Friday, August 11, 2017

Sudden Strike 4 Gameplay Review

I'm playing Sudden Strike 4, a real-time strategy game by Kite Games and Kalypso Media.

The game features three campaigns of seven missions each for the Soviets, Allies, and Germans; there are also two-mission Dunkirk campaigns for the Germans and Allies. Each mission has a more difficult “challenge” version with less support or an additional side objective. Choosing a leader doctrine before each map grants different buffs for infantry, armored, or support units. While using the typical structure of a real-time strategy campaign (attack here, then defend here), the missions are usually balanced well enough, providing challenge while remaining mostly fair. Skirmish and online modes are more disappointing: only four maps supporting 4v4 matches that involve a huge clash in the first minute of each match, followed by combat between two or three units at a time, due to a combination of the fast overall pace of the game and the slow speed that reinforcements can be brought in. Units include infantry, tanks, and artillery units that can be ordered into formations by holding down the right-mouse button. While medics and repair trucks will automatically heal surrounding units, Sudden Strike 4 is hindered by very inconsistent pathfinding: units routinely collide with other units (getting temporarily stuck), and while they sometimes engage enemy units within range, sometimes they do not, resulting in a need for constant micromanagement of your units. Because of the fast pace of the game, this can be an impossible task. The best feature of the game is occupying buildings with infantry: each structure has a specified number of windows that can be fired from, providing a layer of convincing realism. While the campaign scenarios are generally entertaining, the pathfinding issues (compounded by the fast pace) and underwhelming skirmish mode make Sudden Strike 4 come up a bit short.