GOTY 2011: Best Strategy Runner-Up – Hearts of Iron III: For the Motherland

A game that manages to show the entire scope of World War II

For the Motherland is the second expansion for Hearts of Iron III which, by the standards of developers Paradox Interactive, pretty much means that they have managed to bring the reality of the grand strategy game close to their vision of what it should be.

The original third game in the long running niche series has been somewhat of a disappointment for the player base, mostly because some of the main new features were only half backed but with this release any gamer who is interested in World War II has a simulation experience that covers the whole world and is eerily realistic.

Hearts of Iron III – For the Motherland is a perfect tool to answer “What if?” questions, allowing gamers to see how France would do if it invaded Germany during 1936 or how well a unified China would perform against Japan and then against the Soviet Union.

The naval warfare system and the Artificial Intelligence that supports it is much more robust in For the Motherland and the developers have also managed to perfect the way logistics influence the course of the war.

There are also more options linked to the politics systems and the computer is better able to defend in depth, something that makes the Easter front a much more exciting area of the war.

But the main achievement of For the Motherland is that it takes all the improvements delivered in patches and as part of the previous expansions and ties them together in a game which feels in many ways like the best way to experience World War II from a strategic perspective.

A deserving mention when it comes to strategy during 2011 also goes to the expansion for Dawn of War II, Retribution, which managed to give a number of grander strategic elements to the Relic made game while preserving the role playing aspects and the focus on cooperation between the various characters.

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