- System: PC (Windows, Mac & Linux), PlayStation 4
- Publisher: Kalypso Media Digital
- Developer: Kite Games
- Release Date: 11th August 2017 (PC), 15th August 2017 (PS4)
- Price:$49.99 [Steam]
- Rating: T for Teen
- Genre: Strategy, RTS, War
- Players: Single Player, Multiplayer (Local & Online)
- Official Website: https://www.thqnordic.com/games/locks-quest
Who it Caters to
While Sudden Strike 2 went down very well with existing fans, the third game received a less positive response, so this fourth installment should hopefully provide those fans, who are still looking for a sequel to the game they loved, with what they were always hoping for. As for those of you who have never touched the Sudden Strike series, if you're interested in strategy games and up for a challenge then this could be the new release for you, though be warned, there's a steep learning curve for those less learned in the ways of the RTS genre.
What to Expect
An interesting difference between Sudden Strike 4 and previous games in the series will be it's availability on console, with a PS4 version planned for release a few days after the PC version. Although we've not been able to take a look at the console release ourselves, with strategy games rarely finding much success on consoles, it's going to be interesting to see how the developers at Kite Games have handled it. Fittingly the online multiplayer will also be cross-platform, which may be a blessing or a curse depending on how you see it. Either way controller support is offered for the PC version as well, and we can only assume they made the console decision knowing well what they were doing.
As for the single player campaign, each mission has a one to three-star ranks that are earned based on your performance, so if you're a completionist you could easily spend a long time just trying to three-star them all. Each of the missions also has an extra challenge that unlocks only after you complete them with three stars, adding yet another level of difficulty. Overall if you like being presented with difficult single player content, Sudden Strike 4 has got you covered. You can also, of course, enter a skirmish game and put yourself against up to four opponents if you just really hate yourself.
A new feature to the series, Sudden Strike 4 introduces Doctrines, offering players three "talent tree" like paths to choose from and utilise on the battlefield. Each side (Germans, Soviets, and Allies) has a choice of three Commanders who specialise in different areas: Support, Armored, and Infantry, each providing specific units with benefits such as new abilities or armor bonuses. This adds a little more spice to the campaign mode, as stars you earn on missions are required to unlock new "talents", and also perhaps adds more tactical options to multiplayer games.
The content certainly exists to appease those who are already into strategy or RTS games, but what about newcomers? Well, we'd say that the tutorials and assistance offered to anyone unfamiliar with the game are somewhat lacking. After the first tutorial mission you're pretty much left on your own with a bunch of units that you've never seen before, and have to kind of work things out for yourself. So if you're new to the game, or more importantly the genre, you might find yourself looking up some tutorial videos before long, as otherwise, it's going to take a while to get used to the fairly niche gameplay of Sudden Strike 4 from our hands-on experience.
Mechanics and Controls
Battles are intense, and with each unit being worth its weight in gold, you really need to take it slow if you plan on winning (and getting those stars!) You can pause, and queue up commands so as to stay on top of things, and with the gameplay being rather fast you're going to want to keep doing that to stop yourself losing random riflemen. Although the tactical pause mechanic works just fine we can see how a 25% or 50% speed option could make the game a bit friendlier, given how easy it is to make terrible, terrible mistakes.
Graphics and Sound
The sound is a little more average by comparison, with the main thing worth mentioning being the voice acting. Before going on it's worth pointing out that the game is fully voiced, which although often expected these days, is something we appreciate nonetheless. The units themselves have decent voices, with them (to my British ears at least) sounding believable in German or Russian, for example. On the other hand, the voice-overs during the campaign sounded a tad awkward, with the apparently Russian commander sounding a bit like he's from the US, and the German voices having a mix of US and British origins, with the occasional "Kommandant" thrown in. We couldn't help but feel that we were always fighting for the allies, even in the midst of a Russian winter.
Honey's Gameplay Preview Consensus:
One of those positives can be put the negative list as well though, by which we mean the complexity of the game. Personally, it reminded me a bit of when I started playing DotA2 and there was simply an overwhelming number of things to learn before you even felt semi-competent, which could a big barrier if you can't quite get into the game in the first place. We should also mention again how the gameplay just feels a little too fast for what is supposed to be a slower-paced, more strategic game. We get the vibe that the developers were only ninety percent sure what kind of game they were making, as well as who their target audience was.
- Very pretty graphics, particularly for the terrain.
- Solid campaign with lots of extra challenges.
- Plenty of replayability with online multiplayer and modding potential.
- Steep learning curve for newcomers to the series.
- Gameplay is perhaps too fast for a slow-paced, strategy game.
- Lack of tips and tutorials makes an already complex game seem even more complicated.
Honey's Final Verdict:
So, we hoped you enjoyed our preview/impression of Sudden Strike 4, and we would love to hear what you think about the series as well as this new addition on the rise! Whether you're a Sudden Strike veteran or you're just interested in picking up this latest release, be sure to leave us a comment down below.