Hearts of Iron II: Doomsday
(Publisher: Paradox Interactive)
Review by John and Matt Barratt
The original Hearts of Iron game sharply polarised much of the gaming
community. Some loved it for its innovative design and ideas. Others would have
loved to love it, but were deterred by various flaws and rough edges.
Many of these problems were addressed, and to a large extent overcome, in the
totally re-vamped and redesigned Hearts of Iron II- so much so that
the immediate reaction to the latest incarnation, Hearts of Iron II: Doomsday
might understandably be "is there enough new to make purchasing it worth
while?" The answer, at least for hardened HOI grogs, is "yes".
The feature which will initially strike players is that the long campaign
scenario has been extended until 1953, and a new scenario added at the end of
that period covering the Cold War turning "hot" following a lethal nuclear
onslaught by the west on Soviet forces driving deep into Western Germany. This
scenario throws the player straight into combat without the preliminary
production and diplomatic cycle of the main campaign game, and he will find
himself in the thick of battle from the start, and desperately throwing
together some sort of improvised plan whilst reacting to fast-moving events on
the global battlefield.
Whilst this new scenario alone might not be sufficient incentive for many to
purchase the game, there are also a number of substantial new features added
and improvements made to the HOI 2 system. Many of these are intended
to streamline the handling of , in particular, some of the economic and
production routines. If desired, for example, the AI can now auto-manage trade
with other countries, as well as the allocation of IC resources, the player
having the option to set priorities for the AI to take into account.
There have also been significant changes to the technology tree, building on
the increased realism of HOI 2 . Some of these reflect the additional
technological capacity of the additional time-span of the new main scenario.
For example many new aircraft types have been added to represent the continued
development of the turbo-jet, a-historical premature production being prevented
by the requirement to complete the "secret weapon" of jet propulsion first. The
development of other technological innovations such as "plastics" is also
Perhaps the most significant new feature of HOI 2:Doomsday , is the
addition of a completely new "intelligence" feature. This includes advances in
"encryption and decryption", reflecting such major factors as ULTRA. Even more
significantly, a player may now produce "spies" to operate in other countries,
not only to provide intelligence, but also to carry out subversive operations
such as sabotage, smear campaigns against ministers and even assassinations.
Being caught out in such operations in peacetime can however result in a
significant penalty in terms of diplomatic relations with the country
Equally important in the "intelligence" system is the production of agents to
operate at home in the "player's own "counter-intelligence" teams.
The combat system has not changed greatly from that in HOI 2 , but one
significant addition is that leaders can now accumulate and develop several
particular characteristics and skills as a result of their combat performance.
A leader may, for example, as a result of his experience in these conditions,
become an expert in mountain or urban warfare.
This is coupled with significant improvements in the AI's ability to conduct
coherent combat operations on a large scale, providing a noticeably tougher
opponent than before.
This is a joint review conveying the impressions of one individual who has
hitherto not been altogether at ease with the HOI system, and another
who has followed its progress closely. As a relative "freshman", one of us,
(JB) whilst still somewhat swamped in actual combat situations, finds the other
new features of the game both realistic and challenging. The other, (MB) at
ease with both aspects, warmly recommends the additional features of HOI 2:
Doomsday as a very significant further advance in the evolution of HOI.
Minimum Recommended Specs
Pentium 3 -800
600 MB HD space
4MB Video card Direct-X 9 compatible
Pentium 4- 3.20
128 MB Radeon 9800 video card
Review by John and Matt Barratt (firstname.lastname@example.org)