Sudden Strike 4 (PC) Review

By Renan Fontes 11.08.2017 1

Review for Sudden Strike 4 on PC

If there's one war the video game industry loves to capitalise on more than any other, it's World War II. It's a set piece unlike any other. Technology is advanced enough where combat can be exhilarating, but not to the point where one side is overpowered. Allies are the good guys, Axis powers are the bad guys, and war is hell. The further time marches away from it, the more elusive and romanticised it becomes. It makes sense that there have been so many World War II simulators and shooters - but have there been too many? After a seven-year silence, Sudden Strike returns to reunite World War II with real-time strategy. The question is whether or not the market's seen enough WWII titles since 2010.

It's immediately made clear just how little content there is to help distinguish Sudden Strike 4 from other World War II RTSs: the same armies, the same battles, and the same mechanics return yet again.

To be fair to Kite Games, it is taking over from Fireglow Games, along with developing a World War II RTS that's deeply grounded in historical battles. The liberties they can take with the premise simply are few and far between. It would be easy to write off the whole RTS as just another World War II simulator, but the question needs to be asked: does unoriginality mean bad?

To call Sudden Strike 4 original would be to lie. Even in its own series, it does very little to differentiate itself from past titles. That isn't a bad thing in this case, though. The last entry in the series came out over half a decade ago.

Screenshot for Sudden Strike 4 on PC

While those same armies, battles, and mechanics may seem derivative on paper, it's important to consider how they're implemented.

The Allies, the USSR, and the Axis powers all have their campaigns that span seven missions. Each mission contains three side objectives to complete along with the main goal. It's nothing new to the genre or franchise, but it is well done.

Maps are tightly constructed with destructible environments in mind. Spawn points are given a great deal of consideration to ensure battles strike a balance of fair and historical accuracy. Along with all the supplementary objectives available in each mission, each campaign feels very much alive with plenty of excitement.

Screenshot for Sudden Strike 4 on PC

A lack of traditional reinforcements and base building return from previous titles. Reinforcements are entirely scripted in single-player, and virtually non-existent in multiplayer without a creative use of special skills. Base building's absence means that the loss of any given vehicle will be felt tenfold, and helps make sure that battle tactics won't boil down to constantly building and sacrificing tanks.

Complementing the three main story modes are two alternate takes on the Battle of Dunkirk: a total of four missions that follow both sides during the conflict. Its inclusion is a bit suspicious considering how the timing coincides with Christopher Nolan's recent film on the subject, but the missions do such a good job at covering the battle that the reasoning behind their inclusion hardly matters.

Leader skills - new to the series, but not to the genre - add a new element of strategy and minor customisation to missions. Each leader has their own roster of abilities that can be "bought" with stars gained from completing side objectives. This is a great way to incentivise the optional content without making it feel mandatory. Leaders are fortuitous enough as is, but the bonus abilities do spice things up a bit for the adventurous.

Screenshot for Sudden Strike 4 on PC

While praises can and should be sung for the single-player material, the multiplayer is noticeably lacking. A total of four maps and one mode mean that online most likely won't last long at all. If anything, the multiplayer feels like an afterthought thrown in to appeal to lure in prospective buyers with the false pretence of an in-depth online experience. As disappointing as the online is, though, it's not enough to take away from just how strong the single-player content is.

It's almost amazing how well Sudden Strike 4 succeeds with everything set up against it. On paper, it really is no different from any other World War II RTS. Even in execution, all its parts create a familiar whole. What makes it really stand out is just how much fun it has with that familiarity. There may come a day where World War II just won't be a viable premise anymore, but Sudden Strike is proof that day has yet to come.

Screenshot for Sudden Strike 4 on PC

Cubed3 Rating

8/10
Rated 8 out of 10

Great - Silver Award

Rated 8 out of 10

Sudden Strike 4's biggest takeaway is that market saturation means nothing in the face of a good game. Kite Games might not bring anything new to the table, but it does offer a refined RTS experience that sincerely has fun with the World War II premise. Five separate campaigns for a total of 25 missions give the single-player a considerable amount of longevity. The inclusion of the Battle of Dunkirk from both sides is a surprising, but welcome addition. A lack of base building traditionally found in most RTS titles gives each unit weight. Side missions, likewise, create a sense of urgency that feels right at home with Sudden Strike's aesthetic. While multiplayer does admittedly feel scarce, there's more than enough solid content in the single-player to make up for a lack of online material. World War II is far from the most original setting at this point, but that doesn't mean it can't still be fun.

Developer

Kite Games

Publisher

Kalypso

Genre

Strategy

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date None   Australian release date Out now   

Comments

Halbarad (guest) 11.08.2017#1

I only want to point out that Sudden Strike is a real time tactics (RTT) game, not a RTS. I'm pedantic over that, I know, but as a strategy game player I'm big on getting the sub-genre correct, haha.

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