Review: The New Order “Toolbox Theory” review

Managing+various+divisions+of+the+US+Armed+Forces+in+an+attempt+to+stop+a+Nazi+invasion+of+South+Africa.+Armed+conflict+is+a+staple+of+gameplay+under+the+new+update.

Nicholas Scoggins

Managing various divisions of the US Armed Forces in an attempt to stop a Nazi invasion of South Africa. Armed conflict is a staple of gameplay under the new update.

Nicholas Scoggins, Staff Reporter

Recently, the development team for the Hearts of Iron IV mod “The New Order” released the “Toolbox Theory” (weird naming conventions) update.  Considered essentially a total rehaul of the existing game’s features, the update completely reworks several portions of already existing content and adds several completely new components.

The largest addition in the update is giving each in-game country an economy that the player can manage. While governing their country, each player will have total control over how much tax revenue their government takes in, where that revenue is spent (military, healthcare, etc.) and their national debt. The amount the player spends on each government department will also have an actual impact on gameplay. If the player spends a lot of income on their armed forces, it will have increased effectiveness on the battlefield. If they spend too little, their country will be steamrolled by the enemy. Players are incentivized to grow their GDP as it has a direct impact on how much industry a player can count on, and to keep a watch on inflation, as it can kill GDP growth. Personally, I found the economy system relatively simple to use once you get the hang of it, although I effectively tanked the economy of the countries I was playing several times in my early playthroughs of the update.

The new update also added multiple new conflicts for players of the three in-game superpowers, the United States, the Empire of Japan and the Third Reich, to participate in. Previously the mod felt pretty bland for the first part of a playthrough, and you would be stuck waiting for 20 minutes for something to happen. Now players are forced to command forces in battle in such a diverse array of locations from West Africa to the Philippines. It makes gameplay more interesting, although some of the conflicts can be very frustrating to fight in due to difficult terrains: jungle, mountains, etc.

The final additions the update provides are various facelifts for already existing content in-game.  These include new political ideologies to govern with, giving some countries more or less military divisions than they had previously, and adding some collapses for countries who have not governed themselves properly.

Overall, I think the new update adds a much needed facelift for the mod and I hope it provides a benchmark for future content.