Flying the flag
May 2nd 1945. Alyosha Kovalyov raises the flag of the Soviet Union over the Reichstag in Berlin, in a reconstruction of earlier events. This symbolic event signified the fall of Germany and the end of the bloodiest conflict the world has ever seen. The Red Army photographer, Yevgeny Khaldei, wanted a picture to raise morale and Soviet prestige at home, like the photograph of the flag being raised atop Mount Suribachi on Iwo Jima by American marines on February 23rd 1945. How fitting then that the 2nd expansion to Paradox Interactive’s turn-based strategy game Hearts of Iron III, For the Motherland features the Reichstag picture when the first expansion, Semper Fi, featured the Iwo Jima flag. Is this second expansion the propaganda boost Hearts of Iron III needs, or does it simply breed false hope?
Promising a whole host of additions to Hearts of Iron III, For the Motherland has a lot to live up to. One of the most important things, from a technological standpoint, is the new multi-core processor support. In-game, this has had a drastic effect on both the AI, which has improved dramatically over previous versions with situations such as neutrality being dealt with in a much better way, and the game itself, with map-scrolling and zooming being a much smoother and quicker process. This helps the budding military dictator within you to concentrate on making the correct decisions rather than having your train of thought derailed by jarring passages of time.
Vive la Resistance!
Speaking of derailments, the locomotive’s worst enemy in the Second World War, the Partisan resistance movements, have been introduced into Hearts of Iron III. Government in exile? Why not undermine the occupiers of your country through an organized resistance force, funded by your allies? You now can and should, as it adds a whole new aspect to undermine the occupier’s regime. Want to undermine a particular political ideology? You can do that too. The Partisan system works incredibly well in bringing a new dimension of warfare, and is a perfect expansion to the already complicated art of warfare.
There are more additions to combat, and the effectiveness of combat, in For the Motherland in the form of ‘war-goals’. War-goals allow you to set specific territorial claims or political motives for going to war, whilst simultaneously allowing you to set key objectives in your enemy’s dominion to capture. This allows you to concentrate on specific objectives and fulfil them through the war. This is also evident in the involvement of certain countries: those who have lost territories to other countries prior to the war, such as Finland losing certain territory to the Soviet Union, can now align themselves with the Axis with the specific goal of regaining that territory without getting involved in the remainder of the war, meaning that the Finnish army would only need to see action in the Eastern theatre rather than send forces to help the Axis in places such as France and Italy where they have no need to do so. This feature allows countries to define what they want to do in the war more concisely and more obviously, allowing the player to keep their armies advancing towards their goal more effectively than in previous iterations of Hearts of Iron III.
Better performance and historical experience. You don’t have to play as a major country to make a difference. Easier than ever to supply your invading force. New Mini-Campaigns offer more flexibility in your games. Partisan system. Theatre System.
Supply problems often grind your war machine to a halt. Occupied countries instantly become puppets. UK and USA have an unfair advantage as their economies are incorrectly set up. Incompatible with Dies Irae Götterdämmerung.