Hearts Of Iron IV, from Paradox Interactive, has just received its first major update, the Together For Victory DLC expansion. And according to Rock, Paper, Shotgun, Together For Victory is set to make many of the game’s smaller nations worth playing, introducing a wealth of new features for five major Commonwealth countries: Canada, Australia, South Africa, India, and New Zealand.
The Hearts Of Iron series traditionally covers the events of World War II; Hearts Of Iron IV runs from 1936-1948, and features over 100 playable countries. That makes the major countries — the primary players in the war — very interesting to play. The rest? Maybe not so much.
Together For Victory aims to change that for at least five “Minor Powers” and while it doesn’t quite bring them up to the gameplay level of the Majors, it definitely improves the experience for those relatively minor Commonwealth nations considerably, granting them their own unique National Focus trees, historical and speculative events, and even the option to break away from the British Commonwealth and change the course of history.
While you’re about it, according to iDigitalTimes, you might even earn some uniquely challenging new achievements, perhaps the most notable of which is “It’s 1812 All Over Again” — a reference to the War Of 1812 where British forces from Canada seized and burned down the White House. To get it, players will have to declare their independence from Britain, somehow manage to actually declare war on the United States, then capture and hold Washington, D.C., one of the most difficult tasks in the game.
Also new is India’s “Our Words Are Backed With Nuclear Weapons,” a callback to the original Civilization, the game which spawned the entire genre Hearts Of Iron is part of. While it should be fairly obvious, that one requires players playing as India to develop and deploy a nuclear bomb.
Achievements aside, many of the new features explicitly revolve around claiming independence from the Commonwealth. New focuses start the process, increasing the autonomy rate and preparing the country to leave the Commonwealth; other new focuses can prepare the country to support Germany or the Soviet Union, opening the door to such historical anomalies as Nazi Canada or Soviet New Zealand.
Breaking away from British rule is at the core of a lot of the new features in Together For Victory, but it’s not easy. Starter National Spirits actively work against autonomy, and as British colonies well outside the WWII theater of operations, the Commonwealth countries in question don’t actually do a whole lot on their own; declaring war, making guarantees, and many other diplomatic options are under Britain’s total control — leaving the Commonwealth completely is a multi-step process requiring considerable dedication.
For those who want to stay with Britain, you haven’t been neglected; new technology-sharing benefits for having strong relations to a major faction as a minor nation really helps to keep pace with the big players.
That all having been said, the new options certainly allow for more rapid development of forces within the DLC’s featured nations and greatly increases their effectiveness. While still not up to the level of the Major Powers, they’re not going to be left in the dirt.
Among the other features of the updates are many relatively minor improvements to gameplay which add up to a far more streamlined experience; a new Land Battle Log gives a considerably better overview of fighting in all theaters along with a host of options to adjust your troops, and combines well with the new quick tools in the Theater Menu. Taken together with outdated equipment notifications and player-requested Lend-Lease, keeping a good overview and keeping your troops at the top of their fighting strength has been made a lot easier, particularly for minor nations (those new Battle Logs are handy but can rapidly become unwieldy.)
Oh, and the new continuous focus options, for when you’ve run out of focus unlock options, one way or another, provide a persistent benefit when selected, effectively removing one of HOI IV‘s perpetual issues.
All told, Together For Victory is a very worthy addition to Hearts Of Iron IV and is available now for $14.99.
[Featured Image by Paradox Interactive]