Sudden Strike is a World War II-themed strategy gaming series that started in 2000 but disappeared after 2010. Now Kalypso Media and developer Kite Games are bringing it back for a new generation of PC gamers. We played an early build of Sudden Strike 4, and strategy fans are going to love it.
Sudden Strike 4
The first Sudden Strike debuted on PCs in the year 2000, with the most recent entry Sudden Strike: The Last Stand appearing in 2010. Since original developer Fireglow Games is no longer business, Budapest-based developer Kite Games and Kalypso have taken over and revived the series with the upcoming Sudden Strike 4.
The Sudden Strike games closely resemble real time strategy (RTS) games, but they fall under a slightly different genre known as real-time tactics (RTT). This genre differs slightly from RTS in that it doesn't include base-building or resource gathering. Since players can't produce more units at will, preserving individual units is important.
Sudden Strike 4 offers three campaigns set during World War II: Allied, German, and Soviet. Each campaign mission is based on an actual historical battle. Players can't change the course of history, so the winning side of each battle is predetermined. But even though your faction can't win certain battles, you'll still have objectives to complete such as evacuating forces safely.
Before going into battle, you'll select from three real-life generals. The Allies have Bernard Montgomery, George Patton, and Omar Bradley. They all have specific abilities based on their historical careers that will aid during missions. For instance, Patton's specialty was tanks. So tanks under his command begin with armor-piercing anti-tank rounds and have the ability to dig in behind sandbags for defense bonuses. Abilities can also be upgraded using stars earned from completing campaign missions.
The Allied mission we played took place during the Battle of the Bulge, in which the Germans attempted to capture Antwerp and separate the American and British armies. As the mission begins, the Allies have lost contact with headquarters.
Players must first send a soldier into the snow-covered village to set up an observation post. Once he enters the building, we disable the soldier's 'Fire at Will' setting so that he won't draw the attention of passing German vehicles. After the bad guys leave, we send our lone soldier back to base to report his findings.
Shortly after he returns to his unit, German soldiers discover the camp and attack. Our forces fend off the infantry, but are soon forced to retreat by a group of tanks. We fall back through a dense forest in a surprisingly dramatic escape. Forests provide defense and vision bonuses, as well as blocking tanks from pursuit.
We also checked out another mission that takes place in a burnt-out city. This gave us a good look at the game's captured vehicle mechanics. Unlike most RTS games, players can capture vehicles that have been damaged but not destroyed. If you repair the vehicle, you'll then be able to use it in battle. Similarly, players can send soldiers to capture mines and then use them against enemy forces.
I was impressed by Sudden Strike 4's realism and attention to detail. For instance, the snow and rain we saw can affect both the visibility and mobility of units. The vast assortment of over 100 historically-accurate units and buildings that can both be occupied and destroyed also lend authenticity and depth. The only big drawback in the preview version I played was the terrible voice acting. The game has several more months of development though, so perhaps they'll record new voices closer to release.
Sudden Strike 4 will feature over 20 single-player scenarios, a skirmish mode, and online multiplayer. It will come to PC and PlayStation 4 in Spring 2017. Although the developers don't have the manpower to work on an Xbox One version just yet, I'm hoping the game will come to Microsoft's console sometime in the future.