Sudden Strike 2
Jamie Wharton / Sep 30th, 2002 No Comments
I can see why people speak ill of World War 2 now. Six years the Forties folk had to endure…I’ve had to review a pile of games based on their plight and I’m getting a little bored of shelling our wurst loving friends. Despite this slight overkill though, the war has offered a number of excellent gaming scenarios, Sudden Strike and indeed its sequel, package many of these scenarios into a very refreshing RTS experience.
In my opinion, the vast majority of RTS games are very lazy clones; you get your post-apocalyptic scenario, your harvesting of raw materials, power stations, barracks…blah, blah…and a thousand other things stolen from Red Alert. The whole resource gathering has seemingly been deemed an essential part of RTS games and the few that have done away with it have proved the more enjoyable. The best example of this is the amazing Shogun (and for another example see my up-coming review of Medieval: Total War), tactics were the prime consideration, building as many units as possible is not an issue as a small force with better tactics can fend off seemingly impossible odds. This is why Sudden Strike 2 is great.
Spread over 40 missions over 5 campaigns, you take control of one of 5 nations, the Germans, Russians, British, Americans and Japanese. There are a ridiculous amount of units, all based on real, period weaponry for each nation and the scenarios they fight in are based on suitable situations… For example the first Japanese mission sees you fighting in a Pacific Rim jungle trying to rescue some downed Pilots.
Tactically you have to be very well prepared…at first I wasn’t so sure though, the first mission I played was a walkover. I was able to take my troops and steamroller over everything in my way, come the second mission however and things changed drastically. Moving down a ravine I suddenly came under mortar fire, explosions going off all around me and then a series of heavily armoured German tanks came racing towards me before a squad of bombers finished me off. Hmm…back to the drawing board was my only option. The fact you must tackle the mission with what you get forces the need for tactics on you…you can’t just go back and ‘make’ some more riflemen.
My particular problem was solved by preparation, using trucks to drag some artillery to the entrance to the ravine I set up a small defensive line, and then I set up my anti-tank troops and spread out my AA vehicles. A small squad of snipers was then taken, crawling along their bellies, to hunt out the mortar teams on the top of the ridges, a few bullets later and they were no longer a threat. The final piece of action was to draw in the German tanks, a few tanks of my own were sent out to draw them into my trap and it worked a charm. Shells ripped through the Germans and their bombers came crashing to the ground, highly satisfying.
This is basically how you play the game, careful planning and tactics are essential and the range of units at your disposal allows your tactics to vary. The battles can be quite a spectacle too, up to a thousand units can be used in a scenario, not up to Total War standards obviously, but still a huge amount in comparison to most RTS games.
The graphics definitely go some way to making the battles look great, the landscapes are detailed and all scaled believably, they also react to battle well, slowly turning from lush green to a filthy brown. All scenery is destructible too, something you have to watch out for if you have a team of snipers tucked away in a warehouse. The best bit is the explosions though; brilliantly animated balls of fire, debris and smoke are all left by your guns, a bombing run from your planes in particular looks fantastic. The only complaints I have is that with the infantry it can be hard to distinguish visually which units are which as they are so small…also they could be animated slightly less like Eric Cartman.
The music for the game must get a quick mention, most is average stirring military music but one track is what sounds like a terrible German club singer in a big frilly shirt. I cannot understand how this fits in, it’s repeated appearance made me turn the music volume down to zero…
Regardless, throw in Internet play and a mission editor and you have a game with plenty of lasting appeal, this is a perfect game for multiplayer as well, its tactical gameplay could lead to some thrilling battles. Sudden Strike 2 is a quality RTS game that shouldn’t be missed if you are a fan of RTS games.
FINAL SCORE: 76%
tags: review , ssa2