The Sudden Strike has kind of been hit-or-miss over the years. The first game was fantastic, the second game did fairly well, and the third was either the best in the series or a clunky mess, depending on who you chat with. Its been about a decade since the last proper sequel came out (unless you count The Last Stand which was essentially a Part 2 to #3), but now Kalypso Media have released Sudden Strike 4 which we shall attempt to review.
Sudden Strike 4 is a real-time strategy game where you are commanding troops in World War II. Because nothing says “originality” like going back to World War II. You have three different campaigns you can play: The Americans, The Soviets, and The Germans. Each will have you sprawling across Europe and eastern Asia in an attempt to clear out enemies and claim the land for your own. You’ll receive missions that give you various types of winning objectives, such as conquering certain parts of the area or blowing up a specific building. It isn’t simply click and point to kill people, and the game will change things up for variety.
You’ll get a variety of locations, troop arrangements, and leaders to choose from as you’ll tread into French and Italian cities, large countrysides, small towns, even the Battle Of Normandy. Once you play a round you’ll be ranked with stars for how well you did, which go to the specific commander you chose. You’ll then be able to purchase upgrades under that commander so that the next outing has better results. There’s infantry, support, and armored doctrine to choose from to get the job done. No two units work the same way and you’ll find you have to employ different strategies to get every task completed.
The maps and environments are fairly interactive and can be destroyed, which is a nice touch to the realism of the battle as you play on multiple maps that are unique and leave it so you won’t get the same environment twice. And that’s something you’ll be doing a lot to kill time as you’ll find the gameplay is slow as hell. Unlike a lot or RTS games, you’re not building anything or taking over so much territory there’s no alternative for the enemy. You’re stuck with what you’ve got and you have to play smart, or in this care, slow.
Thsi is where Sudden Strike 4 starts to show its age because they’ve learned nothing from the previous games or current RTS titles when it comes to resource management or command. Getting my units to move is like herding glitchy cats who don’t get it. Often times I’m stuck unable to select units even after gliding the mouse across the screen. Often times my troops and vehicles will go in directions I don’t want them to because they arbitrarily decided to choose their own route, even if it exposed them. There’s no room for error, but then the game’s AI decides to create errors for no reason. It is one of the most frustrating experiences you can have with a game, and I eventually just had to uninstall it.
Sudden Strike 4 looks pretty for an RTS, but handles about as well as an indie RTS would that never had a single day of testing. I wanted to like this because I have a soft spot in my heart for the genre, but actually having control over the essentials disappointed me on several levels and I just couldn’t take it after a few hours of losing the same battle multiple times because my units don’t understand the concept of “up.” I wouldn’t recommend it unless you’re a glutton for punishment.
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