tries to, er, strike a balance between recreating the way battles went in World War II and actual gameplay. The end result, unfortunately, is basically a standard real-time strategy game with lots and lots (and lots
) of units. While mildly entertaining, it's nothing that hasn't been pretty much done before.
In Sudden Strike's campaign games, you'll find yourself picking one of three sides -- the Allies, the Germans, and the Russians. Each side has different units, of course, although there is certainly quite a bit of duplication of types. Prepare to be overwhelmed the first time you herd your troops; the number of different infantry alone is boggling. It's quite cool to be able to control that many different types of units, and adds to the 'historical quality' of the game.
Unfortunately, the gameplay itself is strictly real-time strategy fare. Yes, the maps are really big. Yes, the units are based on history. But in the end, the game is nothing more than most other RTS games wrapped up in a World War II shell. Why can I take tanks out with a small group of infantry? That's a real-time strategy convention, not something that happens in this world. Things like this start to pull you out of the experience, as you watch your battalions get decimated by troops that should have absolutely no chance against you.
The game isn't helped by a few niggling problems. At its default speed, the game plays very slowly, and even at its maximum speed, the game feels sluggish. This may be historically accurate, but it makes for some of the world's most boring unit rushes. And since you don't actually produce units in the game -- it's strictly strategic warfare, a la Ground Control -- you'll be doing a lot of rushes. For all of the unit complexity in the game, and all the micromanagement possible, some of the oldest strategies still seem to work the best.
The game also supports multiplayer. You can use raw TCP/IP, or play over Gamespy Arcade (which is included with the game). There are usually quite a few multiplayer games going on at one time, and jumping into one is usually quite fulfilling. Prepare to get your butt kicked the first few times, though -- those across the Pond have been practicing with this game for a while, and it shows.