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Publisher: Virtual Programming    Genre: Strategy & War
Min OS X: Any Version    CPU: G3 @ 500 MHz    RAM: 256 MB

Hearts of Iron 2: Doomsday
October 24, 2006 | Michael Scarpelli

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If it looks like a lot is happening here, that's because a lot is happening here.
Here I am, back for round two with WWII. Hearts of Iron II: Doomsday is an expansion to Paradox Interactive’s definitive World War II simulation, Hearts of Iron II. HOI2, as the game will be abbreviated herein, is as massive a simulation game as WWII was a big freakin’ actual war. The game is a beast both in terms of data and accuracy, and in the amount of dedication and time required to play it. However, for those with the simulation itch or for those who simply love history, there aren’t many more exhilarating experiences than HOI2.

HOI2 covers the years of WWII up to 1947 and the “winner” of the game is determined at that point by which forces (Allied, Axis, Comintern) have the most victory points, determined by the number of valuable provinces controlled by each power. The game is played mainly on a global map, accurate for the time period. Military groups are given orders and moved around the map similar to a game of Risk beefed up on illegal steroids. The gamer controls all manner of military units (almost literally ALL possible units) present in that era. Units are named according to their nation and the gamer can control around 20 nations involved in the conflict. Gamers can try their hand with one of the major players, such as Germany or the U.K.; they can take a still important, but less resource heavy role like Canada (I got dinged for downplaying the role of the butt-kickin’ Canucks in my last review… not so this time!); or they can be minimally involved as Argentina or Brazil.

Units are named accurately for the time period and they behave and respond accurately as well. Action is only played out in the form of sliding bar for battles (the more of the bar that’s green, the better for your side of the battle), but in the background a lot of complex operations are being carried out. Battle conditions such as terrain, weather and time of day matter. How long enemy units have been stationary and “dug-in” matters. The Commanding officer for your troops matters. The number of troops he’s controlling matters. The supply efficiency to those troops matters. The support from nearby provinces matters. Everything in HOI2 is hideously, and gloriously, complicated. It’s difficult to take any action at all lightly.

On top of simple military movement and commands (Support Attack, Support Defense, Rebase, Shore Bombardment, Runway Cratering, Ground Attack, etc.) the gamer controls the technology for their nation, electing which projects will be worked on and picking what industrial group will work on them. Who is elected and what is worked on will determine how quickly research will be developed, which in turn will alter which units can be produced as well as adding any number of bonuses to the functioning of the gamer’s troops and nation. Doomsday doesn’t change the tech system much, but does expand it and update it, allowing for more advanced technology along the timeline for the game.


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