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Hearts of Iron 2

About.com Rating 4 Star Rating


The Bottom Line

Hearts of Iron II is by far the most detailed World War 2 strategy game period. Nothing comes close, except the original Hearts of Iron, which unfortunately had a lot of flaws, bugs and such hard to manage interface it made playing almost painful at times. Hearts of Iron II fixes some of the daunting user interface problems and gives players six tutorials that will get you started on the fast track to learning the basics of the game.
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  • Extremely detailed and historically based.
  • User interface much improved over Hearts of Iron.
  • Ability to play any of 130 nations.


  • Rules still are a bit complicated and difficult to learn.
  • AI is a little weak, but mods and add ons are sure to address this.


  • Command one of 130 countries throught the trying times of World War 2.
  • Manage all aspects of your nation; military, economics, diplomacy, and research and development.
  • Virtually limitless replayability with different countries and different outcomes of the war.
  • Excellent modding community that offers enhancements to the base HOI2 game and full game mods.

Guide Review - Hearts of Iron 2

At first glance Hearts of Iron II looks like a typical WW2 strategy game, an Axis & Allies board game knockoff some might say. But taking a deeper look you'll find that it's so much more. The historical detail involved is nothing short of incredible. Spanning the years leading up to and past World War 2, you have the option to play any one of 130 countries, the Axis, Allies and other countries you wouldn't think of, with the path to war or peace for your nation resting entirely in your hands.

Managing your nation's military is just one element of HOI2. You must also manage the economy, resources, production, technology and research, as well as diplomacy. There doesn't seem to be a single element that is more important than another; production must be carefully managed by distributing manpower and resources, while research into new technologies must have enough funding and smart enough scientists to stay ahead of or keep pace with the enemy's advancements. Diplomacy offers you the ability to sign treaties, trade, declare war, and more.

Hearts of Iron II has a dedicated modding community that has/will release enhancements and fixes to the game's AI, images, as well as offering full mods that turn HOI2 into a game set during World War I, The Cold War, Alternate History, and more. Strategy game fans should be more than satisfied with the detail that Paradox has delivered and for those were frustrated with the original HOI should find this to be be much more friendly and fun.

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