Due to the fact that controllers are less intuitive than mouse and keyboard when it comes to advanced controls, real-time strategy (RTS) games rarely come to consoles. The last one to be released on Xbox One with major success was Halo Wars 2, over a year ago. However, thanks to its gameplay quality and well-designed controls, Sudden Strike 4 will bring Xbox players a fantastic RTS experience.

Bird's eye view of World War II

As with most RTS games, Sudden Strike 4 is shown from a top-down perspective, which you use in order to coordinate and command your various military units. You can play as several different factions that fought in the second World War, and each one has its own unique arsenal available. However, something universal between them all is the emphasis on four unit types: infantry, tanks, artillery, or aircraft. The former three are all types of units that you can pick and choose, but your air power is limited to whatever off-screen airbases you have ready.

Understanding how each unit contributes to battle is critical. Infantry is great for taking ground and both assaulting and holding positions; tanks are useful for heavy frontline damage; artillery is perfect for softening up enemy fortifications; and aircraft fill numerous roles from the skies. In addition to this, cover and high ground impact how units fight, as well, with the former making them more resilient, while the latter gives them better angles to attack with in combat.

An area that Sudden Strike 4 exceeds expectations in is with its controls. While console RTS titles typically feel disappointing or frustrating to play, this game stands out. The controls are intuitive, responsive, and crisp, and you'll never have a problem multitasking and making decisions rapidly.

One place the game has issues, however, is the way units move from place to place. Pathfinding, especially on armored tank units, can often bug out and as a result, that unit will have a lot of trouble going where you want it to. In most scenarios, this won't hurt your chances at victory, but in tight scenarios where every little thing counts, a unit not being where it was told to be just might be the difference between victory and defeat.

Mostly satisfying presentation

Considering the majority of RTS games typically lack in the graphics department, it's impressive just how good Sudden Strike 4 looks. Aside from some admittedly cartoony infantry models, the terrain, weather effects, structures, and armored units of the battlefield all look excellent. Like the visuals, the sound effects are great, as well, with everything from rapid machine gun fire to artillery barrages sounding authentic.

The only issue here is with the voice acting, which is largely devoid of genuine-sounding emotion. This is unfortunate, as it takes away from the immersion and makes it difficult to connect with the characters you meet and work with over the course of the game's campaign.

Final thoughts on Sudden Strike 4

Despite some buggy unit pathfinding and poor voice acting, Sudden Strike 4's tactical depth, excellent controls, and gorgeous overall presentation make it the best console RTS since Halo Wars 2.

Pros:

  • Strong gameplay depth.
  • Excellent presentation.
  • Great controls.

Cons:

  • Spotty unit pathfinding.
  • Lackluster voice acting.

4 out of 5

You can buy Sudden Strike 4 now on Xbox One for $39.99.

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