Game Review - by James Allen
I hate add-ons. I feel that any additions that are made to a game should be placed in one of two different categories: free download (like Counter-Strike, which sort of counts) and a stand-alone sequel (name any sports game). Add-ons have the feel that the developer wanted to make an extra few bucks by accumulating a couple of new features. Bah, I say! Nevertheless, Sudden Strike Forever, the official add-on to the original Sudden Strike, comes our way by the way of the fine folks at CDV and Strategy First. But first this disclaimer: I already did a review of Sudden Strike, so I'm rating the quality of the add-ons, since, well, this is an add-on. For a basic review of the game itself, make sure you check out my review of the original game. Now, on with the countdown.
The added features in Sudden Strike Forever exemplify what add-ons are all about. We get 3 mission, long campaigns for the US, England (who were left out of the original game), Germany, and Russia. Now, three missions may not sound like much, but the missions in true Sudden Strike form last FOREVER. See? Sudden Strike Forever! Ha! Included with these new campaigns are seven new single missions and twenty new multiplayer maps, along with some new multiplayer modes, such as king of the hill. Sadly, you can't play skirmish multiplayer missions by yourself, so you gotta find a friend. To make the game easier (and it needed it from the beginning), a difficulty range has been added.
Of course, you need to wage war on maps, and Sudden Strike Forever comes with some new mapping features you are sure to drool over. But be careful, CDs are sensitive to liquids. Expanding from the original "boring" summertime European landscapes, we are expanded to desert and autumn, full of changing leaves which beg to be shot off. Probably the most anticipated new feature is the map and mission editor. Let me tell you, the map editor is very easy to use. Since there isn't any 3-D nonsense in this game, the maps are very easy to create. A really cool feature that caught me off guard is the random object generator. Say you want to make a forest, but you don't want all the tress to look all the same. Too much clicking involved? Not with Sudden Strike Forever! You can choose to randomize the trees to be planted, creating a forest that even Audubon would be proud of. Also, a mission editor is included, which is basically triggers tied to a map to add some dynamic nature to the game. All told, the features that are included in Sudden Strike Forever are well done, and cover the range that gamers everywhere expect.
There are hardly any new sounds, just those for the new units. The new English ones sound exactly like the Americans. That's why it gets a one.
As for the new gameplay elements, we are given some more units and several additions which make playing so much easier. There are about thirty new units, in such categories as howitzers, mortars, charge carriers, and medics. For these new units (and the old ones), more resourceful ways of placing mines has been put into action. Also, you can repair bridges and unload individual units (instead of everyone at once) from trucks and other personnel carriers. Vehicles can also drive backwards in retreat, officers can gain experience, and you can use binoculars. Other than these highlights, the rest of the game plays the same as the first Sudden Strike, with some minor improvements in AI path finding. The all war, no fuss method of Sudden Strike gameplay still remains intact, and if you enjoy it, then more power to you.
All of the new graphics that are added are related to the new environments discussed earlier (autumn and desert) and the new units. The efficient 2-D beauty of Sudden Strike hasn't changed, and everything still looks good. Some of the new explosions are really cool, I must say. Sudden Strike Forever continues the tradition of its patriarch in the field of graphical excellence.
Most, if not all, of the new additions could have been included in a robust download. But, as it is, we are stuck with spending our hard-earned cash on Sudden Strike Forever. The add-ons themselves are very well done, adding some more missions, maps, units, and a map editor. If you liked the first Sudden Strike, I'm sure that you'll love the add-on. The promise of extended gameplay is enough to make any fan beg for mercy and give in to the magic and wonder of Sudden Strike Forever.