home > review > Hearts of Iron II: Doomsday Review
GamesFirst! Online since 1995
ups: Deep, multi-faceted strategy that Grognards will love ...
downs: ... but strategy newbs won't.

View Image Gallery || Get Prices

Hearts of Iron II: Doomsday Review
game: Hearts of Iron II: Doomsday
three star
posted by: Sean Hilliard
publisher: Koch Media
developer: Paradox Interactive
view related website
date posted: 12:12 PM Sun May 21st, 2006
last revision: 12:12 PM Sun May 21st, 2006

Click to read.I\'ve recently learned that Grognards are really advanced soldiers that worked for Napoleon back in the days after the French Revolution, but I still like the gaming-related definition better. According to the Gaming edition of Webster\'s (note: this is not a real dictionary), a Grognard can be defined as any arm-chair general who is hopelessly addicted to wargames of any kind. Also see the GamesFirst! T-shirt with the same theme.

It\'s important to keep in mind that while I don\'t consider myself a real Grognard, I play one on TV, err, online. And by this, I mean that I enjoy real-time and turn-based strategy games, but only the casual kind like Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War and Metal Gear Ac!d. When it comes to moving distant forces on a global map, you can consider me in hell.

So, naturally, any fans of Hearts of Iron should go into this review with a chunk of salt handy, and please don\'t nuke me for anything negative I may say under a haze of confusion during this review. I\'ll try to be as fair as possible.

The good news is, if you ever wanted to become a world leader during a war, even let\'s say, a war president, then this is the game for you. Unfortunately, if being given control of real, live nuclear weapons freaks you out, then the reverse is true and this is the game for you to steer clear of.

For a stand-alone expansion pack, Hearts of Iron II: Doomsday gets it right. Not only does it expand on the original game, it corrects a lot of the errors that game had.

Something gamers didn\'t like about the original Hearts of Iron was its tendency to end abruptly, usually right as you were about to sweep your enemies off the map. That\'s one of my main beefs with wargames - that tendency to stick to how things went historically. What\'s the point of creating your own country if you can\'t proceed to unleash cataclysm after cataclysm on your loyal populace. Label me blasphemous, but if I was God, this planet would have been consumed by the sun ages ago. Either that or dinosaur-evolved lizardmen would be running things.

But I digress, wargames shouldn\'t necessarily follow things historically. That\'s the whole point of virtual gaming - you get to escape from reality. If you\'re forced to plod along just like in real life, there\'s no point in having video games.

And a world without video games scares me to the point where I need a drink.

So, naturally, with a looming deadline on your military actions, you can get away with some cheap victories instead of completely routing your enemy like you should.

That\'s where Doomsday gets it right. But it doesn\'t stop there. It also adds spies to the mix. However, focusing exclusively on spies to determine what the enemy is up to can prove hazardous, as the computer is pretty good at stomping on your spies every once in awhile. And unfortunately, there\'s no instant Mata Hari command you can use to produce the temporarily unstoppable spy, because naturally that would make the game too easy.

Also, as with any strategy game, you have to worry about balancing your time between resource production and other things, which in Doomsday\'s case include technology research and diplomacy. Too much time spent producing resources may cause you to be nuked out of your boots, while too much technology research leaves you without any units to battle with.

It\'s all a crapshoot for anyone but the aforementioned Grognard.
In the end, if you are mythical lover of hardcore war strategy, then, by all means you could do a lot worse than picking up Hearts of Iron II: Doomsday. But the casual wargamer should definitely check out something a little lighter.

Click images for larger version

Click for larger. Click for larger. Click for larger. Click for larger. Click for larger.