What is Sudden Strike 4?
A game of planning, tactics, and making the best of what you have, Sudden Strike 4 is a strategy game set in the midst of WW2. With three extensive single player campaigns on offer, you can play through some of the war's biggest (and most important) battles from the perspective of either the USSR, Germany, or a combined British/American allied side. With 21 huge single player missions on offer across the campaigns, along with a Skirmish mode that lets you take on the AI in a customisable battle, and an online multiplayer mode that lets you challenge opponents from around the world, it's up to you to use your tactical nous and cunning to direct your troops, outsmart the enemy, and seize your victory.
How do you play Sudden Strike 4?
Unlike many strategy games, there's no base building or resource management to speak of in Sudden Strike. Played from a top down perspective, you'll start each mission with only a limited amount of units - and bar a few timely reinforcements, the units you start with are the ones you'll take through to the end. With no way of churning out replacements, every tank, soldier, and vehicle you start with counts - and you'll need to plan your strategies to suit.
It's how you choose to use your units that'll give you the upper hand, and you'll need to think hard about how to get the best out of your troops before heading into any conflicts. Different units are best equipped to deal with different situations, and you'll need to work hard to keep your most valuable units safe. If your repair vehicle gets blown up, you may end up being forced to abandon any tanks that get critically damaged; similarly, if your medics get killed, then you'll have no way of reviving critically injured troops. Luckily, you can scavenge anything your enemy leaves behind as the battle progresses, often letting you pick up field guns, vehicles, and even tanks, which can sometimes be a real difference maker. With a huge amount of variety to the missions, you'll be performing beach landings; calling in artillery strikes so you can storm a town; or finding yourself battered and beaten, down to your very last unit, yet somehow clinging on enough to complete the mission throughout the game's lengthy campaign.
How easy is Sudden Strike 4 to pick up and play?
As a game that relies so heavily on strategy, and with no single, surefire way of winning, Sudden Strike 4 is a game with a pretty steep learning curve, and plenty of ups and downs. With an almost puzzle-esque feel to the missions, you may have to have several attempts at each before you figure out a way to take on the enemies you face, but it never gets frustrating. Luckily, you can choose to manually save at any point mid mission, meaning you won't have to re-do the whole thing if you do make a big mistake - something which is doubly useful, as many of the missions can easily take well over an hour to complete.
While there is a tutorial here, it does only cover the very basics of the game, so you'll need to figure out most of the tactics (and features) and tricks for yourself. In general, there's a lot of micromanagement here, too - while your units will return fire, they won't act fully autonomously, and with limited ammo and fuel, you'll need to make sure your supply trucks stay safe (or scavenge the enemy's), to keep your tanks and soldiers fighting. Similarly, a basic knowledge of WW2 vehicles and weaponry, and how they work will go a long way. Knowing that the front of a tank has its strongest armour (and the back its weakest) can make a huge difference to conflicts - and if you know the difference between a Howitzer and an Anti-Tank Gun, you'll have a much smoother ride here.
In terms of reading/writing, Sudden Strike 4 is fully subtitled, and mostly voiced. However, with mission intros that are unvoiced, and regular tutorials/prompts mid-mission delivered through text only, a reading ability is required.
With nothing in the way of bad language or sexual content, the only thing Sudden Strike 4 contains in the way of mature content is some moderate violence. Soldiers give out small spurts of blood when defeated, sometimes leaving a pool of blood around their body, before fading away.
Format Reviewed: PC