Review – Sudden Strike 4: European Battlefields Edition
There’s no denying real-time strategy (RTS) games on consoles have had difficulty establishing the same devoted following they enjoy on PC, but Sudden Strike 4: European Battlefields Edition – an updated version of a game that released almost a year ago on PS4 and PC – does a great job making a historically tough genre approachable to a new crowd.
Sudden Strike 4 uses a top-down perspective, immediately familiar to any RTS fan, and those with an Xbox One X and 4K TV will be surprised at the detail in the terrain, units, and even the weather effects. Coordinating attacks and setting up specialized custom units is much easier when you can see what’s going on, so the 4K support is a huge plus for those that can make use of it. Artillery, tanks, and infantry form the classic ‘rock/paper/scissors’ triangle of effectiveness – you’ll want to avoid rushing tanks with infantry soldiers, for example, though there are times when the game leaves you little choice.
In addition to those three, there’s also aircraft – at least in some engagements. Fortunately, this category of unit is supplied by airbases out of the player’s control, or every encounter would turn into bombing and strafing enemy forces into oblivion while keeping all your other units on the shelf.
Luckily, gamers will need to make full use of their full army – made easier by a control scheme that takes a little getting used to, but – once it’s learned – proves responsive enough to allow for quick action and counter-actions during heated battles. The battlefield is constantly changing, with new enemy forces being uncovered constantly, and enemy actions – like blowing up a bridge you intended to cross – necessitating quick and decisive reactions.
The AI of friendly units – particularly the tanks – could be better, proving the only real flaw to the gameplay. Issuing an order for a flanking maneuver that should leave the enemy wide open, only to have your tanks waste the opportunity by milling about aimlessly trying to figure out how to get through a simple gap, can be a maddening process. I had to babysit my armoured division more than I’d have liked, but it’s a small price to pay for total domination of the battlefield…