Sudden Strike 4 Review – An Interesting Take on the WW2 RTS Genre

Sudden Strike 4
Kite Games/Kalypso Media Digital

World War 2 and real-time strategy seem to have been made for each other. Being able to manage your little digital soldier men (and all of their assorted vehicles) on the fly can really create some visceral, cinematic moments. It all started with Relic Entertainment’s 2006 iconic title, Company of Heroes.

COH got just about everything right. The point capture system was addictive, as was the point gain pool system for requisitioning new units. Many RTS titles have since tried to in vain to vie for that lofty of King of WW2 RTS’s, but sadly most have failed. The few standouts only managed to amass their followings because they created their own unique ripples in the classic formula that COH established.

The primary titles that have stood out through the years have been the Men of War and Sudden Strike franchises. They did so by developing their own brands of real-time WW2 strategy and while I’ve played the MOW games, I’ve never tried a Sudden Strike title, until now.

One unfortunate thing that I’ve noticed throughout the years, not just with WW2 RTS titles but with RTS’s in general, is that developers have curiously done away with the base building aspect of their games. This disturbing trend flies in the face of what most strategy gamers have been clamoring for throughout the years—the ability to build up bases in real-time and defend them (or build forward bases, etc.).

Sudden Strike 4 follows this odd trend of not giving the player anything to build. You start off with a set amount of units at the beginning of each mission and that’s it. The only way that you can obtain any kind of reinforcements is when you accomplish certain objectives, so those looking for more of a Command & Conquer-style experience should probably look elsewhere.

As I played Sudden Strike 4, however, I began to see that this system does have its merits. Having to deal with a very limited pool of men and vehicles (with the ability to call in close air support) means that you really have to carefully plan every approach you take. In other words, rusher-types will most likely end up being torn to pieces and will have to re-start missions more frequently than shrewd tacticians.

The real test of any RTS game is its multiplayer, since once people are done with a game’s campaign there’s really nothing else to do. Sudden Strike 4 features a “balanced play” style approach to multiplayer games. In other words, each map has mirrored sides so that no one has the upper hand, geographically speaking.

The base game comes with three factions, the Allies, Germans, and Russians. The game’s four available DLC add several more. Unfortunately, the additional DLC factions have fewer doctrines so that means less in terms of variety. Curiously, whereas in most WW2 RTS games, one multiplayer side plays as Allies and the other Axis (for historical purposes), in Sudden Strike 4 folks can mix and match factions across both sides.

One thing that Sudden Strike 4 has going for it is its phenomenal graphics. The visuals in this game beat out any other WW2 RTS’s to date. Vehicles rumble and pivot with realism, sending beautiful dust clouds in their wake; bushes part for both vehicles and infantry; tire tracks stay in the dirt or snow; weapon streaks are followed by undulating ribbons of smoke. This game is quite the looker, that’s for sure.

Sudden Strike 4 is a hard game to review. On one hand, they really rolled the dice with their non-base building system and rather small maps. On the other, they’ve made it so that each unit on the battlefield must be looked after, which negates much of the mindless rush tactics that many folks employ. But overall, it’s a solid WW2 RTS that would be right at home in any armchair strategist’s game library.

SCORE: 78%

Sudden Strike 4 has some pretty nice looking graphics that make its RTS gameplay truly shine. However, you want to have a pretty beefy gaming PC or gaming laptop in order to play it at a decent framerate. So, you may just want to invest in a decent gaming rig:

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