Darkest Hour: A Hearts of Iron Game

More info »

Darkest Hour: A Hearts of Iron Game review
Andrew Hallam


Screwing With History: 20th Century Edition

If It Ain't Broke, Improve It!

Darkest Hour uses the same engine as Hearts of Iron 2, which makes it feel extremely similar to the original. In fact, it is so similar that you can even use Hearts of Iron 2 mods with Darkest Hour without fear of compatibility issues. The graphics are your typical grand strategy mash of classic board game style with the units displayed as appropriately modelled 2D sprites. Grand strategy, much like war, isn't pretty. The beauty of it is, though, that it doesn't matter. The unit sprites and images are informative and detailed enough to make you appreciate the effort. They arent flashy enough to slow the game down and their don't aim to overload your eyes with too many shiny animations and details at once, letting you focus on the main gameplay which is focused on poring over numbered statistics.

The soundtrack, such as it is, consists of a relatively long music track which loops seamlessly forever. While it's a nice enough track and will keep the silence at bay for the first few hours of playing, it's best to just turn it off and stick on your own music instead. You don't need background music when you're commanding the armies of Russia against the French hordes!

Where Darkest Hour excels is in its simple, yet effective improvements to the Hearts of Iron 2 engine. The game now runs a lot smoother, the diplomacy between nations actually feels like it makes an impact and the AI is now smart enough to prove quite the challenge. But don't be mistaken, this is not a full game by all means. Darkest Hour can be most accurately described as a large update patch for Hearts of Iron II with all its expansion packs rolled into one neat package. If you have Hearts of Iron 2 already you are probably not going to get much out of spending 7.99 on Darkest Hour. However, if you're new to the series Darkest Hour is a great place to start.

Armchair General

As a fan of the Paradox Interactive's grand strategy titles I found it hard to justify the price take, such as it is, for this standalone edition to the series. In essence, it feels like a Hearts of Iron 2.5 with everything that we knew and loved about Hearts of Iron 2 and its expansions packed into one quite small game - complemented with some very welcome tweaks to gameplay and performance but without the improved graphics and interface of Hearts of Iron 3. There's no doubt that newcomers to the series will have a blast with Darkest Hour without having to get into Hearts of Iron 2 but for veterans of the series, it might be best to give this one a miss.


fun score


Good for newbies wanting to get into the series. Great gameplay and performance enhancements.


Not enough new content to justify its price tag.