Been asked by a couple of people how I feel about Hearts of Iron IV, so thought I’d share my first impressions on the game. Had a bit of a nerd out yesterday eve - two other hardcore HoI fans came over to my place and we started playing as the Empire of the Rising Sun, Japan, until almost 2am. Lots of drinking and game mechanic discussions ensued. :LOL:[/justify]
Pros - Improvements:
- The map screen is the best - not only within the series, but of all the classic Paradox games (CK, EU, HoI). Finally terrain can be seen in a very comprehensive manner simultaneously with weather and political information. I find myself switching map modes far less often than with other Paradox games. To be fair though, this plays much bigger role when playing on higher difficulty levels as you’ll need every advantage you can get.
- The UI is generally speaking much improved over HoI II & III. Call me an old fart but during longer sessions of previous titles the tiny font and UI windows gave me a headache. I appreciate the expanded notification system which really keeps you on top of things in the heat of a campaign, especially when it comes to directing the air force.
- Graphics aren’t everything in a Paradox game, but I have to admit HoI IV looks pretty damn great. I loved the look of HoI II but had issues with III mainly because I felt that the 3D unit models (when zoomed in) clashed too hard with the very flat 2D background. Now everything "pops" out right at ya and it really adds to the immersion of a heated front line.
- Animations have been much improved as well, most importantly regarding air and naval combat. Even the infantry got a ton of different animation loops for various tasks (including exercising).
- Issuing orders via the front and attack line planning system works like a charm. I really enjoy that it lets you give overall control to the AI but still gives you full manual control whenever you desire it. Generally it works a lot smoother than the AI front line system of HoI III.
- The new production and construction systems are very compelling indeed, I used to loath construction in HoI II and III but here it’s much better organised in terms of UI and mechanics. The change-over from "money" to IC as main trading good works also really well. It makes you carefully choose between trading off civilian factories for resources or keeping them for construction work. This adds much more to the risk vs reward mentality than just trading off "money" which you wouldn’t really use for anything else in the game. On the military side of things it’s also much more interesting: before you always just produced generic "supplies". Now you have to produce replacement material / parts and ammo for every single unit class you create as well as picking the right time to roll-out an update because every time you change a production line efficiency plummets. So sometimes you will be compelled to keep producing small arms level 1 even though you have already researched level 2 because you need a shit ton of small arms right now and can’t afford to take a hit to production efficiency. This is the first time that HoI production lines kept me at the edge of my seat. :LOL:
- Streamlining of the force management system. This is very much personal preference and I know a lot of people were turned off by the very detailed and at times tedious Order of Battle system of HoI III but to me the new command system just feels "wrong". I believe the system of III should be available to players as a toggle option, similar to the "arcade" mode of HoI III’s supply system. If you were a die-hard fan of III’s Order of Battle system you may want to skip IV or wait until the expansions (maybe) add more depth to it.
[justify]This first impression is by no means "complete" as I haven’t finished a full play through yet. So I’ll add more thoughts to the thread as I go along with the campaign.
If you’re still unsure whether or not you enjoy these changes I recommend watching quill18’s Italy campaign (pre-release version). Really gives you a very good sense of how the game plays.[/justify]