Hearts of Iron 4 - war at its very highest level

By Chris Hayes - Game Review

Published 25/06/2016 | 00:00

There likely isn't anyone among us who hasn't contemplated alternative outcomes to the devastating Second World War. Paradox Development Studios have offered gamers numerous opportunities to rewrite the course of global history - most notably with their fantastic Crusader Kings and Europa Universalis series.

Enter Hearts of Iron 4, possibly the most comprehensive and responsive Paradox title yet - a game that allows us to rewrite the path so destructively carved out by World War II in breathtaking detail.

While Hearts of Iron 4 is certainly not a sandbox game in the style of Paradox's other sprawling franchises, it still carries many of the same attributes and stylystic choices. In lieu of the 'sandbox' approach, we are instead gifted with an incredibly deep and large scenario that can play out in many, many different ways.

Outside of the big, pre-war dance of alignment and backstabbing, Hearts of Iron 4 is essentially a globe-spanning war simulation.

The sheer range you are given to play with in terms of micro-management is incredible. One moment you can be guiding an individual division in a flanking manouver in Moscow, the next you could find yourself commanding an assault along your front line stretching across all of Africa.

As was the case during the real-world World Wars, Hearts of Iron 4 pulls you out of the horrors of war and into the furthest possible perspective - a cold and pragmatic position where war is numbers and numbers only.

The stories of individual soldiers are lost in the spreadsheets. Germany, Italy and Ethiopia are simply goals - not collections of peoples.

Hearts of Iron 4 is war at its very highest level. This is absolutely not a game for the Call of Duty fanatics out there. Even seasoned Civilisation players may find themselves at a loss amidst the task of moving millions of soldiers across the globe effectively and efficiently.

This is a very deep game that requires some fairly intense cognitive acrobatics to become an adept player, but one that can be incredibly rewarding. Hearts of Iron 4 is a dream for any history buffs that double as gamers, but don't let that deter you. With some dedication and perseverence this is a solid recommendation for anyone.




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