Generally favorable reviews - based on 27 Critic Reviews

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 24 out of 27
  2. Negative: 0 out of 27
Buy Now
Buy on
  1. netjak
    Improved in just about every way imaginable, Hears of Iron 2 will not only satisfy the fans of the previous game, but is now set up in such a way to entice an even larger market segment into enjoying the title.
  2. Though it bears similarities in style and setting to its predecessor, at heart is a new game with incredible depth that is accessible to any dedicated strategy gamer now, thanks to the completely overhauled interface.
  3. PC Gamer
    An exemplary game that's a must-buy for wargamers. [March 2005, p.70]
  4. Few will tire of the almost endless possibilites available to England, Germany, Russia and so on. There will probably never be a more realistic and detailed WW2 game for the PC, and if this is the sort of thing that floats your boat, go buy it now.
  5. 90
    If you're interested a day-by-day re-creation of what is arguably the most dramatic decade the world has ever known, presented in a staggering amount of detail using a complex and sophisticated simulation that affords all sorts of freedom for hypothetical situations, then you won't want to miss Hearts of Iron II.
  6. 90
    The game is just amazing. I've always remained on the fringe of Paradox games, but after taking a deep look into Hearts of Iron II, I'm bordering on fanaticism.
  7. Pelit (Finland)
    Takes a totalitarian approach to warfare. It is not just about men or machines, but economy, supply and politics, too. This just might be the most finished, solid game from Paradox yet and is heartily recommended to those enjoying grand-scale strategic wargaming. [Feb 05]
  8. The good news is it's deep and complicated in the way it should be: learning the subtleties of the game and becoming successful, not in just learning how to play the game.
  9. One of the most in-depth strategy games around. There are so many different things you can do during the course of one game it is almost baffling.
  10. 87
    Undeniably fantastic and a considerable improvement over the original game.
  11. A historian’s best ticket to replaying some of the biggest what-ifs in the twentieth century. The depth in this game is almost unparalleled but it is a double-edged sword. At times, it can seem like the game is filled with a lot of waiting for production (when you put the game at the fastest speed) and a lot of micromanaging your troops (when you put the game at normal speed).
  12. PC Format
    This game is Hardcore, with a capital H-Bomb. Hardcore to the extent that even hardcore gronards will need a few quiet nights with the manual before heading out to invade Poland. [March 2005, p.104]
  13. As fun as it is for fans, novice players should give it a pass.
  14. A solid, well polished WWII strategy title using the venerable Europa Universalis engine. It’s deep, it’s complex, and just a bit overwhelming.
  15. By far the most complete RTS you’ll ever find. It makes "Civilization" look like a playground. Not for the light hearted mind.
  16. This is a game for fans only, for better or worse, as it has some of the most relentless A.I. developed in an RTS.
  17. If not for lingering issues with the steep learning curve, the barrage of information boxes, and a couple of bugs, this would undeniably be Paradox's finest hour.
  18. The patient and detail-oriented strategy gamer will find a lot to love with Hearts of Iron 2, but it may be far too involved for the average player.
  19. By far the best war-themed strategy game on the market, but it isn’t a game for those with short attention spans. If gamers can survive the learning curve, however, and show some patience, they will find one of the most fulfilling gaming experiences out there.
  20. With incredible flexibility, freedom, and depth, this is a history buffs dream and should not be passed up if you are a fan of the genre.
  21. With the scope of this title, the online support, the unmatched replay value-Hearts of Iron II should keep the most hardcore of strategy gamers satiated in fighting, researching and leading their respective nation to the top of the food chain.
  22. AceGamez
    One hell of a game; for all your WWII strategy needs, look no further. It's always refreshing to come across a game that'll last you a full year of serious gaming, if not longer.
  23. Newcomers should stay far away, but hardcore RTS fans will find incredible depth.
  24. While the strategy is surprisingly engaging and addictive, you do need a lot of stamina and patience to get there, which instantly alienates a huge number of potential buyers.
  25. Does a great job of creating a game that simulates the experience of "Axis and Allies" the board game, just updated and enhanced with the power of a computer.
  26. 70
    Yes, it targets a small audience, but it hits a bull's-eye.
  27. Computer Gaming World
    The biggest problem is that the province-based movement system doesn't lend itself well to re-creating the kinds of huge land campaigns that give a good strategic war game its sense of scope. [Apr 2005, p.91]
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 106 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 90 out of 106
  2. Negative: 8 out of 106
  1. Oct 4, 2012
    This game gets a 10 to show that I don't have a special hatred of Paradox interactive. It's worth a 9, but we go to 10 to make the point.This game gets a 10 to show that I don't have a special hatred of Paradox interactive. It's worth a 9, but we go to 10 to make the point. While this is NOT the best WWII game ever. It is possibly the best grand strategy WWII game. The best WWII game BY FAR is CCV (Invasion Normandy) modded version Gold Juno Sword, played versus a human opponent. HOI2 meanwhile is still a great game, and far more accessible, functional and user friendly than its bloated decendent HOI3. HOI2 has a far better balance of detail and playability. HOI2 has a much more accessible and enjoyable research system. HOI2 has such obviously useful tools as a way to find units by type, which inexplicably disappeared in the latest game. The only problem with this game is that it needs to be patched or modded with new graphics options so that it can scale properly on present-day monitors. Paradox should swallow their pride and stop making expansions for the HOI3 turkey until they have rebuilt and improved this older but far superior game. Reading the reviews its hard to stop laughing at how seriously Paradox fans take themselves. There is nothing hard, deep, or intellectually challenging about this game. It's easy. It's fun. And it was designed by guys who want to imagine that the Germans could have and should have won the war, which should be a hint as to which faction you want to choose if you want to enjoy yourself. Enjoy yourself. this is a great game. And unlike most Paradox strategy sausage machines you don't have to cheat to win. Full Review »
  2. Jan 8, 2012
    This game is not flashy, but the combination of historical accuracy and strong online community can turn this game into anything you want itThis game is not flashy, but the combination of historical accuracy and strong online community can turn this game into anything you want it to be. Out of the box, it is difficult to get the hang of, but after a few games you will really feel like you can conquer the world. If the vanilla game gets boring, there are numerous different patches and alterations made by the community to make it more difficult or more realistic. The community adds leaders, events and countless other features. Everything about this game is great, and there are relatively few bugs for such a huge game. Full Review »
  3. Jack
    Aug 4, 2009
    An intellectually stimulating, historically accurate game that does not use pretty graphics to hide lack of depth, this is HoI II. The focusAn intellectually stimulating, historically accurate game that does not use pretty graphics to hide lack of depth, this is HoI II. The focus of the game is to provide a more accurate RTS. No "great commander" that produces factories on a tactical map, rather a strategic view, this is more akin to what a general would see. Learning the game may take a game or two before you can fully appreciate what you can do. While this may not appeal to those who would rather control a beautifully rendered Sherman and successfully engage five or more Koenigtiger, those who have a true interest in strategy will be captivated. Full Review »