Darkest Hour vs HOI4: How do they stack up?

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RobRoy3

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Ok, here my three main reasons why Darkest Hour is superior to Hearts of Iron 4

1- The content. Darkest hour came out with only the 1914 and the 1936 scenario, but it gained more and more content as time passed by FREE patches. paradox interactive have been milking DLCs since europa universalis 3, but Hearts of Iron 4 turned into paradox Rome 2 total war, even the songs come as DLCs...
I'm ashamed to say it, but I never bought/tried Darkest Hour. I loved HOI2, but disliked the over-exposure of related third party offerings that had to compete with each other (Arsenal of Democracy, Darkest Hour, Iron Cross) as well as shiny new Paradox offerings.

Although, every previous attempt I made to get into HOI3 left me disappointed, I'm currently trying HOI3, again. I need to take a break from some of my favorite Paradox games that are looking like permanent, buggy Beta efforts these days, thanks to the current DLC system. And I don't really want to waste my time experimenting with HOI4, given my experience with early HOI3, and the fact that I can't believe a WW2 game can possibly work if you change the rules around every few months. Tried some older games, Civ6, etc., but want to get back to Paradox games if they were just somewhat stable.

So, hunting around for a compelling, "finished" game led me here. I just purchased Darkest Hour, based on some of the comments in this thread. But I'm ambivalent which WW2 experience I want to try first (well, re-try). I already own Arsenal of Democracy (and Iron Cross, though I never really figured out how it fit into the scheme of things) as well as HOI3 +expansions. Time being more valuable than money these days, I'm wondering if the (presumably highly biased) crowd here has anything particularly positive or negative to say about some of the other "competitors" to Darkest Hour besides HOI4? E.g., would some of the statements made in this thread (about Darkest Hour vs HOI4) apply equally to comparisons of the latest version of HOI3 or Arsenal of Democracy to HOI4?

The comment about the "almost useless airforce", for example, leaves me a bit concerned that I might find some aspects of Darkest Hour unsatisfying, as well.
 

DINOSAURS1986

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As a newbie, I just finished my first game as Germany (and second game overall) in HOI IV on Ironman: I invaded Britain, USA, and Russia; and also helped Japan win against China. So I can understand why people consider it to be very arcade.

I have Darkest Hour and HOI III but they have always been more dense and harder to crack, never won any wars in them. I have a suspicion though that a lot of that is due to how easier it is to manage armies in HOI IV. You can draw a border and assign many divisions with just a few clicks. The tooltips in HOI IV are very good at explaining a lot of what is happening too.

I definitely think HOI IV makes a great gateway game into the older titles.

So, hunting around for a compelling, "finished" game led me here. I just purchased Darkest Hour, based on some of the comments in this thread. But I'm ambivalent which WW2 experience I want to try first (well, re-try). I already own Arsenal of Democracy (and Iron Cross, though I never really figured out how it fit into the scheme of things) as well as HOI3 +expansions. Time being more valuable than money these days, I'm wondering if the (presumably highly biased) crowd here has anything particularly positive or negative to say about some of the other "competitors" to Darkest Hour besides HOI4? E.g., would some of the statements made in this thread (about Darkest Hour vs HOI4) apply equally to comparisons of the latest version of HOI3 or Arsenal of Democracy to HOI4?

I don't think you will find the perfect or 'finished' game (there's always something that could be improved), but if you want complexity then HOI III with the Black Ice mod has a really good reputation. I like the presentation in Darkest Hour though, and it comes with a really amazing manual.
 

nuarbnellaffej

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In HOI IV, aircraft basically teleport to the air zone they are assigned to fly in., e.g. Southern England--> Western Germany.

In Darkest Hour, said planes would have to battle interceptors all the way across the Benelux to Germany.
 

