Hearts of Iron 4

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a game by Paradox Development
Platform: PC
Editor Rating: 6.5/10, based on 2 reviews, 1 review is shown
User Rating: 5.1/10 - 9 votes
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See also: Hearts of Iron Series, WW2 Games, Download Strategy Games, Destruction Games, Games Like Halo, Games Like Company of Heroes, Games Like Stellaris
Hearts of Iron 4
Hearts of Iron 4
Hearts of Iron 4

Since the birth of the strategy gaming genre, there has always been a subcategory that has made use of a popular board game. The tabletop game that tasks you with guiding your kingdom to victory and seizing various other kingdoms, all in the search of world domination. If you haven’t guessed already, we are talking about Risk. It’s a task you can achieve through diplomacy or through brute force and everything in between. Well, imagine this concept but blown up about 250x in scale and complexity and given a WW2 make-over and you have the subject of this review. Hearts of Iron 4.

This game obviously plays much like games within the Hearts of Iron series. However, looking outside the series, it also plays very much like the Sid Meier’s Civilisation series, Age of Empires, Tropico and Strongholds: Warlords. This is a game that requires cunning and tactical acumen in abundance and promises to reward the players who can master its strategic offerings. We find out how these offerings compare to other great games in the genre as we review Hearts of Iron 4.

A Complex War Simulation

The game is one that is quintessentially Paradox. This developer has been known for its attention to detail and the ability to create systems, AI and UI that make games of this nature so compelling and they have managed to do the same here. The player has the ability to play as any nation that existed in 1939 and incredibly, every country is fun to play, not just the big boys.

Thanks to a magnificently simple skill tree that is used by all nations, the player can choose to be minnow-like Hungary and still play a vital role in the war. You’ll be able to use a variety of social, economical and physical tactics to pull the strings and bend every other nation to your will. Even in the smallest of nations, a great leader can still play the puppet master and that ability alone makes this game so fun to play.

Alienating at a glance

What we will say though, is that this game is not for the casual player. The game presents itself with an intuitive UI and tutorials to help you through. However, we would wager that you’ll need to invest tens of hours into this game before you truly know what you are doing. Which for many simply isn’t the kind of time they have to waste on a game that might not be for them. In short, this isn’t one that you can play on a whim. You need to commit to this game for the long haul, so be warned.

However, if you do. You’ll be rewarded with a myriad of options and emergent gameplay choices that mean no game is like any other. The replayability of this game is staggering. You can choose hundreds of nations to run, a democratic, fascist or communist approach to your leadership, you can form new alliances, you can make new enemies and you can overthrow new leaders. This only scratches the surface but gives you a taste of what to expect from this versatile and authentic war simulation experience.

The Verdict

Overall, Hearts of Iron 4 does a phenomenal job of upping the ante when compared to its predecessors. The UI, AI and gameplay systems in this game are a triumph in terms of design. The versatility and replayability of this game makes it a value for money purchase. Plus, the role-playing aspect of this game only adds to this. We admit, there is some late-game FPS issues as the game suffers from its own success. The mass of code slows down the game, taking away from the closing moments slightly.


Though, as a whole, this game is a triumph for the series and indeed, for the strategy genre.


  • AI, UI and gameplay all handled expertly
  • Replayability is near endless
  • Historically accurate


  • FPS issues in late stages of games

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System requirements:

  • PC compatible
  • Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP

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