Developed by a team of experienced modders from the Paradox forum, Darkest Hour is a stand-alone Hearts of Iron game. The game features a mixture of short and in-depth campaigns set across the darkest chapters of the 20th century. Play from the outbreak of the Great War up until the onset of the Cold War.
User reviews:
Very Positive (614 reviews) - 92% of the 614 user reviews for this game are positive.
Release Date: Apr 8, 2011

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About This Game

Developed by a team of experienced modders from the Paradox forum, Darkest Hour is a stand-alone Hearts of Iron game. The game features a mixture of short and in-depth campaigns set across the darkest chapters of the 20th century. Play from the outbreak of the Great War up until the onset of the Cold War.

Darkest Hour will introduce a new artificial intelligence that is now able to react to hundreds of different situations simultaneously. It implements a dynamic diplomatic system that will allow the player to have a real impact on the course of history.

Key Features:

  • Short and grand campaigns allow players to experience the darkest hours of the 20th century, from the Great War to the onset of the Cold War
  • New map, redesigned to offer greater detail as well as strategic and tactical opportunities
  • Dynamic diplomatic system giving the player greater influence on the course of events
  • New artificial intelligence capable of reacting to hundreds of different situations


Grand campaign scenarios (where it is possible to choose any of the nations involved):
  • 1914 The Great War (starting on June 27, 1914)
  • 1933 Day of Decision (starting on March 4, 1933)
  • 1936 The Road to Another War (starting on January 1, 1936)
  • 1939 Invasion of Poland (starting on September 1, 1939)
  • 1940 Burning Europe (starting on May 10, 1940)
  • 1941 Awakening the Giant (starting on June 22, 1941)
  • 1942 Enemy at the Gate (starting on November 22, 1942)
  • 1943 Allied Invasion of Sicily (starting on July 26, 1943)
  • 1944 Allied Landing in Normandy (starting on June 20, 1944)
  • 1945 Battle of the Bulge (starting on December 16, 1944)
Battle scenarios which focus on specific battles or wars and where players can choose between a small number of nations:
  • 1904 Russo-Japanese War
  • 1939 Invasion of Poland

System Requirements

    • OS: Windows 98/ ME / 2000 / XP / Vista / 7
    • Processor: Pentium III 800 MH
    • Memory: 128 MB Ram
    • Hard Disk Space: 2 GB hard disk space
    • Video Card: 4 MB DirectX-compatible
    • Sound: DirectX 9.0c Compatible
    • DirectX®: DirectX 9.0 or higher
    • Additional: Mouse with scroll wheel, keyboard and internet for multiplayer
Helpful customer reviews
13 of 14 people (93%) found this review helpful
2 people found this review funny
39.5 hrs on record
Posted: February 4
Darkest Hour: A Hearts of Iron Game was my first foray into the world of Grand Strategy games. Unlike many other games, where you can pick up and play immediately, this title required a little study on my part. The in-game tutorials give some of the basic concepts, but fail to connect the dots between the various resources, province improvements, economic impacts, decision points, and WAR. It also fails to provide the dizzying array of factors that go into waging war on the land, sea, and in the air.

Thankfully, the manual more than makes up for this bare bones set of tutorials, and browsing a few popular steam forum posts regarding getting started can fill in the few missing details that the exhaustive, and lengthy, game manual fails to provide. All told, I had at least 4 miserable attempts at cranking up my German war machine and 3 hours of studying the manual and online material from other players before the game actually clicked. But once it did I found the experience to be more rewarding then any other strategy game I have played.

Planning is key in Darkest Hour and the game will punish you for trying to switch horses in mid-race. You wanted to invade Africa with your newly formed Afrika Corps under Rommel? Too bad, you have been gearing up for an airborne invasion of England and neglected to station a fleet in the Mediterranean, and now the Brits have closed the sea to you with strong garrisons at Gibraltar, but think ahead next time. You have been throwing back the fascist surge into your Soviet Motherland and now you wish to strike at the heart of Berlin, but oh no! Your aircraft are being chewed up by a powerful Luftwaffe and the edge of your armored spear is blunted by withering ground fire that starves your leading troops of supplies, should have planned for better AA or better aircraft to take on the advanced German machines, but you foolishly invested extremely heavily into tanks alone. You are playing as France and your doom lurks to the East, but you masterfully united your country by focusing on monetary gains and consumer goods while spending lavishly on decisions that lowered your dissent and strengthened your economic base, while simultaenously extending the Maginot line like a family of beavers on cocaine, maybe this time Fritz will not have such an easy stroll through Belgium into the north coast.

These are only a tiny fraction of the possible ways to lose or win in Darkest Hour, and I will not even get into the actual warfighting, as 50 pages of manual only starts to do it justice. If you are crazy over 20th century history (yes WWI and one of the greatest mods of all time "Kaiserreich" is available in this game), you often ponder or discuss the blunders of Imperial Japan and the Wehrmacht, or you just love the thought of Stuka's pouncing on your broken and retreating foes to inflict additional casualties, this is the game for you!!!

Unlike Civ V or some other strategy games, this one is about WAR. Playing peacefully is sometimes possible as a smaller nation, but play as a major power. That is how the game is meant to be enjoyed. Watch your Reich grow, or spread freedom to the enslaved peoples of the globe as the USA. But remember, if you wish for peace. prepare for WAR!
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10 of 12 people (83%) found this review helpful
12.8 hrs on record
Posted: January 9
These days I have been keeping my reviews short with just a simple thumbs up or down. But one thing had to be said for Darkest Hour. The Tech tree is by far the biggest and most intricate of any Grand strat game I have played. This truely is a Gem among the Grand Strat Genre.
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9 of 11 people (82%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
3.8 hrs on record
Posted: January 5
Thought that this lasted from the beginning of WWI to 1964, the standard ending of HoI2. Unfortunately, the WWI campaign originally ends in 1920 or 1942 based on settings. Regarding that, it was a huge disappointment as I planned using one of the minor European countries and making it a huge force before the beginning of WWII. Apart from that, WWI campaign seems decent. If you didn't like HoI3 just like me, this can be a good option for you until HoI4 comes.
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6 of 7 people (86%) found this review helpful
4 people found this review funny
530.9 hrs on record
Posted: November 8, 2015
I have failed at least 1 test due to this game. I spend too much time on this. You should too!
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3 of 3 people (100%) found this review helpful
2,266.5 hrs on record
Posted: March 30
This is a fantastic game. I have about 2000 hours in it, and I don't at all feel like I wasted that time. It's a bit old and clunky, but if you're willing to look past that, mod it a bit and learn the mechanics, it's well worth it. It's a bit less complex than Hearts of Iron 3, but I feel like that's more of a perk than anything. This is a strategy game, not a logistics simulator. Order of Battle and supply lines are not as important as your plans and your armies.

If I had to say one bad thing about this game, it's that it has a pretty poor domestic focus. Food is not simulated at all, and anything that doesn't contribute to your war effort is lumped into the non-descript "consumer goods" category. Diplomacy is also a bit weak. Without an event or a specially coded AI tick, the AI is highly unlikely to agree to anything you suggest. War really is the best way to solve anything, and that's fine. The game accells at war. It is a bit frustrating that the belligerance mechanic punishes you for going to war, when it's often the only way to progess, but it would seem weird to leave it out, so that gets a pass.

But for the love of god, do not play vanilla. It's fine. Vanilla Darkest Hour is a very good, enjoyable game. But you're seriously missing out by not playing Kaiserreich, Boneparte Legasy, New World Order, Fatherland and the mirad of other awesome mods you can get on the Paradox Plaza fourms. It's worth the small headace of installing.
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