Abandoning “Hearts of Iron”

I tried to pick up “Hearts of Iron” on my vacation as I promised, and it just didn’t work.  A big part of that was that I made a mistake in my scheduling.  When I played Persona 5 Royal the same way, I had a very set schedule for my mornings where I knew when I’d quit and so knew that I would have the dedicated time to play the game, so it worked.  I didn’t do that on this vacation, and so found that my mornings kept drifting into the afternoons and so I ended up not having the time I wanted to play.  This wasn’t helped by the fact that curling was on — albeit men’s — but it was incredibly convenient to have that on while eating and then just keep watching it while doing other things.  So the schedule itself wasn’t really conducive to play “Hearts of Iron”.

That being said, a main reason for not playing it was because, ultimately, it wasn’t giving me what I wanted.

I think I’ve talked before about the little things it does that annoyed me, like that you can’t set the production sliders absolutely and that changing the game speed is not at all easy, if it’s even possible.  But what I was hoping for was that when things got going I’d be able to at least see what was going on and watch its history play out.  Now, one thing that really annoyed me was how it displayed information.  Attempts by a country to influence another country got a pop-up, along with when someone gave you a technology.  The latter was only meaningful because if you were researching that thing you stopped researching it, and the former were generally meaningless and were incredibly frequent.  But I could have accepted that except that there was also an area that displayed messages, where those could easily have gone.  And really important things like, say, the decisions that countries made on the various historical events were dumped in there, which is how I found out that Czechoslovakia was wiped out.  They could easily have made those pop-ups and dumped the others into the message box.  Even worse, though, was that the outcomes of battles weren’t displayed anywhere.  I found this out when after Germany annexed Poland I happened to scroll back up to Europe — I was playing as Australia at the time — and noted all sorts of land and sea battles happening in and around France.  This meant that in order to find out what was going on I would have had to watch the areas closely, which was manageable when it was just France but once North Africa got into the mix it was getting problematic.  Once Japan entered the war, it would have been utterly insane.

And they would have, because it seems like “Hearts of Iron” drives things by events rather than gameplay.  French, British, Canadian and South African troops were engaging German, Italian and Spanish forces in Europe and while they weren’t doing great they were holding on and then all of a sudden Vichy France declares independence and they were all gone.  And when I say “Gone” I mean gone.  I couldn’t find them again.  So it looked to me like this was a preset event and choice that happened at the right time and trumped what was happening in the actual theatre, which bugged me.  And then the Allies invaded Italy and while outnumbered seemed to be holding on and the North Africa campaign seemed to be happening and … I was caught between what seemed like either stupid changes to history or events that would wipe it out and started to lose interest.

See, the thing was that I was playing as a nation that wasn’t directly involved because I wanted to see how things turned out.  But not having the updates made it really hard to just watch.  I could go to a country with more options like the United States but again simply watching wouldn’t be a lot of fun.  So I’d need to get directly involved.  But that was pretty much Germany, the Soviet Union or France, unless I wanted to take on a smaller country like Poland that was going to get overrun.  But then those countries might be hit by events which would undo what I had done.  And I wasn’t interested in that happening.  Maybe the post-war era would have been fun, but that was five years away and I didn’t have the patience for it.  I had wanted to try to finish at least that run, but just couldn’t muster the interest to do it.

So, on coming back from vacation I needed to figure out another game, and it wasn’t going to be one of these.  I’m at the end of my WWII books and so won’t get a push from them anymore, and while the other Hearts of Iron games or Paradox games would probably be better I really wanted to do something else.  I considered trying to do the Wizardry 6 – 8 run, but the graphics and gameplay of 6 is too different from 8 for me to get into that right now when I was really interested in 8 and was only looking at 6 and 7 to pull that off.  So I abandoned that idea.  I think I’m going to try to play my human noble in the PC — with full expansions — version of Dragon Age Origins and see if I can get through that.  It fits into my rearranged game playing schedule and is something that I really should get through.

So that’s it for Hearts of Iron, at least for now.  We’ll see how RPGs, my first love, go.

One Response to “Abandoning “Hearts of Iron””

  1. There’s Just Too Much | The Verbose Stoic Says:

    […] after abandoning “Hearts of Iron”, I wanted to get back into playing other video games.  I mused about it for a while, as is my […]

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