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HOI IV has many of the issues that HOI III was accused of having. Awkward building system... which seems to work quite well in Black Ice in HOI III where as in any sense HOI IV build program is incredibly tedious for no apparent reason for bonuses that make little difference. IVs naval production is terrible with the same number of shipyards building a carrier or destroyer and still like III you can assign it to appear anywhere you wish which was an issue with III. HOI IV has given up the more detailed map allowing less provinces than in III. The division maker in IV is fun but mods have allowed this in III for years. IV has the very ahistoric IMHO command rules. I commander who says attack and thats pretty much it. In III you would built a workable pyramid of command in III and could assign commanders to control fronts for you. I have done that in III setting up Gibraltar as American later in '43 and assigning an army under Eisenhower to take N. Africa and ask for help from allies and he does it.... even launches attacks into Sicily. Giving AI command in III would place your general on the same AI footing as the enemy. Its the officers you assign, supply, and support fighting the specific campaign front. Having an AI fight AI in Russia works great for me in III with 3 German fronts plus an Arctic command. IV is just so off in combat because the provinces are less. The great strength of HOI I to III were the number of provinces. These are just a few things I find that make HOI IV the more inferior version of Hearts of Iron II thru III On Darkest Hour (which I play too) the game and its more fun than IV. There just is not enough good stuff in IV to make it great. All this IMHO.
 
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TomorrowsHerald

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Frankly, in my opinion, HOI4 is little more than a world war 2 sandbox and not much of a war strategy game. Victoria 2 was also rather limited in its war system, but it worked, and that game had an amazing political and economic system that HOI4 can't even come near to. That is to say that HOI4 is basically a jack of all trades and master of none. There is no harm in enjoying playing some crazy scenario in it and I do not begrudge those who enjoy it, but personally, I've come to expect war strategy from the HOI series and in that regard HOI4 completely failed to deliver. I'd imagine it's a result of Paradox's shift toa general audience.

HOI3 had too much micromanagement in it as well but it still seemed to retain the war strategy core of the series. Hearts of Iron 2 and its Darkest Hour refinement, in my view, did so well precisely because they neglected all other game systems but warfare left a game in which the systems worked pretty well precisely because they were so simple while making warfare suitably challenging. That said, having played Darkest Hour for a long time (though only with lore centric mods such as KR, Napoleon's Legacy, others and Vanilla) I find that I know how the game works well enough to the point that the AI generally poses very little challenge.

Even the DH AI is very limited without the more gameplay dedicated mods. Personally, I find I enjoy it just the same along with self-imposed challenges and limitations. In KR for example, I can play the Commune France in at least four unique ways if not six. It's the game (and mod) I never seem to get tired of.
 
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Hant_Blue

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How do you defend this indefensible Hoi4 production?
No it is not better or more complex.
You just have to make factories to make factories, I don't call that deep gameplay.
And no more worrying about how you are going to distribute your ic, now you assign your factories to produce the equipment proportionally to what you use, no more worrying about making trade-offs between economy and happiness of its population, or even between the improvement and the creation of unit.

You just produce the material in good quantity with factories manufactured with factories.
 
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Victor1234

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I'm ashamed to say it, but I never bought/tried Darkest Hour. I loved HOI2, but disliked the over-exposure of related third party offerings that had to compete with each other (Arsenal of Democracy, Darkest Hour, Iron Cross) as well as shiny new Paradox offerings.

Although, every previous attempt I made to get into HOI3 left me disappointed, I'm currently trying HOI3, again. I need to take a break from some of my favorite Paradox games that are looking like permanent, buggy Beta efforts these days, thanks to the current DLC system. And I don't really want to waste my time experimenting with HOI4, given my experience with early HOI3, and the fact that I can't believe a WW2 game can possibly work if you change the rules around every few months. Tried some older games, Civ6, etc., but want to get back to Paradox games if they were just somewhat stable.

So, hunting around for a compelling, "finished" game led me here. I just purchased Darkest Hour, based on some of the comments in this thread. But I'm ambivalent which WW2 experience I want to try first (well, re-try). I already own Arsenal of Democracy (and Iron Cross, though I never really figured out how it fit into the scheme of things) as well as HOI3 +expansions. Time being more valuable than money these days, I'm wondering if the (presumably highly biased) crowd here has anything particularly positive or negative to say about some of the other "competitors" to Darkest Hour besides HOI4? E.g., would some of the statements made in this thread (about Darkest Hour vs HOI4) apply equally to comparisons of the latest version of HOI3 or Arsenal of Democracy to HOI4?

