Victoria II: Heart of Darkness – Review
Follow Genre: Grand Strategy Wargame
Developer: Paradox Development Studio
Publisher: Paradox Interactive
Platform: PC/MAC

Victoria II: Heart of Darkness – Review

Site Score
Good: New Naval battle system is top notch.
Bad: A hard to master game, made even harder.
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Rating: 10.0/10 (1 vote cast)

Heart of Darkness is the second expansion for Victoria II, a game that proved the be a great addition to the strategy genre. If you’re new to the Victoria II universe or if you are interested in an overall review, you should check out our review of Victoria II, by clicking here.



This expansion doesn’t really bring much new content to the story portion of the game. It does put more focus on the colonization of Africa and this expansion also adds international crisis’s. This results in making it easier to let world wars happen.


Sound wise not much has changed. All the right sounds and music are still there, as well as the annoying clicking sound.


As usual the game looks splendid and some of the menus got an overhaul to look smoother and easier to manage. Tooltips give more information than before as well. In the end, overall changes are subtle but improve the quality of the game.



Victoria II got significantly harder with this expansion. The Artificial Intelligence which controls the other countries was severely improved making for a tough game. It is especially better in making decisions concerning war and allies but do not expect help from all your allies, especially not multiple great powers when fighting. If you happen to be the one to go on a colonization spree, countries won’t accept your ally requests as easily, because you will be deemed as a warmonger of some sort.

Newly added international crisis’s make alliances so much more important, as they decide on what side of the “world wars” you will end up. This is why you have to choose wisely which great power to ally with, as these are the kingpins in these said wars. Of course these crisis’s – like the rebellions – do not happen that often, early in the game, later on however all hell will break loose. This being said, you better be prepared for it!

The main focus of this expansion is letting the players experience the era of colonization. Most of the other changes are at the least loosely related to this one. You will spend a lot of time trying to conquer land in Africa and this of course sparks new conflicts in Africa and back home. Due to colonies, they added an extra option with which you can release your colonies. You can also levy taxes on your colonies like with your own country and they can also revolt and do everything your own population can.

Another nice addition are the newspapers, these pop up once in a while and actually give information about how the other countries are doing, mainly about countries on other continents.


The naval combat system has been improved as well, making it possible to actually dominate the seas if so desired. The changes are mainly new abilities and stats and some ships having an increased chance to actually dodge attacks. Also the way of making ships has been changed. Every state can only build one shipyard and the types of ships you can make depend on the level of that base. The actual amount of ships depends partially on the amount of shipyards you own. Of course the ships play a big role in the colonization as it’s impossible to go to Africa without them.

They also implemented something called the Ticking War Score. It is hard to explain and I don’t completely understand it yet myself, but getting countries to surrender got a lot easier because of it. Before Heart of Darkness most wars would continue even if the enemy had clearly lost. Now you can fight over more specific regions that would ‘add up’ the score and once it hits 100%, your enemy should surrender without further pointless fighting.



The changes are very nicely done, they do however make an already hard game even harder. Especially the naval combat is a nice touch that was missing in the original game and the Ticking War Score brings some extra logic to the game. The colonization is a nice idea but I feel like it’s missing something I can’t quite put my finger on. The “click”-sound has not been changed either, which I find a shame. While the newspapers are a nice touch, after a few games you will have seen them all, a bit more variety might have been welcome.

While this expansion brings some nice new ideas to the board, it does not feel like an expansion to me. What I described here seems more like a DLC or even a patch. This is why I would understand if some of you would rather get it on sale.

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Victoria II: Heart of Darkness - Review, 10.0 out of 10 based on 1 rating

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