Every now and then I find myself wanting to playa RTS, a while ago it was Halo Wars 2 and more recently I found myself really enjoying Railway Empire. The itch had started to come back and thankfully Sudden Strike has scratched it for me.
Set in WW2, Sudden Strike 4 features three campaigns, you’ll play as the Allies, The Soviet Union and the Germans. There are over 20 missions to play through and at the beginning of each you’ll get a told the story of why the battle took place where it did, giving you an understanding of the situation. There is no political bias, ach army you fight for have their reasons to be fighting, we all know who the bad guys were in WW2 but this game just shows soldiers fighting for their countries.
Once you have gone through the story for each mission you’ll be presented with a choice of general to lead you into battle, each one has their own perks and buffs, and you’ll need to choose carefully as making the wrong choice could cost you the battle. You’ll be set objectives as you move around the map, you’ll have a set number of units to begin with, ranging from ground troops, to tanks and repair trucks, all serving their own purposes. The ground troops can be directed to hide in buildings on man anti-tank guns, while the repair trucks can repair tanks that have been damaged and also build bridges to help you cross rivers when needed. There is no other building in the game, it’s purely a tactical battle with the structures around you.
As you progress through the missions and get given new objectives, you’ll be given extra resources, which were always welcome, but it isn’t always the case so you’ll need to mindful of what resources you are using during a battle, making the wrong choice will see the game over screen more often than not. The game allows you to select a portion of units and assign them to a group, allowing you to send your tanks to the front take take the worst from surprise attack, however, it’s frustrating to discover that despite selecting units and asking them to move to a certain position just sometimes doesn’t work. You’ll also notice units acting a bit stupid and randomly getting out of position despite clearly being told what to do.
The game is very unforgiving, the enemy AI is ready to keep you on your toes with surprise attacks so you’ll probably find yourself replaying missions more often than not, or doing what I did, reducing the difficulty, when you are having to fight your own AI as well as the enemy it was hardly surprising I took the easier option. Thankfully the controls are fairly intuitive, if a bit fiddly at times. I’d advise you play through the tutorials regardless to give you a chance to get used to them otherwise you’ll really struggle with the game.
We were given the European Battlefields Edition of the game which meant we also got play plus the Battle of Kursk, Sudden Strike 4: Road to Dunkirk and Finland – Winter Storm, as well as three exclusive maps for Xbox One, if you are looking for an RTS with lots of content, Sudden Strike 4 really wont let you down there.
Visually the game looks great, with great details not only in the environment but the units too zoom in as much as possible and you’ll see what I mean. I was particularly impressed during the winter levels of the game. It also runs really well despite the amount units and destruction you’ll see on screen at any one time, the voice acting in the game is good too, although it gets a little repetitive which can ruin any immersion you have.
Overall, Sudden Strike 4 is a bit of a mixed bag for me. It scratched my itch for an RTS, the detail in the storytelling is excellent, but the AI was a big frustration. Command and Conquer fans will love this but if you are the new to RTS games you may be better off looking to try some easier titles to set you on your way.