Sudden Strike 4

Game review by
David Chapman, Common Sense Media
Sudden Strike 4 Game Poster Image
World War II strategy wounded by AI and control issues.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Educational Value

Re-creates specific battles from World War II, putting players in role of either Allied, German, or Soviet troops. While informative, could inspire players to learn more about specific events, battles portrayed, as well as circumstances leading up to them. Giving players control of armies means it's not exactly historically accurate.

Positive Messages

Takes a hard look at different sides of WWII conflict without glorifying any particular side. Focuses more on how specific battles happened instead of why. Shows brutality of war, how soldiers work together to overcome obstacles using tactics to achieve goals.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Although not fully fleshed out, features nine major leaders of World War II, including George Patton, Bernard Montgomery, all of whom bring unique strategies, skills to the battlefield.

Ease of Play

Not an easy game. War presented as a difficult, grueling experience. While that level of realism is appealing to hard-core enthusiasts, it makes things more difficult if you're a newcomer to the genre. Aside from difficulty level, though, controls leave a lot to be desired, with many units moving on their own, simply ignoring controls altogether.

Violence

Re-created look, feel of WWII battles, with vehicles, troops firing on one another in brutal, realistic combat. Though scale reduces detail of any blood, gore, soldiers still die, leave bloody bodies scattered around.

Sex
Language

Some profanity, such as "s--t", appears occasionally in dialogue.

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Sudden Strike 4 is a downloadable World War II-based real-time strategy game available for PlayStation 4, Windows, Mac, and Linux platforms. The game puts players in control of WWII armies, re-creating historic battles that influenced the tide of the war. It has a relatively steep difficulty curve, compounded by temperamental controls and AI behavior. The game does feature a fair amount of violence and blood, though the large scale of the battles does reduce some of its impact. There's also some profanity occasionally used in the game's dialogue.

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What's it about?

SUDDEN STRIKE 4 puts players on the front lines, commanding Allied, German, and Soviet forces in re-creations of some of the most important battles of World War II. Take control of more than 100 different units, such as the German bomber Henkel He111, the Russian T-34 tank, the British Hawker Typhoon fighter plane, and the notorious German VI Tiger, and use the unique skills and abilities of nine different historic commanders to lead your troops to victory and drive the course of the war. 

Is it any good?

This historically based, real-time strategy game promised accuracy, but its AI and control issues make it lose the gaming war. When most real-time strategy games give players the opportunity to lead their armies into battle, those armies execute their orders and leave success or failure firmly in the hand of the player. That's not the case with Sudden Strike 4, the latest entry in Kalypso Media's WWI real-time strategy series. In some matches, your own troops cause more headaches than the entirety of the opposition forces. Sometimes, units won't respond to commands, sitting around and staying behind while the rest of your army charges into battle. Also, in the objective-based missions, there are times when your army bypasses the objective completely. If you micromanage your troops' actions and follow them from Point A to Point B, this isn't too much of an issue, since you can adjust on the fly. But if you're trying to plan an attack on multiple fronts, it can be almost impossible due to the actions of the AI when left to its own devices.

While the occasionally bewildering behavior of the AI can leave players scratching their heads, there are still some bright points to be found in Sudden Strike 4. The game is visually appealing, with a surprising amount of detail and realism packed into the large-scale battles. It also gives some insight into the war and how the various sides not only viewed each other, but viewed themselves as well. It doesn't glorify any particular part of war, instead letting the players view firsthand the gritty and brutal nature of it. Multiplayer battles are well-done and balanced, especially since the issues with AI behavior and controls affect all players equally. But ultimately, it'll be up to players to decide whether they want to put up with these frustrating issues to explore what Sudden Strike 4 has to offer.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about violence in video games. How does the impact of violence based in real world history differ from that based in fantasy? Does the scale of the violence change how the violence can affect younger players?

  • Talk about WWII. What were the circumstances that led to the Second World War and how did that war change the course of history?

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