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The student news site of Little Rock Central High School

The Tiger Online

The student news site of Little Rock Central High School

The Tiger Online

Take Up Arms Against Tyranny

Hearts of Iron IV’S New DLC is a Solid Addition

It’s that time of the year. Paradox has released their yearly DLC for their hit game Hearts of Iron IV. This year, the DLC focuses on updating the Scandinavian countries and the making and selling of weapons. As such, the DLC is titled Arms Against Tyranny and drew my eye immediately as me and my friends have been waiting for a Scandinavian rework.

For those who don’t play Hearts of Iron IV, it is a WW2 real-time, grand strategy wargame. In it, the player selects whether to start three years before WW2 and build up or at the outbreak of war in Europe. Once the player does this, they can select any country; however, only some have unique features. There is no set goal or end date for the game, so it is up to the player to decide what they want to accomplish. The gameplay consists of upgrading one’s country through the focus trees, political advisors, making equipment and war material, and building up their military to fight in WW2. 

The main draw of any HOI4 DLC is the focus trees. In this update, they added focus trees to the Scandinavian countries of Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland, and, surprisingly, Iceland. Of these countries, the one I was most excited about was Finland. From what I played, Finland did not disappoint. The Winter War and Continuation War were greatly fleshed out, creating a fun David and Goliath situation. This focus tree allows the player to buff Finland and hold and eventually push back the Soviets. The only problem with this is the Continuation War. Because Finland is buffed when the continuation war happens, it makes it to where the Soviets, who hardly had a chance against the Germans, are bound to lose. This is annoying as an allied player, as the Germans now have hundreds of divisions available sooner. The next country I played was Sweden, and going into it, I was afraid they would suffer the same fate as Switzerland in the previous DLC, where the player was forced to stay neutral most of the game, sitting there doing nothing. Luckily, they fall into the same fate, as Sweden can become one of the premier economies before 1939. Their industry makes them fun to play solo or with friends, as they can serve as an industrial powerhouse that can hold its own and help others.

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The second biggest draw to this DLC was the Military Industrial Organization (MIO). This addition allows the player to level up an MIO by researching and producing equipment. When the MIO levels up, the player chooses a trait that buffs the associated equipment. While, in theory, this allows one to tailor their equipment to their play style, the MIOs feel generic after a couple of playthroughs. Most MIO trees are universal for the countries, and I found myself bored with the feature rather quickly. I could only feel their individuality when I played a major nation like the USA, as they have access to more MIOs than a smaller nation like Finland. Because of this, I had to choose which MIOs to focus on leveling up for the best results. In multiplayer, it adds more depth as players have to choose what MIO they want to specialize in (i.e., whether to make great bombers or fighters). Another flaw with this feature is the upgrade system. As the game progresses, it becomes another tedious pop-up. While Paradox amended this problem by adding a trait queue, it made the MIOs feel like a background feature.

To complement this feature, Paradox added an international arms market. This allows players and AI to buy and sell weapons and other war materials. I was scared when they announced this feature that the prices wouldn’t be right and the AI wouldn’t use it. To my relief, they nailed it. Before this feature, the player could only get weapons from lend-lease, which required one to be at war, and nobody got compensated. While this system still exists, it is complemented by the arms market. The arms market allows the player to get equipment earlier than they could before. Because of this, It is most beneficial to minor countries as they lack the resources to produce the equipment in sufficient numbers. This allows them to be more competitive and to have a stronger military. The only complaint I have is the countries the player can buy equipment from are often limited by ideology. This mainly impacts communist countries, as the only major seller is the Soviet Union, and makes the addition go under the radar over a communist playthrough.

The last main feature is the one I was most excited about. This was the special forces rework. Before this DLC, special forces were a bland feature that was mostly forgettable. With the new DLC, Paradox added special forces doctrine trees, allowing players to customize their special forces to theiror country. The trees give the special forces more flavor and allow players to choose whether they want their special forces to be strong frontline infantry, behind-the-line operatives destroying infrastructure before an invasion, or strong defensive units. With this DLC, they limited how many special forces the player can specialize in. This creates scenarios in multiplayer where you and your allies have to divi up specializations to accomplish what you want. When I played, I felt my special forces were the best of the best and had more of an impact.

These features combine to make a satisfactory addition to Hearts of Iron IV. While not the greatest DLC, the features positively add to the gameplay, and none of the focus trees are boring (even Iceland). It makes multiplayer more interesting as it forces players to specialize to achieve their goals. I would recommend getting this DLC, but don’t be afraid to wait for a sale to pick this one up.

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About the Contributor
Edward Pope, Entertainment Editor
I am ecstatic to work on Tiger News for my third and final year. Outside of the newsroom you can find me listening to music, hanging out with friends, and recently working out.

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