Hearts of Iron III

The most in-depth strategy game ever made in the history of gaming.

By RON, Posted 17 Sep 2011

WWII is one of the most popular episodes of human history when it comes to making games. Besides numerous first or third person shooters, there are very few games that came under the strategy genre. The reason can be the history itself, which you can never alter towards a different happening. Whereas in a strategy game because of its nature; it can be a reckless fun if you can change the course of our history. In Hearts of Iron III you can take any country that existed during the WWII; from Germany to Costa Rica and get involved to change that history. As almost everyone knows what happened during that time, you can alter the critical situations to rebuild what did not take place in history.

Hearts of Iron III is not only a strategy game, but it’s one of the most in-depth strategy games ever made. You can be deeply puzzled when you’ll first load it up. This isn’t a situation when a strategy gamer would be surprised with the new look and feel; a very common condition with starting a new strategy game. Unfortunately though, this isn't the case with Hearts of Iron III. The game is dreadfully difficult even after going through all the tutorials if offers; which aren’t in fact helpful by any means. Any strategy gamer would take only days to learn how to play but weeks to fully understand it.  It is, however, a worthwhile experience when you learn the game and start playing it for victory. So many details have hardly been implemented in any strategy game ever before.

Hearts of Iron III, Review, HoI III
Your one and the only view towards world domination

As a player you’ll be given the role of the President of a nation of your choice, driving your nation from the year 1935 to 1947. During this time your main objective is to win WWII. You’ll have to diplomatically direct your army, make alliances, manage your economy, utilize and control your resources and productions. Each of these sections has separate menus with all the necessary details. Gamers who are familiar with the Hearts of Iron series won’t have much trouble managing everything for a clean victory, but they will be surprised to see the number of new features have been added, while not deviating much from its origin.

Among them are new units, a more detailed map and interface, enhanced control over the game and if you are doing everything right, nearby nations will be more watchful towards you. It requires you to spend at least 50-70 hours per game, though during most of the time you’ll have to keep the game on pause and manage your resources and other essentials. You can manipulate the game speed and can also adjust the clock setting according to your GMT. But pay attention when you do, because attacking an opponent’s base during daylight gives you more efficiency than during the night.

Even though time is an essential factor to the game, you’ll hardly see any visuals to support it. You’ll barely experience anything showy other than your main map screen, which contains only the political outlines and units by sprites and markers. Taking the mouse over the units will show you their details and zooming into it will show its types. Then again, these visuals are nowhere closer to what we see in most of the strategy games. This won’t bother you much because you’ll have enough tools to keep yourself busy micromanaging your nation and have tons of macro level tools to take you deep into each battle. Though you can relax a little by automating features like research, gathering intelligence or even diplomacy, unlike most games you won’t lose focus on what’s happening around. With regular pop-up messages you’ll always be notified when your actions affect your nation.Don’t be overwhelmed, because the game doesn’t suggest you anything useful when there is a problem to attend.

If you aren’t familiar with HoI series, it can be very annoying when you can clearly see you have a major problem, but you don’t know the tools well enough to resolve it. As mentioned earlier, the tutorials are a total letdown because they don’t help you learn how to solve problems. Even if you restart the game to avoid certain problems, other types will appear and you won’t have many options but to surrender or lose territories. This can be very frustrating and can be considered as a major lacking factor of this game.


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Even with its shortcomings, HoI3 is exceptionally rich in representing history with precision. Name a weapon or vehicle that existed during WWII in any nation, the game has it for you. Not only that, certain units and political figures of each nation active during the WWII are also in the game. HoI3 can easily be described as an encyclopedia of WWII. If United States is your nation, you will find Franklin D. Roosevelt as the Head of State, John Nance Garner as the Head of Government, and Cordell Hull as the Foreign Minister. Each political person provides your country certain benefits and disadvantages too. You can replace a political figure with a historically accurate contemporary to utilize the benefits he provides. As a president of your nation, you must put the right person to obtain appropriate benefits to support your units and solitary strategy of the war. Rest assured that it won’t be anything near an easy task to accomplish.

There is however, one handy feature that can really take off a chunk of pressure, which is the co-op mode. You and your friends can play as one country and each of you can manage specific departments. I highly recommend this because it makes the game more meaningful and each player will be able to experience the activities of a nation’s presidential acquisitions. No other strategy game has ever provided such fascinating feature before, and it’s great to see it here.

Hearts of Iron III might not be an absolute success, but it is by far the most enhanced and involved strategy game developed today. Despite a lack of a good tutorial, the game is very rewarding if you spend serious time on it. If strategy games are your obsession, you should never miss this complex and yet joyful experience of winning a historical war.

Sarwar Ron, NoobFeed
Twitter | +SarwarRon

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  • This reminds me of Axis and Allies game. This is something I would like to try!


    Posted Sep 17, 2011

  • Axis and Allies is the bomb.


    Posted Sep 17, 2011

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General Information

Platform(s): PC
Publisher(s): Paradox Interactive
Developer(s): Paradox Interactive
Genres: Real-Time Strategy
Themes: Grand Strategy
Release Date: 2009-08-22

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