Be Encouraged! This is the BEST WW2 detailed strategy game to date. I have played this genre since the 1970's on board games to computer games.
Be Warned! This is Grand Stategy played on a clean world map, not a "point and shoot" first person. Graphics and sound are good but are not designed to target an "action game" buyer. This is a "board game" done on the computer. This is a Thinking game. It is a "Real Time" game but you can pause time, make decisions, and change direction for units and national management. Then let time go "live" again. The time increment is HOURLY starting 12am 01 January 1936 to 1953 with the "Doomsday" edition, or until 1963 with the "Armageddon" pack. And you can vary the speed of the game so that a day goes by in less than a minute.
Your units are divisional size. Battles are abstract. The computer does the losses and retreats, but you get to attach the best commanders. And YOU develop the tecnology of hardware AND types of tactical knowledge used in battle. The computer doesn't miss a step here. Smaller units CAN prevail over larger ones easily if you manage to develop the crucial details. And the Details here are excellent, as is. However tweeking the coding and cheats are available as well. In short, much customization or moding is possible and is manufactuer condoned. That's how this company's games get better. There is a strong fan base on the web, a large intelligent community. Albeit a better tutorial is needed to get your "feet wet" before diving into this deep pool of strategy.
Details needing attention? Espionage could be better handled. Diplomacy needs more "power". Swifter troop movement by rail before any ground movement needs attention. A possible encirclement or capture of whole enemy divisions is not handled, as they simply retreat very weakend, even through your lines on occassion. One assumes the region has not yet been secured. But weak units can cease to exist through attrition over time if out of supply. All Regions won surrender easily, but Nations do not, and regions gained are rarely traded perminantly for peace and a new "status quo". This again needs to be addressed in Diplomacy with negotiation to consider "national morale" versus unit or Regional morale.
On the whole, Nation Management for Money, Resources, Unit Supply, etc. are well handled and easy to adjust. The Reasearch process for Weapons and Tactics is outstanding with photos of actual people and companies of the time to direct. Leaders of the cabinet are also choosable with photos and personalities of people of the time. Combine this with photos of unit types and technology at that time and you begin to see the fantastic research done to make this product. It includes all countries of the world of 1936! Amazing. And if there is an incorrect photo or two, you can correct them behind the scenes or add your own in the database before your next session. Also amazing.
There are lot's of "what if" possibilities. In one game I played, Nazi Germany did not attack Poland, but successfully Allied with it to fight Soviet Russia! There was no British or French belligerant reaction, and the computer alowed Wendle Wilkie to be elected U.S. president on a non-interventioist platfom! In another game, Japan remained on its own and did NOT attack the U.S. but rather concentrated on China and the oil in South East Asia. No Pearl Harbor! Whatever small complaints, this game is VERY playable, and the product is Five-Star.