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  • Awesome Art: The pre-order trailer. Unlike other trailers which use stock images and footage, this one features awesome Soviet propaganda styled artwork.
  • Awesome Music: Has its own page.
  • Broken Base:
    • The gradual shift of tone in IV. On release, the game kept to the dark, bleak tone of the series so far, further adding new mechanics to keep track of the dead, both soldiers and civilians and making that important aspect of gameplay. Then DLCs started to focus on alternative history scenarios, requiring Alien Spacebats-tier events for them to happen, often making things look just silly... all while dead bodies still keep piling up. It's unintentional humour is definitely not everyone's cup of tea.
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    • To this very day there are people who consider the research system from the first gamenote  to be the best in the series, as it didn't have any sort of arbitrary mechanics (tech teams, leadership or research slot number) attatched and further motivated people to conquest. Of course each following system from sequels has its own supporters and they generally don't get along well. It's nowhere near as volatile as discussions about logistics, but research system is probably the most memorable thing from the original game and is still discussed to this day.
    • Changes in logistic system between games are by far the most contested part each time new game shows up or is patched up.
      • II used a simplistic and abstract system that kept track of a "Transport Capacity", a counter equal to twice the IC size plus tech modifiers and difference between stored and used supplies and oil.
      • III attempted to make logistics more realistic. It introduced fuel, and required crude oil to be refined to make it, transport capacity of infrastructure, detours, use of supplies and fuel for the transport of supplies and fuel themselves and bottlenecks. It was an extremely divisive subject. People either praised and wanted more of the details put into it or consider it too boring.
      • IV came out with another new system that doesn't require micromanagement of sending equipment to units as that is done automatically, but has an abstracted infrastructure & unit supply system and after the Man The Guns expansion, fuel for vehicles, planes and naval units. Changed also was the unit production system. Instead of ordering whole complete units, the player now has industrial production to manage, with abstract "factories" building different types of hardware. Those are then combined to outfit an unit while it is formed and put through basic training.
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    • Numerous elements striving for realism were added in III, like the advanced logistic system, radio range, thousands of land provinces to fight on, extensive command structure and complete rework on how units are made, followed by introduction of combined arms mechanics. Some found it great, adding tactical and strategical options, other found it boring and tedious due to the amount of non-combat elements necessary to micromanage. IV came out, streamlined most of those systems and focused the effect of those on the combat units directly.
      • In addition to the very controversial way Paradox charges for their DLC, the Man the Guns DLC for IV also had an issue with older players who recognised features being re-introduced from earlier games such as the ability to customise naval units, behind the DLC paywall.
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    • The BlackICE mod for III makes the game very difficult as it extensively uses all the mechanics introduced in that game and punishes players for overlooking them. People either start twitching nervously a sole mention of the mod and calling it out for being ridiculously difficult with even a higher skill requirement or can't stop talking about all the gameplay mechanics and improvements interacting with each other like a well-oiled mechanism.
    • The exclusion of Manchukuo from Hearts of Iron IV has divided many fans. One side claims that the Japanese in previous Hearts of Iron games have poorer chance against China, thus eliminating Manchukuo would be the best step in giving the Japanese more edge. The other side are either fans of playing the puppet state in the previous games or want to preserve as much as historical accuracy as possible. Paradox Games added Manchukuo in a patch eventually.
    • The planning & battle line mechanic in IV. Early in the lifetime of the game the old experienced users hated the system with a passion, preferring to micromanage every division they created. New players didn't come in with any baggage and were more than happy to use the simple method of adding 24 (or infinite, for Field Marshals) divisions under a General and giving them a piece of the frontline to hold, with very simple "attack this way" lines. And then patch 1.5 happened, which divided playerbase even more. Supporters of planning mechanics got suddenly hit by a cluttered UI and various problems managing the now required multiple unit commands and many considered it more tedious to use than the manual system.
  • Game-Breaker: Now with their own page.
  • Good Bad Bugs: One patch for Darkest Hour had instances where after the Soviet Union lost a war against the axis and accepting the bitter peace event, Lenin would take over as Head of State of the Soviet Union, cue jokes about Zombie Lenin coming back to Set right what once went wrong.
    • A ingame overflow error in IV caused a stack of planes to go negative... leading to infinite manpower when you would try and disband the airwing
    • With the release of the “La Resistance” DLC a new achievement was added that involved Germany conquering France and Poland with 0 casualties in 1939. Players almost immediately found a glitch that allowed the control of AI nationsnote 
  • Complacent Gaming Syndrome: There are many players who only ever play a single nation. Germany is the most popular, as their role is the attacker, which is more fun than a defensive nation like France. As can be expected, there are players who only play their own home country.
    • The game has an option to randomise which focus trees countries go down, which can lead to events like a Military Junta overthrowing Hitler, the British turning Fascist, various countries having non-historical civil wars or where aggressor nations like Germany or Japan change from their 'default' strategy. There is a large percentage of players who refuse to do anything but use the historical setting.
