Partisans 1941 (PC) Review

By Eric Ace 19.10.2020

Review for Partisans 1941 on PC

Graphically impressive for the developing studio Alter Games' first game release, Partisans 1941 is a real-time tactical strategy game where players take a small squad through a series of battles. Taking place at the height of the German/Russian war, these characters find themselves behind enemy lines and must battle with low supplies, food and access to medical care. The game is published by Daedalic Entertainment which has released a few other strategy games previously covered by Cubed3, most of which have similar stealth elements to their games.

Partisans 1941 plays very similar to the publisher's other real-time strategy games with stealth, such as Blades of the Shogun ((http://www.cubed3.com/review/3454/1/shadow-tactics-blades-of-the-shogun-pc.html)). They feel so similar it actually was not a big surprise when it was discovered they in fact came from the same publisher. Taking place in 1941, this game focuses on a small group of soldiers who are caught up behind enemy lines and forced to fight against an enemy with no larger structure of support.

As a result of the setup of the game, most of the engagements involve sneaking around, small squad battles, then cleaning up with looting gear and supplies. The game is played in an ever-moving real time fashion with only a 'slow down' feature to put some orders in. Typically, characters can be moved around a town or forest, then attacks can be set up after which the soldiers execute the moves. Afterwards bodies can be looted before moving on to the next section of the map.

There are stealth elements of the game, and luckily, they are fairly lenient with sightlines and determining whether someone actually was seen or not. The reason this is brought up is because the game is fairly random and not in a good way. Featuring a type of permanent damage system, a soldier can be wounded, and this damage carries over into the next map, including some types of disabilities. For the sake of immersion, it was a cool idea, but it can cause a downward spiral very quickly, on top of the fundamental inconsistencies of combat.

Combat largely takes a very realistic route, meaning it is chaotic, random, and a single bullet or two can kill anyone. A single grenade can wipe out five or more men, a machinegun can mow down a whole squad. In this regard it is far different from games like Valkyria Chronicles where characters can take 50 rounds at times. However, the downside is that a long level can be over too fast and all of a sudden. It happens very frequently. When an ambush is set up, the squad starts attacking and if they miss their shots, the enemy turns around and machine guns down the whole crew - game over. Conversely, after a quick reload the soldiers could hit their targets this time around and move on.

Screenshot for Partisans 1941 on PC

This creates a strange balance for the player. After all, humans are not really that strong, it only takes a few hits, especially from firearms, and people are dead. It is fine in a game with hundreds of soldiers, but for an RPG-like game it is too severe. Too often it lends itself to save abuse because it is too catastrophic when things go bad.

There are a lot of small inconsistencies and annoyances that get in the way. One of the more egregious ones is how bad the voice acting is. The characters are supposed to be Russian, but the accent is very, very heavily English. Half the time there seemed an expectation for them to burst out into something stereotypical such as saying, 'Cheerio mate'. The voice acting is bad, and the terrible accent makes the game feel cheap. From an immersive point of view, it felt like these were British people - not Russian. Another problem is the text sizing which borders on microscopic for items.

Some cool ideas were that food and ammo had to be found on the maps, giving a feeling of fighting a desperate battle. One fun choice was that often the best items were in civilian houses but taking them incurred harsh morale penalties. Graphically the environments looked really good. The characters had a bit of uncanniness to them, but overall no major complaints here. The game is not bad per se, but likewise it just felt like a slog getting through. Some parts were interesting, like the food and survival aspects, but far too often battles were simply either winning or reloading until winning, which is never a fun thing.

Screenshot for Partisans 1941 on PC

Cubed3 Rating

5/10
Rated 5 out of 10

Average

Taking the role of a small, under-equipped squad is a novel angle for a real time strategy game like this. Some aspects of Partisans 1941 were interesting, but the core of the game has too many small complaints to recommend it in a high regard. Combat being far too random is the largest problem as it is causing constant saves and reloads with how deadly it is. Strategy games are in a dearth right now, so this is not a bad game in the slightest if there is a need to play something new, but it simply does not stack up against some of the heavy weights of the genre.

Developer

Alter Games

Publisher

Daedalic Entertainment

Genre

Strategy

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  5/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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