It’s been about a year since Hearts of Iron IV has been released and reviewed by this website. Now that the first expansion has been released, it’s time to take another jaunt into that 1940s sandbox and see what Paradox has up its’ sleeve. While some people may argue otherwise, the new features are fine, but the focus trees for the British Commonwealth are a mixed bag.
Allow me to explain why.
Technology And Lend-Lease.
A nice thing about this expansion is that it gives each faction a chance to share their research capabilities and petition for military aid. These features open up plenty of strategic options for single and multiplayer games. As I alluded to above, the Allies are the chief beneficiaries of these advancements in gameplay.
In the case of Lend-Lease, a competent player can petition the United States and other independent countries for aid, which is a huge boon for South Africa, the British Raj, Australia, and New Zealand. In fact, it may be expected because these countries sorely lack the necessary industrial power to function on their own until the war begins.
On the other hand, technology sharing forces the player to make the choice between technological dominance and alternate history. If you wish to declare your loyalty to King and Country, you can cut your research time by as much as 50%. If you turn to fascism, communism, or independent democracy, these benefits are cut down to about 10% unless you can pull together others in multiplayer or the game goes bananas.
Speaking Of Bananas, What Has Paradox Done To Canada?
The focus trees for the British Commonwealth are the main attraction here, but they suffer from some head-scratching design choices that keep the game from being the best that it can be. While Australia, India, and South Africa are certainly worth your time, Canada and New Zealand are hobbled by their focus trees in a way that makes no historical sense. Let’s take these nations one at a time.
If you should choose to play as Canada, you’ll be forced to make a choice to either remain in the Great Depression forever or solve a conscription crisis in Quebec. This choice is bizarre because it ignores how Canada was effectively a mini-United States during the war. This might overpower the Allies in a historical game, but Paradox games aren’t exactly known for their balance or fairness.
In the Pacific, New Zealand is hobbled by a lack of strategic options to the point where it might be wise to stay loyal to the British. If a player tries to turn the country into an independent republic, there is no option to secure an alliance with the United States. On the fascist and communist routes, a push in any direction guarantees a war with the Allies. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but the lack of support from far-away powers means that newer conquerors might get frustrated.
Together for Victory is worth a purchase at some point, but the issues that I’ve mentioned may cause some players to think twice. After all, it is important to be informed about every piece of a form of entertainment before you decide to part with your hard-earned money. With that said, you’ll miss out on a lot of fun if you decide to skip this one, especially when you can plunk down a ton of armored and infantry divisions, launch out of South Africa, and free it from European influence in a crushing one-two punch.
As a matter of fact, that’s going to be the next AAR! Stay tuned!