    • The higher the difficulty level, the more players are required to restrict their research, production and unit types to the handful of specific elements of the game that make the difference in the ground combat.
      • Playing as the Soviet Union at the highest difficulty requires the player to strongly research & build basic infantry units designed to Hold the Line and the industrial capacity to keep them all supplied until the Germans lose enough units & equipment that their attack bogs down. The Soviet Navy is completely irrelevant, and trying to build an air force will just result in them getting shot down in a few weeks and wasting the factories you used to build them. Trying to get cute by giving infantry units too much artillery, anti-tank & anti-air guns or trying to build a huge armoured force will just leave you in an impossible equipment deficit once the Germans & Romanians attack, steam-roll their way through Poland and Ukraine, widening the front so much that anyone who didn't create a gigantic horde of defensive infantry units will lose.
    • Space marinesnote  were so widespread and commonly used (up to the point people didn't build anything else), Paradox had to keep nerfing the related unit needed to form them and ultimately, by the Waking the Tiger update, special infantry could be only fielded as a percentage of your total land forces, to keep them "special", rather than a backbone of your fighting force.
  • Just Here for Godzilla: HOI4's extremely active and highly popular modding community has resulted in many players getting HOI4 just for the mods, often completely ignoring the base game.
  • Memetic Badass:
    • The minor Asian country of Bhutan in HOI4 has the fascist country name of Thunder Dragon Empire. The over-the-top nature of the name led to many memeing the country as though it was a superpower.
    • Luxembourg, the weakest country in HOI4 at game start, has attracted many players looking for a challenge. There are many world conquest runs as Luxembourg out there on the internet, which has resulted in Luxembourg being memed as an extremely dangerous country in the playerbase.
  • Memetic Loser:
    • Italy is mocked as one by the fanbase, due to the sheer incompetence of its AI. It is especially apparent in IV, where it does worse than it did in the real World War 2, getting quickly ejected from North Africa, failing even worse at invading Greece and almost inevitably failing to stop the British & US from naval invading its homeland. Italy is so bad that should anyone intervine in Ethiopia on the Ethiopian side, Italians might end up being bogged down in that war for years - and God forbid if expeditionary forces are send.
    • The Democratic alternate history paths for most countries are often maligned for being boring and underpowered. They’re often oriented towards being more defensive, which can remove a lot of of chances for the actual meat of the game- the warfare- to play out.
  • Memetic Mutation:
    • ''Tannu What?" note 
    • What if X won World War 1?note 
    • El Generico is the name used to refer to a specific generic portrait used for Latin American heads of state that didn't have portraits, the problem is that most of Latin American nations didn't have any portraits and for some reason, despite having multiple generic portraits in the files, the game would ALWAYS choose El Generico, having the hilarious consequence of him leading multiple countries at the same times and when the country's ideology changed he would just change his suit or add a small hammer-and-sickle pin on the suit.
    • High Hopes: Liberia DLC, a joke regarding Paradox policy of making completely ahistorical and unbalanced focus trees for minor countries, especially if they didn't even take part in any WW2 military engagements. With the backdraft created by Mexico's focus tree announcement, the meme returned with double the force, despite it was originally created as a reaction toward the lack of balance in (real) Death or Dishonor DLC released in 2017.
    • Komet Sighted, doubles as a Mythology Gag due to almost every paradox game including "comet sighted"
    • The "Battle of Wuhan" track from HoI4 OST has been used as meme fodder due to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 Pandemic which originated in Wuhan.
    • The abundance of Alternate History-themed mod in general, and the fact many of them were dark settings (notably, Red Flood and The New Order: Last Days of Europe) resulted in an in-joke about the modding scene being a contest to create the most "cursed timeline".
  • Narm: The Allied Speeches Pack became a butt of jokes immediately after announcement, partly because it charges money for a bunch of public domain speeches that people can find for free and add to the game via mods, and partly because the "Allied" word in the title only draws attention to the fact that an "Axis Speeches Pack" would never be a thing, for obvious reasons.
  • Scrappy Mechanic:
    • Except for Inote  and Darkest Hour note , no other game in the series offers to directly upgrade your units to top of the line gear - you always do it step-by-step. This is particularly annoying in III, where you've got dozens upon dozens of technologies and thus statistics that each has to be upgraded separatelynote  and always only one step forward. Having high technology, but the fielded army being obsolete? Tough luck, you gonna spend years re-equipping those, of course assuming you've got industrial capacity to afford that. In fact, in III, unlocking too many one-tier technologies can bog down your entire industry, since you have your entire army applying new gizmos to it, ramping up the costs of upgrades per unit and thus meaning you can't afford the general upgrades, turning the whole thing into a logistical nightmare. And units only upgrade when out of combat, so good luck with that past the 1940 mark. IV significantly retooled the whole system, since better gear to your units has to be produced first, but it is issued only when out of combat.