The comment about the "almost useless airforce", for example, leaves me a bit concerned that I might find some aspects of Darkest Hour unsatisfying, as well.
DH has the best graphics, map and ability for alternate history type modding (flexible event structure, lots of unique commands, etc) but the weakness is that the combat is pretty pathetic. There's very much a meta, certain things are borked outright (I generally try to have as little to do with the naval systems as possible because they're so frustrating) and the WW1 scenario in particular is horribly railroaded but still plays out as fast as the WW2 scenario, especially in the East.

AOD has the better wargame and especially has the best logistics models out of all of them, but has the ugliest graphics and map (hence not surprising it plays second fiddle to DH). You can actually simulate Lend-Lease and the UBoat campaign! Units have their own supply stocks so it's not cut them off and then they're out of supply from one hour to the next and it generally makes sense to leave your pocketed units alone and try to rescue them to conserve supply (or preserve them with air supply), instead of immediately trying to break out like in DH.

Iron Cross I never played and I'm not sure if it's even for sale still, but back in the day, it was lauded for having the best tech tree out of any of the games.
 
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Dr. Intolerance

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Only thing I kind-of enjoy from HoI4 is the prototyping of equipment, and the sort-of way units can be designated elite and upgraded before the others with those, but I don't know if it works. XD
_____
I guess my only other opinion on it, about the "sandbox" complaints, is that it easily allows for nation-building, that pesky doctrine we saw play out in Vietnam, Afghanistan, Korea, Ukraine, etc., with the caveat that it needs to work, again. XD

I find that HoI4 looks more appealing with non-WWII modifications such as the Fallout Old World Blues.
 
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Pasha

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Only thing I kind-of enjoy from HoI4 is the prototyping of equipment, and the sort-of way units can be designated elite and upgraded before the others with those, but I don't know if it works. XD
You can prioritize specific units to upgrade and repair before others in DH too. But maybe HOI4's feature is different.
 
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Dr. Intolerance

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You can prioritize specific units to upgrade and repair before others in DH too. But maybe HOI4's feature is different.
HoI4 seems hopelessly lost in development. I guess WWII simulators for a company that's grown to be as big as Paradox has is too controversial unless they cram everything they can into it that allows for total fungibility of the historical aspects.

Upgrading in DH feels megalithic and "board-gameish" with universals applied all across and instantly, whereas I do like that HoI4 will(allegedly) count every single tank and every single tank variant, and attempt to ship that deluxe Tiger VI to your favored fash-bois.
 
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Victor1234

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HoI4 seems hopelessly lost in development. I guess WWII simulators for a company that's grown to be as big as Paradox has is too controversial unless they cram everything they can into it that allows for total fungibility of the historical aspects.

Upgrading in DH feels megalithic and "board-gameish" with universals applied all across and instantly, whereas I do like that HoI4 will(allegedly) count every single tank and every single tank variant, and attempt to ship that deluxe Tiger VI to your favored fash-bois.
From what I've seen and read on HOI4 in the forums, I'm sure you can call it many things but it's definitely not a WW2 simulator (more like a meme generator). Cramming as many side tasks as they can into the game seems more to have the player engaging with *something* since they decided to try and automate the main gameplay loop (of moving the pieces around the board yourself). Otherwise the massively increased numbers of provinces and units compared to the HOI2 generation would stretch people's capability to react in real time. HOI4 just goes to prove that more is not always better IMO...

It's interesting you say that DH is the boardgameish one though considering that boardgames themselves tackle WW2 on the same microscopic scale as HOI4 tries to, just it's actually doable there because they're turn-based. FITE (Fire in the East) for example that Gary Grisby used to make War in the East on PC, represents the entire Eastern Front down to every single tank and AT gun, with the units at regiment level. Each player has to move ~2500 units each turn. The games last as long as 450 turns but usually people finish by turn 300 o_O

If you like a more nuanced view, I'd suggest you try out Arsenal of Democracy across the street, as it doesn't get down to counting each bullet, but it avoids a lot of the generalizations that DH has, especially with supply.

