A few weeks ago, we tested out Kite Games’ new title, Sudden Strike 4. Set in the Second World War, this real-time strategy game aims to recreate historically accurate battles, using authentic units and weapons along with real commanding generals. In addition, fans of Sudden Strike will be happy to hear that SS4 is an entirely new entry in the series - with Kite Games having completely ignored SS3. Instead, the developer has looked back to SS and SS2 for inspiration for their new game whilst modernising and improving the experience.
Players will be able to choose between the German, Soviet and Allies Campaigns in order to get the full flavour of the Second World War from all sides. While testing out the preview, we were able to try one of the missions in the German Campaign, known as the ‘Battle of Stalingrad’. This consisted of us manoeuvring our forces to an industrial area, securing two factories and eventually making an advance towards the Volga River. Starting with a handful of tanks, an infantry and supply and repair vehicles, we quickly decided on a route and started pushing forward.
Kite Games have stated that they want to reward players for playing tactically and making intelligent decisions when playing SS4 however, they will not be punishing players for making poor decisions either. Players will be given a rank upon completing each mission, based on a three-star system. The system will detect when the player makes intelligent strategic decisions such as encirclement tactics and carefully timed ambushes, and will be instantly rewarded for them. Furthermore, this should help players to improve at the game as they progress, as well as being useful for people that are keen to replay levels to boost their score. This system has been put in place to show players how the game should be played, though if you happen to be tactically inept you can simply force your way through in some missions. In one play-through, we chose to go forward all guns blazing and were surprised to see that it actually worked! We didn’t lose as many units as we expected but we also didn’t gain many stars, so the system definitely does its job correctly.
As we mentioned earlier, SS4 is heavily inspired by the first couple of Sudden Strike games, nonetheless, this game certainly builds on the series. Shells and bullets will now ricochet and explode more authentically, providing players with a more realistically simulated experience than before. Dynamic weather also alters the environment and can quickly put you at a disadvantage. For example, if you are in a mission set in fields and it begins to rain, it’s very likely that your tanks will get stuck in the mud. We’re sure that these neat additions will be greatly appreciated by fans and will deliver a more polished experience, overall.
SS4 puts the player in control of an anonymous officer who follows the strategies of one of three generals. Each of the three generals have their own unique abilities, for example Bernard Montgomery, a general in the allied campaign focuses on infantry. George Patton on the other-hand specifically deals with armour (armoured vehicles and protection for infantry). The final allied general is Omar Bradley, a specialist in support. The more time you spend using one specific general, the more points you earn. These points can be used to unlock upgrades for your units, including: foxhole tactics, speed boost upgrades and APCR ammunitions. The upgrades will give your units the strength to obtain the three stars you need to perfect a mission.
Furthermore, SS4 incorporates adaptive storytelling, so the story will develop and change depending on how you decide to play the game. The player is given a diary which details how they chose to tackle each mission, specifying the number of units lost and even the progress of the war itself.
Although we were unable to test out the multiplayer mode, we have been assured that Kite Games are aiming to deliver the old-school multiplayer experience that fans of the series will love. Supporting up to eight players, SS4 will enable you to play either cooperatively against AI, or against each other competitively. The maps included in this mode will be a mix of both historical and fictional scenarios, which we imagine will provide players with a more varied experience. With the choice of quick death matches, longer sessions and a number of customisation features, the multiplayer mode sounds very promising, offering something for everyone.
After spending only a few hours with SS4, we are certainly interested in what it has to offer. Kite Games’ attention to detail and historical accuracy makes the game look all the more promising and we’re looking forward to fully testing out the three-star ranking system. From what we have seen so far, it appears that the game is pretty challenging and very different from the other conventional RTS games that PC players expect. The perspective (aside from zooming in and out) is locked at a fixed angle, meaning you can’t pan the camera around as you would do in most RTS titles. We must admit, this was slightly jarring at first, but it’s something that you will learn to deal with. Being able to rotate the camera probably wouldn’t change the way we feel about the game, though it would be nice if that option was available.
Currently unknown however, the developer has stated that the game should run at 60 FPS in 4K resolution with a capable system (NVIDIA 980 Ti) on PC. On PS4, they are aiming for a solid 30 FPS.
Kite Games have confirmed that Sudden Strike 4 will have modding support and Steam Workshop integration, although this will initially be for Windows PC only.
Sudden Strike 4 is scheduled to release on PC, Mac, Linux and PS4 in Q2 2017.
Most Anticipated Feature
Playing more of the campaign and having the opportunity to replay some of the missions with different generals.