It can be very effective, just like many other training methods.
I think a lot of the problem you see with HIT, just like other training ideologies, is that some avocates see them as the answer and the best way for everyone to train. In their minds, if you're not training "their way," you're not training the right way. HIT "jedis" are notorious for this line of thinking. Needless to say, it's is a counterproductive mindset.
But as a training method itself, it's a solid option. Thibaudeau wrote an article discussing lower volume, HIT-type programs:
Absolutely not. HIT has often been promoted as an ideal method for "hardgaining" natural trainees, due to the lower training frequency.
HIT is generally defined as being low volume (both per bodypart and per workout), high intensity (per set or per exercise, often going beyond failure with techniques like forced reps and/or negatives), and low frequency (either per bodypart or per workout).
HIT generally uses a low training volume, avoiding what they'd see as "redundant" training (multiple exercises per bodypart). Some HIT variations will use a few more exercises, but classic HIT would be one or two exercises per bodypart, if that many. (Some smaller bodyparts were considered sufficiently trained by going beyond failure with some compound lifts.)
I'm not so comfortable categorizing HIT as a method that keeps progressive overload at the "forefront" of their training. It was more about working to, and beyond, failure in each workout and then fully recovering before the next session.
That style of "trash the muscle, then rebuild the muscle" was more of a priority than "make sure you get more reps or more weight next workout." Does that make sense? They're connected, definitely, but I wouldn't say overload was the necessarily the highest concern.
This is a solid philosophy.