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Posted on Mar 22, 2008 in Electronic Games, Front Page Features

Sudden Strike 3: Arms for Victory

By Jim H. Moreno

Not only was the single player mode largely devoid of fun, it also lacked intelligence and strategy. To begin, think of Ann Raynd when I say too much of a good thing is always bad. I applaud the game engine that can handle hundreds of troops on screen at the same time, but sadly it failed to transfer this ability to the player.  There are just too many units to control, and not enough tools to do so. For example, the Caps Lock key is used to display a small icon over the head of each soldier to identify what kind it is, i.e., Infantry or Bazooka or Officer. Yet, I can’t click on that icon to select that troop. I still have to click on the actual soldier to select him. When the camera is zoomed all the way out, those troops get kind of small and are just a bit of a pain to select in this manner, especially in the heat of battle. So, this left the old fashioned "boxing" as the only way to quickly select troops, which sends them willy-nilly towards the target. This denegrated much of the combat during single player to nothing more than sending in wave after wave of soldiers to their grisly deaths, hoping that reinforcements would not be long in coming. Certainly not my idea of a fun wargame.

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I did employ more than one tactic in an attempt to see if I was missing something here, though. I tried pausing the game at the very start of a scenario, grouping my troops into proper companies and squads, and assigning them a team number with the CTRL- # function. This, however, required a couple hundred clicks of the Pause key, since units only carry out their orders when the game is in action. Once I got everything set up as I wanted and unpaused the game for live action, something would happen—like an errant shot from the enemy, or the AI would simply take over—and all my hard work would simply disappear in a flash as my troops took off running in all directions, very often directly into the line of fire. Troops are incredibly soft targets here and don’t last long at all, whether they are in the open, entrenched, or under cover. Buildings and vehicles seem to offer no more protection than paper mache, as they are also easily destroyed. I think during my entire time of playing, I was only able to successfully get an engineer to repair something once!

Yet another tactic I tried was seeing if stealth and surprise would work. It did to a point, but only just a little further beyond where my former COA did.  Scenarios start with your troops at a base camp, most of the time with few defensive weapons set up. So, I did my best troop defensive deployment to keep the area secure and selected a single fire team of from five to ten soldiers, with an Officer. Trying to maneuver them around the battlefield was like the trying to play marbles on a patch of gravel. The AI pathfinding is almost nil. After clicking where I wanted them to go, a few of them would often simply take off in the opposite direction, or run straight for the nearest enemy machine gun bunker or APC. Even using trenches was no help, since soldiers wouldn’t follow them where they have some concealment from enemy fire. Movement obstacles, like barbed wire and barricades, are no obstacles at all. My vehicles had no problem running them over; in fact, they even overran my own barricades. The lack of a "patrol" command was another bitter item of contention. Neither was there a "guard" nor "hold" command. My troops not only wouldn’t take the route I wanted, they also rarely stayed where I wanted them to.  

As I said, the multiplayer version is where SS3 shines. Replace almost all of the flaws just mentioned  with a fun game, and there you have it. The multiplayer version of the game is the most fun, the most challenging, and the most worthy of my playing time. Launching attacks on certain locations will bring in reinforcements, if the troops can take and hold them long enough. The fog of war seems much more realistic versus single player, where I’m of the impression the enemy AI can see further than the player’s troops can. Sadly, no mission editor came stock with my press copy of the game, but two officially created multiplayer maps were recently released on the SS3 website, so hopefully this trend will continue.

If you have lots of friends who are also interested in SS3 and who are inclined to meet you on the fields of multiplayer battle within, or if you are serious about finding your opponents via GameSpy Arcade, then this game just may be worth its price. If you ain’t got no friends, or no one available for the multiplayer component, I can’t say this is the game for you. Everything I said was in all honestly the best I could say about the single player here. Alas, and again in all honestly, it’s the multiplayer that holds all the fun for me. I just don’t remember the former versions of Sudden Strike being so monotonous and frustrating, but thank goodness for the multiplayer aspect that is the game’s saving grace.

I still own the Sudden Strike Gold Edition, along with Sudden Strike 2, and I would have to recommend them, either seperately or together, over SS3. Third time wasn’t a charm for me with this series, so I’ll just stick with the originals, if you don’t mind. Don’t get me wrong, I like pretty, but I gotta have my wargames with more substance than that.  Of course, there’s always hope in future game patches.  As it stands right now, the only arms for victory I see for Sudden Strike 3 is when I parade past the March 24th release date with my arms held high in a V.

ACG Score: 59%

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ACG Intel

Sudden Strike website

cdv Software Entertainment USA

Fireglow Games

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5 Comments

  1. care if you play Sudden Strike 3? do you have the password to remove the fog in the game? thanks a lot

  2. Okay dude… I am more than disappointed by this review. You never repaired your tanks? You did not turn off AI movement for the troops? You did not realize you can slow and speed up the time by clicking + and – and that way allow yourself more time for cotrol. You did not realize that you should click control when moving them to make them stick together. You did not realize you can even control if they behave agressive or cautious or defensive? All these thigs are at your disposal to be able to really control the troops good.
    Of course when you have so many options you can control the troops perfectly but if you don’t know about it as you didn’t then of course you will lose troops and just make packs of them and keep sending them to death. Your problem is that you try to play it as a C&C game. Sudden strike is defacto the most realistic ww2 strategy game and it is not hard to control and play if you are familiar with tactics and troops abilities.

    Buildings do offer protection and I am playig sudden strike with proper knowledge of ww2 weapons and abilities and I am more than amazed and in love with this game. I wish there was more missions. I think they probably had military expert or someone giving them advices how to do this. But anyway for all the folks reading this article, please do not listen to his comments he just did not know about wonderful features and tactics. I suggest you finding a guide and yes only pausing the game is sometimes you will have to do iff you are a beginner or slow it down when if you are experinced. I rarely slow down the game now. From 1-10 I would grade it 9.5

  3. Please ,I want Guide or Manual for the Map Editor of Sudden Strike 3 arms for victory.
    Please help me.

  4. Please Tell me,
    Guide or Manual for the Map Editor of sudden strike 3 Arms for victory.

  5. Please Tell me,
    Guide or Manual for the Map Editor of sudden strike 3 Arms for victory

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