"You are hit with a huge rush when you do something that changes the course of history completely, it's a rush unparalleled by any other type of game." - GameArena.com
"It's a sure bet that Hearts of Iron III is one of if not the most detailed strategy games you've ever played." - IGN.com
It’s time to dust off the field marshal's baton and take command of any nation in World War II; the largest conflict in history. The first expansion to the critically acclaimed Hearts of Iron III lets you take charge - or delegate - at any level, from divison to nation, through a variety of scenarios. Guide your country to glory from 1936 to 1948: wage war on the battlefields, in the factories, and at the negotiating table, in the grandest of all World War II strategy games ever made.
Players can now define their own Theatres with a simple drag box system.
The new Order of Battle Browser allows quick and easy reorganisation of the entire Command Hierarchy.
The Command Hierarchy is now directly represented on the map.
A new Air Superiority map mode makes strategic air warfare easy.
At game start, each country now gets to choose its own hidden Victory Conditions. Can your enemies guess your secret agenda?
HQs under AI control now have separate aggressiveness stances for Land, Air and Naval operations.
Countries can request specific actions from their allies for unprecedented cooperation.
Technological progress can now be shared with your allies.
Brigades can now be upgraded to more advanced types (e.g. Infantry to Motorised, or Artillery to Self Propelled Artillery.)
New 1940 scenario fills a gap in the game's timeline.
Hundreds of new events added to immerse players in their own versions of World War II, comparing the unfolding alternate timeline to real history.
Mighty warships can be designated the Pride of the Fleet, which is both an opportunity and a risk.
The AI has been improved in all areas, at all levels. It will defend in depth, marshal big naval task forces and launch multi-stage invasions. It will perform more historical diplomacy and pursue a strategic production strategy.
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Semper Fi is the first expansion for HoI3, and is a requirement for further expansions to work with the base game -- it's therefore a "must-have", in that you absolutely have to get this expansion for the other (much more important) expansions to work with the game. Personally, most of the HQ-related features are meaningless to me, since they only apply if you're playing with AI controlled military (and i prefer to manually control my military). I don't use the diplomatic actions added by Semper Fi either, since they're very limited in their applications: sharing tech experience is very costly, and doesn't offer much to your allies, while giving allies objectives are very hit-and-miss, since the AI has its own agenda and rarely follows your orders. Definitely the most important aspects are the improved AI (for obvious reasons), the new map mode (which is incredibly important when conducting air battles and defending your territory against bomber squadrons), and the ability to upgrade units. The last feature is definitely a favourite, as it allows you to authentically upgrade your military: for example, taking an existing infantry regiment with artillery, and upgrading them to motorised infantry with self-propelled guns, allowing them to utilise the increased movement speed while retaining their existing experience. Definitely worth picking up!
While I am not a huge fan of purely cosmetic expansions, I enjoy the ones which add something new to gameplay or refresh and remake old concepts. Semper Fi is one of such expansions for Hearts of Iron III that adds a whole new layer to the game: a great new twist comes from hidden victory conditions defined by each country at the very beginning. Now technological development can benefit from your allies' participation and offer benefits to them as well. AI-controlled commanders can have different settings depending on the type of arms they command and operations they participate in. Diplomacy gained some more details, as now you can request particular actions from your allies, but so can they. It introduces easy way of defining and managing theatres of war. Command hierarchy is now tweaked and improved - easily managed and visible on the map, managing air superiority became easier thanks to a special map. Naval warfare, so important to the American participation in WW2, was upgraded with new options, including ships that are prides of their nations and fleets. Having such a ship confers bonuses, but loss of her is even more painful now. Add to this a new scenario, events, and (supposedly) improved AI, and you have nearly complete picture of the expansion. I didn't notice the AI improvement as it was already challenging for me before. If you are unsure if it's worth buying, I wouldn't hesitate.
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