Sudden Strike 4: European Battlefields Edition is the definitive version of the fourth title in the long running real time strategy series featuring not only the base game with its three campaigns as well as four more through the included Road to Dunkirk and Finland: Winter Storm add-ons plus a version exclusive three levels. While Sudden Strike 4 is available on other platforms, the European Battlefields Edition is exclusive to the XBOX One.
STORY / CHARACTERS
Featuring stories of the battles of World War II – from all sides, Sudden Strike 4 gives you the reins in some of the biggest battles of the war, commanding 100+ different unique units such as my favorite, the German Panzer tank as either the Allied Nations of the British and Americans, the German forces or the Soviet Union. With the addition of the Road of Dunkirk DLC, you can also relive battles from one of the riskiest rescue missions to save British and French forces during 1940’s Battle of Dunkirk as well as the Finland-Winter Storm DLC adding battles between the Soviet and Finnish forces from late 1940 to 1944. As someone who absolutely loves history especially the Second World War, I was blown away by the accuracy and detail put into recreating historic locations and battles.
Sudden Strike 4 is a real time strategy featuring highly realistic combat with a huge focus on tactics and skill. The game offers various ways to play each mission with the addition of classes based on tactics of historic military officials during WW2 known as doctrines which determine skills and units among other things for your battles.
Functioning as a WW2 RTS, the game has players selecting their units and issuing commands and doing this is rather simple, with most commands being accessible on the right side face buttons (A,B,X,Y) with a fairly easy to understand HUD and an extremely helpful tutorial for players that may not be familiar with the series or RTS games in general, which is a welcome addition as I am far from a master commander. The game itself plays a little slow at first while you get acquainted to the game but can be intense at times. The game does leave a lot to be desired at times as things can feel too scripted and less about choices and can ruin the flow of levels.
GRAPHICS / PERFORMANCE
The game is beautiful with great art during menus and loading screens and despite being zoomed out during gameplay, the environments are detailed whether it be trashed buildings, destroyed units, the greenery of open plains, the torn up grounds of battlefields, or the well-designed units to name a few. The character portraits whether of a unit, a commander or the famous military officials on the doctrines screen are well done as well. Performance-wise, I was impressed with Sudden Strike 4 as it had fast loading screens and from my time spent with the game, I didn’t have any noticeable issues with performance, aside light stuttering once during a more intense section in the Kursk battle.
SOUND / MUSIC / VOICE ACTING
I was a little disappointed in the voice acting for this game at first as while the units speak with their respective language and accents during gameplay, the commanders giving you info during gameplay by default always speak with a generic American English voice but this is more a nitpick as it detracted from the overall WW2 feel but can be remedied by the various language settings that allow for spoken word and subtitles to be in German, English, French, Spanish, Italian or Russian. The music and sound of the game itself are generally well-done but the fairly ‘tropey’ WW2 video game music had me thinking I had booted up Battlefield 1942 at times but is well composed and the game is mixed well and there is never volume issues.
ONLINE / MULTIPLAYER
For fear of getting my ass kicked as hard as the first few times, I have stayed fairly far away from the multiplayer. This is no fault to the game itself though as the game has a robust multiplayer mode featuring custom lobbies as well as quick match so you can fine tune your match or just jump in. If online multiplayer is not your cup of tea, there is a local skirmish mode with bots and local players.
Featuring seven campaigns with 31 levels in total as well as the multiplayer modes- there’s a lot to do in Sudden Strike 4: European Battlefields Edition. The campaign has a “challenge level” for each level as well if the player can earn three stars on the scenario of choice. But this is for players who can stay fairly interested long enough to do so as the game gets repetitive once you get through each level once in the first place, let alone enough times to unlock all 31 bonus levels.
Going in, I was excited to play Sudden Strike 4 based on my love of WW2. Getting past some initial boredom and monotony, I was able to find some enjoyment in the game just based on its setting. As a real time strategy game, it is fairly fun but there are more diverse experiences to be found elsewhere. I can recommend this game for war buffs and fans of the series, but I personally didnt enjoy it enough to complete most of the game. If you are a fan of the series and havent purchased the game yet, this is the best deal for the game as it retails for the same as just the base game on Steam and includes more content but otherwise I would not recommend it.