The PC games market seems to be flooded with Real Time Strategy titles, and many of them are based on the same build, send in to combat, kill or get killed, and build more style of play, but with Sudden Strike II from CDV you've got a limited number of units, and have to find a way to complete each mission with what you're given - that means you'll need some well though out tactics.
Five countries (Germany, Britain, America, Japan and Russia) are available to try your hand at, with an individual campaign for each, split in to 10 missions which all follow on from each other, and are based around real life WWII events, for that added touch of realism.
One of the first things you'll realise is that you just can't go in guns-a-blazing - you'll soon find that you end up with no soldiers, because of your ill-planned attack on the opposition. Instead you have to set decoy traps such as sending a few troops in another direction, or sending in a few fodder first who will get killed, but then that's all part of being at war.
Because the maps are so huge, it's good that there's more than just walking as the form of transport, and you can make use of both the railways, and water based transport, which allows for some novel attacks which your enemy might not be expecting, and also a good way to transport troops around the map quite quickly.
Sudden Strike II's developer FireGlow have worked hard on the realism by making sure that each unit (anything from a soldier to a tank, plane, boat, etc...) is the same strength in both firepower and defence, so if you put up some weedy Russian tank against one of the ultra-strong German tanks, you'll face no chance, and it's the same with every unit throughout the game.
Lush 3D real time graphics and state of the art camera views, Sudden Strike is not, but that's not a bad thing at all, especially when you consider the size of the maps, and the fact that you can have up to 1000 units on screen at any one moment, and all without any sort of slowdown - that's impressive.
All of the graphics are on a isometric map with 2D sprites, although they've very well animated and detailed (albeit fairly small). Ground changes from grass to mud as it gets traipsed across by your foot soldiers, and explosions cause impressive fireballs and decent amounts of destruction, with landscape such as bridges, houses and factories all destructible.
Each nation has their own orders shouted out, which adds to the realistic feel of the game, and makes you feel as though you're really taking part in a battle against foreign forces, almost as if they're real (miniature) people on your screen.
Probably the biggest (and maybe only) problem with Sudden Strike II is the fact that the control of your troops can be tricky to say the least - both a combination of the huge maps, small depiction of units on screen, and fact that there's not some advanced formation methods does mean that you'll potentially spend a lot of time getting them to do exactly what you want, especially if they've been allowed to wonder across the landscape and get a bit lost.
Overall Sudden Strike II is a very enjoyable Real Time Strategy title that features more on the tactics and realism than many similar games which are more interested in a "who can build the most fastest". The control of your soldiers may prove hard to start with, especially with how small they are, but once you get to grips with the basic commands, the game becomes very playable and many hours of fun, and much more enjoyable than many other RTS titles available currently.Overall score: 8 out of 10
Players: 1 plus online and network play
Recommended Price: £29.99
Available: NowBuy Sudden Strike II for the PC from Amazon