Would love HOI2 reviews

I’ve checked out what I could find (the Wargamer review), but HOI2 makes me want good reviews I can trust more than most other games. Paradox’s games should be right in my wheelhouse, but they’ve always left me feeling cold. I’ve tried to play EU and EU2 countless times, but ended up frustrated at the feeling that I did not know what was really happening and why. It felt like battles would just be lost without reason, countries would simply ally and break alliances without reason, etc. Of course, I was also underwhelmed by the bugginess, and the tendency to release a “new game” a year after the intial beta test “original game” came out (the reason I didn’t buy HOI in the first place; I knew there would be an HOI2 in a year or so).

So what are the thoughts?

We’ve been discussing it a bit in this thread:


Would love to review it, but I suspect my copy is stuck in customs.

Canadian customs has gotten sooooooooooooooo slooooooooooooooow for some reason.

Well, I was a beta tester for the game so I guess I may be biased… But HoI2 is by far the best thing Paradox has done since EU2. It’s the game I feel HoI should have been, though like all of their titles is not without its own issues that will be patched (it’s definitely very playable though and in much better condition than previous releases).

Did you really like EU2?

I played EU2 a lot also. I think you have to be really into the history of the period to enjoy it though, if you look at it objectively it is pretty bland (in the sense of not giving you a lot of the flavor of the time you are playing in). But if you have read about it, thought about it, you’ll love the chance to play some of the events.

I also imagine it’s not as much fun for someone who can’t personally identify with any of the european countries, just as if you read a book and you can’t identify with any of the main characters.

If you like Paradox games and wanted to like HOI1, you’ll like HOI2. If you don’t like other Paradox games for the gameplay (massive scale, even more massive ambition, insane complexity) you won’t like HOI2.

I tried playing 1936 as Japan this weekend and got stalled in a line south of Beijing. Japan REALLY doesn’t have the industrial infrastructure in this game to pull off the global conquest thing. Or perhaps I just suck!

Then it’s quite realistic, since Japan in the time period actually didn’t have the industrial base to make the world conquest thing work :)

Well, I couldn’t match Japan’s historical performance in China, either. China in HOI2 starts as a fractured mess of several warlords and a raging Communist rebellion. By early 1939, China had absorbed all the warlords (including Mao) and was starting to break through my now-defensive lines in northern China. Meanwhile my industry couldn’t support the army I’d built.

Historically, by 1939 Japan had taken most of the Chinese coastline and knocked the Nationalists back into the mountainous interior. So either it’s harder to take out China than historically, or, again, I suck.

Did you really like EU2?[/quote]

Yes, Europa Universalis 2 is one of my favourite games ever and one of the few that never leaves my harddrive. I adore that game and nothing Paradox has done since has come close to matching the perfect balance between fun and complexity that EU2 had for me (they lost the fun somewhere). Nothing until HoI2 anyway.

I think you have to be really into the history of the period to enjoy it though

I definitely think an interest in the period would help, but I know many strat fans who loved the game without that interest - or who actually gained an interest and learned from playing it.

Unlike other Paradox games, EU/EU2 was actually very highly rated and got good reviews even from some mainstream mags (PC Gamer gave it 88% and it has an 86% average on gameranking for example)… So I do think there’s a very enjoyable game there for any strategy fan, though obviously not all will like it - and I can understand some of the complaints people have.

They lost the fun when they started taking every complaint from people who play their games obsessively as gospel. Issues that people faced in cuthroat MP had to be fixed, but this meant changing SP, which the hardcore thought was too easy anyway, etc. The end result is that after 8 plus patches, EU2 - still, to my mind, the best historical strategy game of the last five years - isn’t even the fun that it was. So much has changed that it requires quite a bit of reintroduction to make it the familiar friend that it was to me not so long ago.

This pattern of making the ultimate micromanagement game to challenge the “pros” was what gave us the original Hearts of Iron (which wasn’t a bad game by any means) and the oh-so-average Victoria. Both were diamonds buried under mounds of menus. And the Paradox patch-as-you-go system became standard operating procedure.