As an aside, this joke post from the HOI4 forum that was nominated for post of the year suggests to me that the extra nuance in HOI4 is kind of wasted and is the game equivalent of a make-work project.....
- Logistics report!
- Heil meine Führer! We are making 47824 infanterie equipment per day...
- Enough of that! Every time I need some useful information you start with this... I'm trying to plan Barbarossa, I don't care how many you make per day.
- Very sorry meine Führer. But as you can see, we keep an exact count of every bullet, this is good, ja?
- Yes, very. Now let's try figure out something useful... So we're producing a lot of it, right?
- Ha ha a lot of it, this is very funny meine Führer, good joke. In fact we have so much we could arm every man, woman and child on the planet. We ran out of space to stockpile it all, but luckily people from occupied territories decided to help, they appear from time to time and carry it to the woods, for safekeeping. As you can see, they like us a lot.
- So we've kind of overproduced... How did this happen?
- Well, ha ha, this is actually quite a funny story. You remember 1936 when you ordered 10 infanterie divisions, ja? So it turned out we don't have enough equipment, so you added some factories... And 5 years later, here we are ha ha.
- Hilarious. Well at least we can make more infantry divisions.
- Ha ha meine Führer, you are so funny. That Chaplin doesn't even compare ha ha. Nein, we don't have enough support equipment.
- How is this possible?! Every time I asked, you said we were making surplus!
- Yes, but we were training divisions, and they get equipment at start of training, so it kind of gets lost when we calculate average. But it is visible in total amount, you just have to memorize the number when you last checked. And to make your life even easier, down this hallway every room has a nice graph so you don't have to remember. Look how many rooms just for you. And people inside are going to be so happy when you visit every single one of those rooms...
- Ok forget it.
- Or you could just calculate it, it's really simple. You multiply the amount of equipment by the number of divisions in training, then average it over training time. Piece of sachertorte.
- Well, wouldn't it be easier to just subtract that number from balance? And also, don't we have a department for statistics and calculations? I even remember their motto: DAS COMPUTERMASCHINE is to COMPUTE, FÜHRER is to FÜHR.
- Yes, Führer, you should of course be doing all the führing. But Heinz from volkstatistics said he doesn't know your plans, therefore both computing and führing should be done by you. He also said this is much better, because of Führer error correction protocol - whatever number Führer gets is the right number, ja? Heinz is also very funny, but not as funny as you.
- So they are completely useless?
- Nein, meine Führer. You see, Churchill also has to do this, and Heinz calculated you're 7,81% better at it due to german efficiency. We can't possibly loose with that advantage. And it's good for morale.
- Not mine that's for sure. So then - eine volk, eine führer, eine spreadsheet?
- Ha ha yes, meine Führer, excellent - we are like a sheet that spreads. We will cover all of Europe under our sheet. I can't wait to tell Heinz this one.
- Ok, so back to Barbarossa - can we sustain 100 days of average attrition due to fighting and maneuver?
- Well, for trucks you don't have to worry. We have a lot of them. A LOT. We even stopped building housing, people now live in trucks, that's how many we have. And Heinz calculated that if we start all of them at once, we would melt polar icecaps immediately. That would show those Brits - if that is not wunderwaffen I don't know what is. The only problem is there is not enough oil in the world for that, but we're working on it.
- So can we manage it or not?
- It is hard to give an exact answer. And we want to be exact - that's what logistics is all about. Heinz calculated and he thinks he'll have an exact number when we get to 20 kilometres from Moscow. This is good, ja? Or if we run out of equipment, whichever happens sooner.
(Führer commits suicide)
 
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Dr. Intolerance

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equivalent of a make-work project.....
How else to keep the consumers sated, management happy, and push endless promise of wealth? XD

Anti-work is like a sacrilege. I feel like democracy has become more fanatical than communism ever was, but I'll reserve my expectations of its future. ;)