The recent influx of grand strategy games has been welcomed by fans of the genre in the gaming community, as lately there haven't been many worthwhile titles coming out in this corner of the gaming industry. If you're a fan of this type of strategy games, Hearts of Iron 3 may be a title you're already well aware of – despite the franchise's general lack of popularity, those familiar with the previous installments have formed a very lively community that follows the games closely.
Hearts of Iron 3 runs on a 3D engine unlike its predecessors which were entirely 2D. It's obvious how the developers have done their best to take advantage of the engine's new rendering capabilities, and have improved the game's assets tremendously – there are now highly-defined models for almost everything, and the interface has received a good dose of polish as well.
You should find the new AI to be much more challenging than what the game offered previously, too – players have been giving lots of praise to the developers for that aspect of the game in particular, as it added to the replay value the title offers quite a lot – whereas the previous games had a tendency to get repetitive and boring quickly after you've learned the ins and outs of the AI, this one always manages to surprise you with something new as soon as you thought you were done learning.
Graphics and System Requirements
The new engine has been developed well, and the crisp new graphics add to the already high level of immersion Hears of Iron 3 offers. You can easily see everything you need to access, the menus are laid out in a clean manner and have been heavily streamlined from what we had previously.
The fact that the game runs in 3D has also opened other possibilities to developers – for example, by tasking the graphics processor with the rendering-related problems, the engine can more easily process the gameplay-related tasks such as working with the AI. The compatibility with older hardware is very good as well, as even though it's done in 3D, the new Hearts of Iron doesn't require a powerful computer to run smoothly. You can turn down the resolution if you feel the gameplay getting a little choppy, but bear in mind that this will also limit your visibility of the battlefield area.
The game came out with some rather irritating bugs initially, and there have been several patches to address those after it shipped – so if you're buying it today, make sure you also download all the patches and updates that have been released, otherwise the quality of your gameplay will likely be severely degraded – some of those bugs can be game-breaking.
Hearts of Iron 3 easily lives up to the expectations of the franchise's current fans – while it has the strong potential to draw in new people to the genre. And with the lack of popularity grand strategy games are seeing nowadays, this is something we'd always welcome.