Crusader Kings was a much simpler game - even crude and underdone by some measurements. The central concept of “crusading” didn’t (and still doesn’t) work all that well. But damn if it wasn’t fun. It was a great soap opera game, though very easy (most of their games are once you find your bearings) and a little silly. But the challenge of making a stable family unit was great - even if uncle Willie sometimes went sociopathic and murdered half of the court. The curse of the grognard/systems analyst was broken. (Even if someone did quickly invent a tool that allowed you to find the perfect CK bride for your son. And they wonder why they stop having fun…)

I haven’t played HoI2 yet, so I’ll reserve any solid commentary on it till later. But I like what I’m hearing.


Yeah, HOI2 is definitely much more of what I wanted HOI1 to be. They have improved air & naval combat massively, as well as the tech system. Unlike usual Paradox “improvements”, which are making something 1000x more complex than it needs to be (c.f. Victoria), they actually streamlined those systems into something usable. Not that they couldn’t go even further, but they are playable now. The same is true, though to a lesser degree, with the convoy & trade system.

The new battle scenarios are nice too, though I wish there was something in between “2 months, no production & research” and “the entire freaking world with all systems on max detail”.

Anyways, I highly recommend it if you like grand strategy WW2 and don’t mind rolling up your sleeves to delve into a complex game. The worst thing about it is still definitely just the scale – you have to keep track of a LOT of stuff to play even the “simpler” nations like the USSR.

Oh man. I installed the game, and the next thing I knew six hours had somehow passed and the French stabbed me in the back and invaded the Reich as I mopped up in Poland. Don’t they know their history? They’re supposed to stay behind their bloody wall until I’m good and ready for them. Stupid French. I’ll get some sleep, and then I’ll start over again. For Germany and Adolf!. Well, maybe not for Adolf, but you get the idea.From my somewhat limited experience I’d say they’ve fixed most of the flaws in the original game. Automatic unit upgrades for one.

A final bit of advice, that might be obvious. If an enemy takes over a territory with an airfield on it you can kiss all your fighter/bomber divisions stationed there goodbye. Rebase the planes if it looks like you’re losing. I lost 90% of my airforce this way, which might explain why the French gave me such a beatdown.


Scott Jennings sez: Buy This Game. Most polished Paradox game yet, doesn’t crash, has varied degrees of manageability and pace, respects history, and doesn’t need a fan-made mod to be fun.

Try the Spanish Civil War scenario. The only rules system omitted there is the diplomacy/politics model, and that’s handled through events. It’s a real challenge winning as the Republicans (I finally managed through decent strategy and tons of militia) and lasts about 3-4 hours or so. It’s also a great way to learn the impact of the economic system, as how you allocate very limited resources vs upgrades, reinforcements or new production basically determines how the game will proceed.

After playing maybe 10+ hours I’ve figured out why I don’t like HoI as much as I did EU2 which I adored. It just gets to be too much micromanagement dealing with the war. By comparison, in EU2 I’d have 2-3 armies in play at any one time. Mayb 4-5 if I was playing a large nation or was pursuing an offensive campaign. In my HoI game as the germans I have 8 air corps, and ten to twelve army corps. By the time I invade Russia and need to widen my frontage and produce more units I fully expect that number to double, if not triple. And not only have the number of units changed, the effort that’s needed to manage them is also much greater. Unlike EU2 you spend most, or all, the game at war which means that generally your units needs constant attention. Move an army here, rebase an air corps there, plan for a major spring offensive, check the productions sliders so that you don’t waste reinforcements/upgrades etc. Multiply that management with the number of units and you have a major headache. HoI2 is still much better than HoI1, but my feeling is that the game engine is not adequate for a war game of such a scope.

I’ll take a break from my German campaign and try some minor nations and try to get a better feel for the interface. I might as well, it’s 1940, I’ve crushed France and I can’t for the life of me figure out how I’ll get cross the English Channel. I wonder if I should spend a year building up for it and ignore Russia until 1942. Might be a bad idea given Russia’s historically dangerous level of competence by 1942, but I can’t see how I can afford a two-front war, and I aim to draw atleast some lessons from history.