Hearts of Iron III

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Hearts of Iron III review
Marcus Mulkins


A great game for micromanagers

Other Pluses and Minuses

My biggest complaint about the game is that it has no end. That is, when the last of the nations in an opposing alliance surrenders, the game doesn't conclude. Your alliance remains, and as a member of that alliance, you can actually drag the member nations into your wars of expansion. For instance, as France I took control of almost all of Germany and Italy. When they surrendered, because I controlled their capitals, I inherited their colonies. The war ended, but then I launched a war against China from my Indo-China possessions (just so I could get next to Japan, which had never actually joined the Axis before the Axis collapsed) - and UK joined me, along with the other Allies. And again when I attacked Japan. And again when I attacked the USSR. And again.... By the "end" of the game, France controlled over half of the world's land mass. It was fun to systematically conquer the world, but totally unrealistic.

One of the neat things about the Diplomacy section of the game involves a large triangle. At one point is the Allies, consisting of France and the UK. At another point is the Axis, consisting of Germany and Italy. And at the third is the Commintern, allied Communists, consisting of the USSR, Mongolia, and Tannu Tuva. All other countries lie inside the triangle and are toward each of the points to a certain degree. Effectively, they are definitely drifting away from one and towards the other two, one more than the other. Member nations in each alliance can invest "diplomatic points" to nudge unaligned nations toward their alliance at a faster rate. The closer a given nation is to one of the alliances, the more likely it is to accept an invitation to join that alliance. An alliance "wins" the game by having every other nation belong to its alliance. In practice, the closest that is likely to occur is to simply conquer every nation belonging to a competing alliance.

If you've ever played any of the Europa Universalis games, then you are painfully familiar with Rebellions. Same thing happens here in Occupied Territories. Even after you've Annexed a conquered nation into your nation proper, granting the former foreigners citizenship in your glorious nation, the ingrates WILL rebel. And if you're so busy elsewhere you have to ignore them, they WILL start to migrate into you're backyard, removing one province after another from productivity. Nothing you can do will placate or appease the malcontents, so you're forced to send forces after them. And then allocate a substantial amount of your Production to the creation of Security units to scatter all over what you feel sure should be "pacified" territories.

A serious problem (in my humble opinion) has to do with the Technology and Production queues. Each item in a queue has an anticipated date of completion. You can juggle items in a queue in a priority arrangement, most important items at the top. My preference is to order items according to the completion dates, which may change for a variety of reasons. Shifting items in a queue is no problem - at first. But the more shifts you make to the list, the more drag it puts on the computer, resulting in longer and longer processing times for the computer to change an item's location in the queue. It quickly (@25-50 alterations) gets to the point that it is literally faster to Save the game and Quit to desktop and then restart the game, than it is to simply keep making changes. Spending a full minute or more just to shift an item to the top or bottom of the queue is just waaaayyyy to long.

Since I prefer to play my games solitaire, I really can't say how well the multiplayer version works. I imagine that provided you can get enough players to stick with it, a multiplayer game could be seriously fun. Humans seem to play more aggressively than the AI, and more than one nation working energetically to move the war along could makes things....eventful. And multiple alliances, all pushing hard.... Hmm. Maybe I'll rethink that solitaire only stance.


fun score

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