Hearts of Iron III – PC Gaming Preview

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Are you a PC strategy gamer? If so then Hearts of Iron III may be the next game for you.

A World War II  is a grand strategy game in which you can macro and micro manage your ground troops, control the oceans, and patrol the sky’s. The game is played on a world map with more than 14,000 land and sea Providences, 15,000 character counters, and 50,000 troops and units to maneuver

I got to sit down at E3 with producer Johan Andersson and take a look at this game. To see what I think of the game look to the other side…

You can choose to play as any nation between 1936 and 1948. For our demo We started the game in 1939 Germany but they are recommending that if you have never played these games before that you start in 1938 as Nationalist Spain.

“You start at war against the Republic, but they are already hemmed in and you have a marked superiority. This will allow you to get straight into fighting a war. However it is a small localised war on a single front allowing you to focus fully in on this war without getting yourself diverted. The advantages you have mean that mistakes won’t be 100% instantly fatal to your plans for victory.”

They have made their interface more accessible keeping it familiar for their current fan base, and at the same time trying to make it easy for new players to get into and enjoy. From what I saw the interface seems pretty easy to understand and navigate.

There is a hierarchy structure within the units that enables you to navigate around your formation even down to brigades, with 20 different types of brigades. If you click on a component brigades of a division you can view information about the brigade like its technology level. The stats of your divisions are effected by the attributes of the brigades you put together to build your divisions. All units are attached to theatres at the beginning of a scenario so they can all be accessed.

You can turn over the Diplomacy, Production, Technology, Politics and Intelligence to the AI and allow the AI to run each or some of these for you. It cannot of course play exactly like you would play. As you create units you can deploy them manually or you can create them and leave it up to the AI to deploy them. You can assign some or none of your units over to the AI but you loose the ability to assign individual divisions. You can assign a Head Quarters unit in your command structure over to the AI. 

You will find are three different ways to direct air units. You can select a single province, a four province region, or you can select a radius of operation. If you choose the latter you will be required to define a range, direction, and cone width, or maximum range if you choose a circle default rather than a cone default.

 There are four stances you can assign to Head Quarters: Prepare, Defensive, Attacking, and Blitzing.  For a little more definition of direction you can define an axis of advance to a HQ and it will try to advance in that direction, or you can assign a providence as an objective to a HQ.

I have long been a fan of strategy games that started as a child with a love of playing board games.  This game has intrigued me enough that I am thinking I will play some of the prequels while I am waiting for August to roll around. The maps look great and the strategy potential is enormous.

If you would like to preorder this game you can do it here Hearts of Iron 3

If you would like to purchase any of the earlier games in the Hearts of Iron series then you can do that here Hearts of Iron
Hearts of Iron 2 Hearts of Iron Anthology

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