Sudden Strike 4 – Once More Into the Breach
Sudden Strike 4 on PC
One of the things I have always liked about the Sudden Strike series is the focus on unit management instead of resource gathering. This focus on the nitty gritty of command is once again at the forefront of Sudden Strike 4, the latest in the long-running strategy franchise.
Sudden Strike 4 from Kalypso Media doesn’t seek so much to move forward from its predecessors as much as it tries to refine on what came before. This isn’t a bad thing, considering that what is put forth with this offering is a very polished World War II strategy title that will make fans of previous games in the series feel right at home.
Jumping into the game, you can choose from the major WW2 players the Axis, the Allies, or the Russians. Each of the individual campaigns has their own missions and battle scenarios to play out, providing plenty of gameplay options and longevity. I, of course, jumped right into the Allied campaign and got ready to get into the action.
Before you can begin the battle though, you are presented with your choices of generals for your current fight. Each general has their own doctrines, which in gameplay translates into varied skill trees. As you play you will earn point to put into these trees, and customize your leader’s benefits to the troops in battle. It is a neat mechanic for gameplay, and it also lends itself to the history being presented in the game.
The first battle for the Allies is the critical D-Day invasion, specifically the battle at Utah Beach and looking ahead on the battlemap one can see the upcoming scenarios grayed out until they are unlocked. They are of course drawn from some of the more popular and well-known battles of World War II.
The battle at hand starts out somewhat differently and instead of focusing first on the beach invasion, you begin as a paratrooper dropped in behind the invasion line. Scattered and lost your first objective is to gather your men. It is a nice way to work in the tutorial as you maneuver your unit around and gather your first squad.
Shortly after though it is time to get into the action and the game does little to hold your hand, other than providing brief tutorials when new units or mechanics are available, often at pivotal moments in the battle. Anyone who has spent any time playing Real-Time Strategy games should be right at home with the controls and the game understands that and lets you get into the fun of maneuvering your forces and attacking your objectives as quickly as possible. Of course, there is a full tutorial mission for those who need more instruction before they jump into the game.
One of the things I truly enjoy is being able to capture or commandeer enemy and even civilian vehicles. During my first scenario, I had a squad of my paratroopers marauding around the French countryside in two civilian cars. I was also able to acquire some enemy artillery and use it against them, this allows for some dynamic gameplay to unfold throughout the course of the battle as you find new ways to utilize the found equipment. It is also one of the ways you can gain an edge being as you can not simply sit back and build a giant army before attacking.
In Sudden Strike you will be given reinforcements at predetermined points in the battle. These are for the most part what you have to accomplish your goal. There is no gathering wood to build a hut to get more soldiers. In the first scenario, a major example of this is when the beach invasion begins. You now not only have control of your ragtag assortment of paratroopers, but you now are also issuing orders to the incoming beach forces, including some heavy hardware like tanks.
Breaking your units down by squads and using flanking maneuvers and other smart tactics will give you the edge to complete the mission objectives and keep your troops alive and healthy as the battle draws on. The fights in Sudden Strike 4 are not simple one-offs and have multiple layers and objectives to ensure victory on the map. You can save during the missions and I recommend doing so after major accomplishments or receiving reinforcements to avoid replaying the whole map from the beginning should the late-game turn against you.
The game also allows you to pause it at any time with the click of the space bar allowing you to sit back for a moment and strategically plan out your attack. It is a nice feature that can be used to study a situation before committing to a major action.
As the game progresses you will be given access to bigger and better hardware, as will the enemy. You will also have Air Support which can be used for everything from reconnaissance, to bombing and strafing runs, however, the enemy will have anti-air weaponry so keep an eye out before you send the planes in. The planes also seem to move incredibly slow so keep that in mind when planning combined arms operations.
Overall I certainly enjoyed my time with the campaign mode in Sudden Strike 4, the game also has multiplayer which as of writing I have not yet had the chance to try but will surely extend the life of the game for true enthusiasts. Armchair Generals looking to once again lead the armies of WWII to victory will not be disappointed by the crisp and refined presentation and classic strategy gameplay of Sudden Strike 4.