked to the naval fleet are implemented, then it is also appropriate to work at the production level to strengthen it, otherwise we only end up wasting resources. National policies also affect general politics, that is, the government's hold on the population. What does this entail? For example, the percentage of people who can be enlisted, but also the conviction of the troops at the front. Fighting for something you believe in makes you stronger than fighting with no confidence in those who command you.



Nazis to bind

There are still many factors to consider to start playing with a minimum of awareness of what you are doing, for example there is the economic factor, i.e. the type of market that you decide to embrace and that determines the possibility of selling a greater or lesser number of produced resources.

Leaving the free market can lead to an increase in exports, with consequent higher monetary revenues, but also the risk of having to buy back goods that have been sold and that have suddenly become necessary at a high price. There is also to consider the political factor from a strictly institutional point of view, that is the general structure of the government, the political extraction of the advisers and more. The choices made affect other factors such as relations with other nations, verifiable in the menu dedicated to diplomacy, or the degree of trust of the population in the government. In reality this discourse is valid for the entire Hearts of Iron IV and represents in our opinion the greatest strength: if it is true that there are more or less important aspects to evaluate, it must always be kept in mind that every decision taken is reflected. cascade over the entire state, and consequently on the game in progress. Often choices that seem harmless end up producing unexpected effects such as the nervousness of other nations, which for example could begin to fear our expansionist aims in the face of the production of a certain type of unity, or the implementation of certain national policies.

In battle!

Did you find micromanagement of your state complex? Know that managing the army is no small business too. Available or created troops are located on the map. If desired, it is possible to transport them to the theaters of war (the latter are created by selecting more units at the front) more or less quickly depending on the communication routes available; for example, having a railway accelerates travel times compared to normal roads.

Once a theater of war has been created, it is possible to assign a general or a commander (the first acts directly on the field, while the second moves the ranks from the rear) to obtain bonuses due to their skills. Then you can set the front line on which all selected troops will move. Finally, the occupation of the attacked territory can be planned. If you want, you can also move troops individually, but you lose a lot in terms of planning bonus and overall impact strength. Furthermore, men do not take advantage of the skills of other troops and superiors. So, for example, if you want to attack a single territory from several fronts, it is better to set them and work on the positioning of the troops by considering them as a whole as forces of an army, rather than managing them individually, risking losing them in reckless actions. A good management of the war fronts makes it possible to compensate for some shortcomings with tactics. Attacking an enemy from multiple fronts, allows for example to exploit the surprise effect, giving us victory even over forces that seemed superior to ours. Obviously you have to learn how to manage the different types of units. For example, good air support can make a difference in an apparently disadvantageous theater of war. After the planning phase, you can take the pause and see the result of our choices. The troops will move on the world map simulating battles, while the passage of time will be represented by the alternation of day / night, which will allow you to quickly realize how many days have passed.

PC System Requirements

Test Setup

  • Intel Core i7-4770 processor
  • 16 GB of RAM
  • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960 video card
  • Windows 10 operating system

Minimum requirements

  • Windows 7 64-bit or newer operating system
  • Processore Intel Core 2 Quad Q9400 @ 2.66 GHz / AMD Athlon II X4 650 @ 3.20 GHz
  • Scheda video ATI Radeon HD 5850 o NVIDIA GeForce GTX470 con 1GB VRAM
  • 4 GB of RAM
  • DirectX 9.0c
  • 2 GB disk space

Recommended Requirements

  • Processore Intel Core i5 750 @ 2.66 GHz / AMD Phenom II X4 955 @ 3.20 GHz
  • Scheda video ATI Radeon HD 6950 o NVIDIA GeForce GTX570 con 2GB VRAM

Comment

Digital Delivery Steam, Official Site Price 39,99 € Resources4Gaming.com

8.8

Readers (34)

8.2

Your vote

As you will have understood by reading the review, Hearts of Iron IV is a very complex title, which makes no secret of wanting to involve only a certain niche of players. Those who have experience with the previous chapters of the series, or even with another Paradox strategic game, will start with an advantage in understanding certain mechanics and some interface functions despite the fact that there are many innovations to discover. Beginners, on the other hand, will find themselves having to face a road with a steep slope, but which, once reached the top, will open onto a beautiful landscape full of points of interest. In this sense Hearts of Iron IV is an all-encompassing experience, which moreover has taken advantage of the criticisms received from the third chapter, to which it is much more accessible. Don't worry, not for simplification of the game mechanics, but above all for improvements in the interface, one of the aspects on which Paradox has worked the most in recent years (see also Stellaris). That said, those who have stripped away Hearts of Iron III will find themselves with the problem of having to start from scratch, that is to have a new game available, but with less content than they were used to from the plethora of DLCs published post launch. However, it must be said that Hearts of Iron IV offers so many new features that it is a real sequel and not just an update of something already seen. So even the most experienced players will have a lot to discover and study if they want to give their best.

PRO

  • Each choice affects the entire game
  • Lots of factors to take into consideration
  • Hey, Hitler, don't worry, otherwise I will ally myself with England
AGAINST
  • It is not the game to start with to enter the world of strategists
  • The tutorial is clear, but not very clear
  • Spanish is missing from the selectable languages
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