    • In II and thus Darkest Hour, light tanks automatically upgrade to medium ones. Unless you explicitly flag the unit to be exempt from upgrades, it will start gearing toward the lowest tier of medium tanks, which is rarely desirable. Not to mention building medium tanks directly is much cheaper and faster.
    • Naval invasions are a pain in the arse to do in IV, and are poorly explained by the game as it requires naval supremacy over the location the invasion will take place and there are some harsh restrictions on how many units you can use in the early game (which some nations requiring an easily missed technology to do it). It doesn't help that the AI is abysmal at doing them. Even if the German lead Axis smash the Soviets and control Europe, the AI is often completely incapable of winning naval supremacy over the home waters around England, resulting in a stalemate until the US enters the war at which point the US & UK can win supremacy only to throw away divisions in poorly designed naval assaults often with as little as one unit. Invasions of the USA by Japan or vice versa will also leave the player waiting years unless they do it themselves.
    • The UI element for creating air forces is dreadful in IV. Absent even a basic ability to filter the list by plane type and tier, it just lists every single individual model of aircraft in a long list which is in a very small window. In any prolonged war, you will capture dozens of different types of plane and will get thoroughly sick of scrolling through the list to find exactly which one you want. Additionally, the way air reinforcements work is that any variant or new model will automatically replace any existing deployment. This doesn't help the clutter of the UI because your list will always keep filling up with the worst models you have made as they get replaced by the new one. Paradox eventually added the ability to trash vehicles, behind a DLC paywall of course.
    • The spy/espionage mechanic in IV is generally regarded as underwhelming, if not outright useless, with the only practical operations being setting up collaborationist governments or having spies suppress resistance in occupied territory. All of the other covert operations have such negligible effects they're not even worth bothering conducting. The huge industrial and time investments required also means only major powers will be able to setup an intelligence agency and even then you'll be lucky if you even get one collaborationist government ready before the war kicks off.
  • Self-Imposed Challenge: There are plenty of nations that are much weaker that the player can play as and try to beat the historical odds.
  • Stock Parody Jokes: Argentina Is Nazi-Land-themed jokes abound, thanks to the "Señor Hilter" events chain (Hitler in a Paper-Thin Disguise as a fascist leader in Argentina after a Nazi defeat in a German civil war).
  • Surprisingly Improved Sequel: The first game was a very basic reskin of Europa Universalis and was pretty meh, along with similar critical reception and was quickly discontinued from support. It wasn't until HoI2 the series really found its niche and all the mechanics were polished, providing important details and room for any meaningful modding. Effect? Entire bunch of mods, with Darkest Hour being eventually released as its own game and loyal playerbase to justify the rest of the series.
  • Suspiciously Similar Song: The Allies' themes in III and IV are rather similar to the main theme of Band of Brothers.
  • They Changed It, Now It Sucks!: Numerous elements of gameplay were completely retooled with 4th game, with really mixed reception, to say at least:
    • Garrison and militia battalions were completely removed from the game, forcing players to design their own rear guards from costly infantry or unsuitable cavalry. While it's not problematic by itself, it can quickly get simply annoying to manage - especially if it might end up costing precious army experience to even design such units in the first place. Garrisons were put back into the game for La Resistance, while Militia units can be vaguely designed by setting up Infantry units that have no support companies.
    • As of the 1.5.3 patch, Artillery regiments have been repeatably nerfed, so much so that the original strategy of using 14INF:4ART or 7INF:2ARTnote  is no longer a viable strategy in a attempt to make players experiment with other designs and micro-manage their troops on the front line. But since it's still the best set up for infantry divisions, all it achieved was a half-hearted nerf amid a massive outrage. On higher difficulties the nerf does bite though, as attempting to make such big artillery heavy divisions will often cause massive supply problems down the line.
  • Unexpected Character:
    • While it's hard to call any country existing unexpected, few if any people would have expected Mexico to get a focus tree in a naval focused DLC, or to under any circumstances get one before Belgium, Spain, or Scandinavia, but in large part due to bordering the USA, which was part of the main focus, Mexico also got a focus tree in Man the Guns.
    • Repeated in the La Resistance DLC, with both Portugal and the Spanish receiving reworks, when it was expected that the Soviets would get a much needed buff/reworknote . Portugal is an especially weird choice, as it stayed intentionally neutral throughout most of the war and unlike Mexico, doesn't even offer any sort of counter-balance mechanically.
    • Repeated again in the Battle for the Bosphorus DLC, which adds content for Turkey, Greece, and Bulgaria (respectively a neutral country, a minor Allies member, and a minor Axis member).
  • Trolling Creator: A specific set of circumstances (some player influenced, some random) allow Victoria Louise to be crowned as Kaiserin of a restored Imperial Germany (and possibly the Holy Roman Empire). Her regnal title? Victoria III. The Paradox fanbase always hopes that the next game announced is a sequel to Victoria II.
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