Forbidden Ground (IMDB). A moving movie, set in the first world war. This movie definately is worth your time and attention. The actors, setting and director have managed to create a movie that will move your emotions. Forbidden Ground is not your typical world war movie about heroism and saving the world. Rather it is a movie about giving those who died in the horrors of this war a name and is honoring their sacrifice.
The story is about three soldiers, finding themselves in no man's land after a failed charge at the German trenches. Sgt. Maj. Arthur Wilkins, played by Johan Earl, is part of a regiment under command of his Lieutenant. They are ordered to go over the top by their lieutenant and take the enemy trenches. After a massive blow, Wilkins finds himself in the midst of no man's land. Sgt. Maj. Arthur Wilkins wakes up after a failed push on the German defences. Not much later he finds out he is not the only survivor of the push. He finds Pvt. O'Leary, played by Tim Pocock, laying about in the mud. They make up a plan to find their way back to their own trench. But this doesn't seem to be so easy since both the Germans and British forces soon open fire on them. During their retreat they hear a familiar voice, crying for help. After a short search by Wilkins they find Cpl. Richard Jennings, refered to by the name of Rich and played by Martin Copping. Whom is found badly wounded to his leg. Together they try to find their way back to the British trench, back home.
The beauty of this movie is the story behind these men. Three men, trying to get back home to their loved ones. O'Leary having his mom waiting for him, waiting for his return. Wilkins having his beloved wife Grace, played by Denai Gracie. And Jennings, having his loved one waiting at the homefront. The movie gives a parallel view on the first world war. Showing the struggles of each front. A view on both the emotional and communal impact of the war and a view on the hard reality of war in the trenches. This movie really doesn't show any heroic action, just three men trying to survive the bloody war and go home. That alone, the human nature, makes them true heroes, makes all those who died in that tragic war heroes and to not be forgotten.
Forbidden Grounds shows a realistic view on the war. Unlike many other world war movies I have seen, the move shows no impossible heroic actions. The director Ryan Little cleary did not aim for another movie about the bad guys being defeated by a hand full of good guys. Instead the movie has a focus on the human nature and emotion. Unlike many other world war movies, this movie does not show a lot of action and gore. It are the stories of the main characters that make this movie.
If you expect a lot of action then this is not the movie for you. The movie clearly has no intention to be another action movie about heroes that won the war for our freedom. If you like a good war story, then this is the movie for you. The storytelling of this movie is spot on and will be moving your emotions. Therefore I rate this movie an 8 out of 10. It really is worth your time to watch this beautiful story of three men stuck in no man's land.
Hearts of Iron IV is a very engaging title filled with historical events. Nevertheless, there is the option to totally ignore history and make your own decisions and write your own history. For new players the amount of interfaces and control panels may be a bit overwhelming at first, but many Youtubers have put out tutorials on their channels and a fully written Wiki is available. Once you understand how the basics of the game work it is time to pick the nation you want to play and rewrite history. And rewriting history is more fun that you may think at first. You could for example turn the United States into a fascist country and join the Axis for world domination, or turn into communist Poland and join the Sovjet Union to make Moscow great. You do not have to pick a side though, Hearts of Iron IV also allows you to create your own faction and make your own decisions. Replayability certainly is high and the amount of outcomes of each world war you begin, will mostly be different every time you start a new game.
The game also looks very good. The unit models are of good quality and the map looks detailed enough for a Grand Strategy game. Also the weather effect they implemented are a nice addition to both appeal and combat.
Sometimes however the graphics cause limitations to the player. For example, for each battle fought, many variables are taken into account. The different types of terrain are one of these variables sometimes hard to see and sometimes borders are not clear enough.
The fast amount of units active on the map can cause some major performance issues. Especially in Europe after a large peace deal many units start rebasing at once, causing the fps to drop significantly. Also simulation speed will be influenced. But overall performance is stable and allows for lots of gameplay fun.
Combat in Hearts of Iron IV has become easier for new players, but for fans of the earlier titles it may have become to simplistic. Especially the draw tools have their limitations. Drawing a frontline will grant your armies entrenchment bonuses and drawing a battleplan will grant your armies planning bonuses, but the excecution of the drawn orders sometimes seem unefficient. Armies would sometimes attack into the mountains (which gives the attacker negative modifiers) or not take into account other natural borders, like rivers. A recent update however did improve upon the system a bit by implementing three mode: carefully, balanced and rush.
Research and National Focus Trees sometimes become a limitation to the player. Eventhough it is historically accurate, most national focusses limit the player or force the player into a certain direction. Yet it also adds diversity to the game and makes many major countries unique. However most minor nations have a very generic National Focus Tree, which seems a little bit rushed. Because a few modders created mods for nations with a generic National Focus Tree to have their own special options. For some major nations some doctrines have already been researched, locking the player into a certain branch. Luckily for the player, there are still a lot of options to choose from in both the National Focus Tree and Research department. Making each playthrough a bit different than the previous one.
Unlike previous Paradox Titles, the diplomacy screen seems very simplified and limited. While in games like Europa Universalis IV there are many diplomatic options, in Hearts of Iron IV it is limited to militairy acces options, join or leave a faction, support ideology, stage a coop, declare war and improve relations. The peace deal screen also is very limited and only allows to liberate, pupper or annex a country.
Rebels and partican activity seems to be trimmed down to the least possible amount. They are suppressed way to easily and it never really comes to a massive revolt or any sabotage events. Sometimes breaking through an enemy frontline allows you to bring a large nation to its knees by simply rushing the victory points. Causing the enemy to capitulate within a few months of battle, if not weeks. And what is next? If the war is over, the game basically is over. There is not much to do after defeating most of your enemies other than just wait until 1948.
Marcel van der Linde (Stormfox)
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