As some of you are most probably aware, Sudden Strike 4 has been around now for a good 18 months or so with its release back in August of 2017. So why am I reviewing it now you may ask. Well, in all honesty I was sent it by mistake by the developers Kalypso Media when I was asking to review another game (which I will be doing very soon) but I said that I would give the game a try and write my thoughts on it here on our website.
Sudden Strike 4 is the fifth title in the series (fourth standalone title) and is a real time tactics game set in the lovely time of World War 2 consisting of missions based on real time battles from that era. Let’s be honest, who out there doesn’t like a war game? The sure releases of the awful Call of Duty games on a yearly basis sums that fact up alone with them selling millions of units.
There are three separate campaigns you can take part in playing; the Allies (hoorah for Churchill), the Germans and The Soviets and as I said before they are based on real life battles throughout the 20 missions you are tasked with undertaking. The great thing about this game is the fact that its a simulation; yes, I know that’s an obvious statement but bare with me.. Most games that are set around the time of the Second World War always portray the Germans as the enemy and no matter what they do, they will always loose, when the reality was they were merciless soldiers all fighting for their country as were everyone at that time. There were plenty of battles that took place where the Germans did slaughter a lot of their enemies and this is usually forgotten or ignored as everyone wants to stay patriotic to the victors. It’s nice to be able to take control of “The Enemy” and try to replicate the battles that they did win once in a while, and Sudden Strike 4 gives us the perfect opportunity to do so.
Starting the game and selecting a mission gives you a brief rundown of what is about to take place and the events which led to the battle happening, so if you want to justify getting the game for your kids then its simple. Its a history lesson within a game and an unbiased one at that. You get to choose from three famous generals to play as, each coming with their own perks which can buff your soldiers in battle and these buffs do make a difference. Although, I’m not sure that the voice over was great, I mean, how many Soviet or German commanders at the time spoke in a fluent American accent? Well, they all seem to in here. The term ‘Herr Kommandant’ spoken by someone sounding like John Wayne is a little off-putting.
With most games of this type there is usually a great deal of emphasis put on to base building within to strengthen units and produce more to send into battle, Sudden Strike 4 doesn’t have that. Lets be honest, it would have been great at that time for struggling countries to build some pop-up tents and building to produce more infantry as well as weapons. Instead of this you are given a set number of different units ranging from ground troops to tanks to support vehicles which can provide on site repairs of damaged tanks. Every so often within the levels you get the message that support is on its way and as if by magic a few more troops and tanks will roll in to the edge of the map miles away from where you have managed to advance to and you need to control them into your forward troops to back them up. These instances are few and far between however and you do have to think before you act; sending multiple units together into battle is normally a sure way of getting them all killed. Splitting the various units is a much better way and trying to find a building to send infantry into to take out the enemy by surprise leaving a safe path for your tanks was a much better way of dealing with things when it is possible to do so.
One issue I did find with the game was the controls. The basic premise of commanding your troops is pretty easy, you select the troops you want to command with the X button and then select where you want them to move to with the O button. In theory the idea works well, however more often than not, in the heat of battle when your troops are being attacked you try to command them to move away and they just refuse to move. This led to the deaths of way more troops than you can imagine and became very annoying. Before reaching those battles though, when you do command your units to move (and when they behave for you) there is a nice touch where you can select the attacking formation and which direction you want those units to face when they do reach where they’re going; an all important feature. If you send the units in to battle facing the wrong way they face the chance of being attacked from the sides or behind with no way of defending themselves.
The idea of a technical game as this being used with PS4 controls rather than a PC was worrying at first however through a nice training mission at the start of the game the controls are very well explained and the developers have made good use of the controller keeping it quite simple to successfully manage the game. Rather than selecting each unit you want to use by clicking on each individual you control an expanding circle which will select everything within its radius and away you go. This makes it quicker to select everything you need to get them out of danger fast or thats if they decide to listen to your control input and move (perhaps the Japanese Kamikaze types have infiltrated the ranks).
Once you do get the hang of things however, the game does feel very rewarding destroying the scenery around you until there is precious little left and wiping out the enemy forces, but as far as a RTT goes the game doesn’t really present anything new or innovative as far as this genre goes. Everything that you find within the game has been done before, but Sudden Strike 4 still does it well. It’s the same old routine as far as the levels go, each being slightly more tricky and involved than the last and the game introducing more and more units at your disposal the further you progress. The graphics are simple enough but are extremely effective especially when you are bombarding the enemy with rocket fire when they are dug in so that you wipe out not only them, but the buildings and foliage as well.
I did enjoy the game even though there were some major issues with controlling units in as far as they wouldn’t move when I needed them to, and I’m sure fans of the series will enjoy the game as well as anyone that is looking for a new RTT to play. 7/10 for me is the scores on the side of the panzer tanks.
**PLEASE NOTE: AIR Entertainment were kindly supplied with a copy of the game by Kalypso Media. This has in no way influenced my views on the game as per our Review Policy**