Ciprian Borcescu, the new writer on SI, brings you this pre-look on Hearts of Iron sequel that's sheduled for early 2005 release
The sequel to Hearts of Iron, Paradox's World War 2 grand strategy title, seems to remedy most of the mistakes of its predecessor, which was mostly a variation of the Europa Universalis engine, its complexity being one of the major downsides of the game. While in the first Hearts of Iron events didn’t always turn out historically, you could always have some of the more hostile factions applying political pressure on more feeble countries, like Germany tending to influence Austria more and more.
Various additional issues have been fixed as well. Aircrafts no longer keep flying missions repeatedly waiting to be told to halt by a player. Now they have a timer which the player can set for beginning and ending an action, whether they have to fly missions in daylight or not (or both) or at what strength level. Therefore, now you can command your bombers to attack an armored division only for 5 days, only at night and only if they have at least a certain percentage of their combat strength. Air fleets will have limited mobility. They will only be able to station in pre-built air stations. Of course, the player can build new ones, but this takes up quite a long time.
Planning things in advance is one of the most important things to keep in mind when playing Hearts of Iron 2. Careers take more than a year to develop so gathering enough resources and labor for the next-generation career can prove an easier task than choosing what it would be. Researching new military doctrines and technologies can give you a precious advantage over the opposing force. Playing a diplomatic game with other nations will help you gain resources or assistance when needed. Every decision, even though it would seem small in the beginning, can affect how things develop after a certain period of time.
The amount of provinces has been dramatically increased, as can be seen when looking at the map, parting forces even further but making encirclements a little more likely happen - especially in the large open steppes of Russia.
Shipping early next year, Hearts of Iron 2 still has to make some improvements, but it is most likely to bring satisfaction to hardcore strategy gamers, and with a bit of luck, could make other gamers take a peek at it too. We look forward to seeing Hearts of Iron 2 on the shelves next year.