HEARTS OF IRON 3: SEMPER FI (expansion)
Hearts of Iron 3: Semper Fi is an upcoming downloadable expansion to Hearts of Iron 3. Semper Fi gives players more control over their country’s warfare and politics, while pleasing history buffs with a variety of new features and events. Hearts of Iron 3: Semper Fi is scheduled for release during Q2 2010.
The upcoming expansion Hearts of Iron 3: Semper Fi Features will include:
- Player-determined hidden victory conditions that will keep opponents guessing
- Greater cooperation with allies, allowing players to request troops, convince their allies to attack a specific target and more
- Hundreds of new events added to immerse players in their own version of World War II, comparing the unfolding, alternate timeline to real history
- Vastly improved AI that will defend its territories valiantly, marshal large naval taskforces and launch multi-stage invasion
HEARTS OF IRON 3 (main game)
Hearts of Iron III (HOI 3) is a grand-scale strategy game designed by enthusiasts of World War II history, and focused on the military, political, economic and diplomatic interactions worldwide between 1936 - 1948. Every effort at maximizing both realism and playability has been made, and an excellent balance has been found.
It is the first strategy game of its type with a realistic supply system, which individually accounts for units of supply or fuel on its way to the units at the front, allowing interdiction of supply by the enemy, or interruption because of bottlenecks on muddy roads. The weather system is a detailed simulation just by itself, and the impact of weather is realized on the battlefield. An intricate system of research and development for new weapons will make a difference over time. There is much here for those who seek historical detail and accuracy.
At the same time, no game has ever implemented this degree of flexibility for players who might otherwise be overwhelmed by the detail. The system of Theatre Commanders and Headquarters networks allow any player to set most or all of the war on “autopilot” while he or she concentrates on whatever elements they so desire. You have all the complex instruments of war at your fingertips if you want them, yet you have the freedom to defer most or all of the minor decisions to artificial ministers or generals so you can either enjoy the broad overview of the game, or learn how to play it gradually.
HOI 3 is designed primarily as a wargame, with the emphasis on combat and military units. However, any student of history will tell you there are non-combat aspects to war which are often more important than even the combat itself. In HOI 3, these aspects are represented through your ability to direct your economy, to manage your resources, to pursue diplomatic objectives, set research priorities, etc. It’s all done with the goal of providing a realistic representation of the challenges and elements faced by the real-life commanders from the World War II era.
HOI 3 is accurate enough in its portrayal of division-level warfare that many of the strategies and tactics players must use are drawn from real-life – principles that are taught in army staff colleges worldwide. An 80-page illustrated HOI 3 Strategy Guide is available in electronic format for registered owners of the game.
The original Hearts of Iron was released in 2002, and quickly became a cult classic. Its sequel was produced in 2005, and two expansions were released in 2006 and 2007. Paradox has learned from each new release, and continues to improve upon their product.
There are many changes and improvements in HOI 3. But some of the most substantial changes have to do with the number of provinces, and the changes to “scaling” that causes. Also the degree to which historical scripting drives the game has changed. HOI 2 was very tightly scripted to make sure historical events happened, either forcing the player into one or more options, or sometimes causing things to seem unrealistic because those events were “out-of-place” in an ahistorical context. HOI 2 allowed a more freeform exploration of ahistorical possibilities, but also admitted some very strange results because it was inflexible. HOI 3 is more of a simulation of World War II and the types of events you should expect within context, according to the way your choices change things.
For instance, HOI 3 does not pre-determine the start date of wars. This means that World War II in Europe could start in May, instead of September, or could even happen in 1938 or 1940. This means that every country – aggressive countries, or western democracies – may have the opportunity to build up over time. On the other hand, it’s also possible that you will not have as much time as you expected. It’s impossible to predict with certainty when major events like the Spanish Civil War will start, or even if they will start at all!
With regard to scale – in HOI 2, the western border between Germany and Poland was five provinces. You could either attack them all at once, or you could attack one and hope to slip behind one of the defenders.
In HOI 3, that border has three times as many provinces, and you have a lot more control over which divisions you attack, and which ones you can try to slip behind. No longer are you forced to perform a costly “frontal assault” – now you can make spearhead attacks, and attempt to exploit the breakthrough and surround the enemy!
Likewise, HOI 3 has changed the nature of combat on the Eastern Front. The border with the USSR in 1941 is not just 10 provinces long. Now it’s 21 provinces, and there are places along the front where you can choose just one division to directly attack. Of course, this means the other divisions are hanging around nearby and can hit you along your flanks. The number of provinces in HOI 3 completely revolutionizes the means and methods of combat.
HOI 3 allows you to explore the “what if’s” of alternate history, within certain limits applied for realism sake. You can play a major world power, or a smaller country which might play a minor role in the war, or even set its own agenda. Your choices are wide open, and each option allows further enjoyment and limitless replayability.
Plus, Paradox has a well-earned reputation for listening to requests from players, and for providing continued patch support for its games months, and even years, after their release. The large fan base generates useful suggestions and modifications for the game through the Paradox Forum at http://forum.paradoxplaza.com/