Hearts of Iron IV: La Resistance Review
Grand old strategy game joins the resistance!
Review by Callan Darren
Published 9th March 2020
Hearts of Iron IV: La Resistance
- Developer: Paradox Interactive
- Publisher: Paradox Interactive
- Release Date: 25th February 2020
The Second World War was won with American Steel, British Intelligence and Soviet Blood - or was it? Hearts of Iron IV places that decision, and the fate of the world as we know it, in your hands. The four-year-old game has had the latest instalment in its expansion pack line-up, with the introduction of La Resistance. Named aptly after the French Resistance that fought against Nazi Germany and the Vichy Regime during the Second World War, after the fall of France. This expansion shines its light towards France, Portugal and Spain in terms of new National Focus trees.
If you’re unfamiliar with it, Hearts of Iron IV is a grand-strategy game set in the era of the Second World War. Whether you want to lead a Monarchist revival of the British Empire under King Edward VIII or bring a Democratic China to the world-stage, ending the communist menace, you can and the possibilities are endless. With the introduction of La Resistance, new strategies await as you build an intelligence network capable gathering information, partaking in espionage, cracking ciphers and more. Once built you can then use your network overthrow dictatorships or you can choose to join them and oppress your own subjects!
La Resistance opens the door to so many more opportunities, adding new units such as armoured cars, which primarily offer you a faster, cheaper but less effective, motorised option. Scout planes allow you to build up your intelligence over an area and workout how an enemy’s industry is faring or where their soldiers are, allowing you to focus your spies in another area.
I'm a big history fan, especially when it comes to modern military history, so I'm a fan of quite a few of Paradox Interactive’s games. While they're obviously not simulations of warfare or even history itself, they offer a way-in to learning more about the time period and the general macro-situation that Paradox games pull you into - whether that's colonialism, ideological warfare or just the classic 'Kings & Queens'. La Resistance accurately brings the game up to a more modern perspective of the idea that espionage was just as important to the war as the conventional air, land and sea battles. As well as bringing new opportunities for those who play France, Spain and Portugal, I mean, who didn't want to lead Portugal to declaring an empire after taking over Brazil?
The Spanish Civil War got a much-needed rework in this expansion, no more is it just a battle of Nationalists vs Republicans. New guests include an Anarchist uprising, a Stalinist government coup and a rise of a new absolute monarchy in the form of a new Carlist Spain. These features add a lot of, not just re-playability but general improved playability to Spain. I have already played as Spain several times to try to see what effect a certain government would have on the upcoming World War and whether Spain can successfully take control of her own domestic affairs in time to be a powerful ally in either three factions of the war.
Even as a mere observer, you feel included in the fireworks of the Spanish Civil War, the Soviets have the ability to outright puppet a communist victory and the Germans have the ability to push even harder for a fascist Spain. Through the new Spanish Civil War, you really do feel as if you're doing all you can to secure an ally, whether through material or an active participant, in the upcoming war that'll tear Europe in two. Also new is the ability to set up the Civil War to your wishes, bringing garrisons onto side, bribing commanders and assassinating political rivals.
Okay, so I'm not a fan of over-complicating features and having to deal with a load of micro-management when I'm trying to win a war, but the Espionage features in La Resistance are nothing of the sort and allow you to be as involved in the intelligence community as you wish, whether you simply want to set up a few essential operatives to give you leverage in a nation when you need it, or you want to set up an international spy network with your eye on anything and everything, La Resistance provides the opportunity to do that. The features don't feel over-cumbersome nor do they feel empty, and Paradox has struck the right balance here. It also allows more for minor nations to do, if you have the industry to allow an agency, you can assist your allies in intelligence even after the fall of your own borders.
While there were a few bugs at the start, overall, La Resistance is a well-rounded expansion to a game that felt a little empty at its publication.
Review Score: 8/10
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