If you’re a fan of strategy titles, then Kite Games’ Sudden Strike 4 will be one you’ll probably be quite fond of. After finally arriving halfway through 2018 with the European Battlefields Edition, Sudden Strike 4 has gone on to bring a steady stream of new content to those looking to get in on some classic World War II real-time strategy warfare, and recently the opportunity expanded further with the arrival of the Pacific War DLC. Does it retain the same level of quality we’ve become accustomed to with the base game though?
As with the previous content packs, Pacific War takes players to yet another new and refreshing setting, one that is very different to those we’ve already seen. After previously having sent us halfway across one side of the globe, we now set foot on the other, with Pacific War taking the game to South-East Asia and putting us in control of the mighty Japanese Imperial army as they head into battle against the Allied Forces.
Pacific War brings with it a bunch of new units and missions for players to get stuck into. The changes here however are simply how many different units and missions are offered, with Pacific War proving much larger in size to those that came before it.
This sees us given access to two more exciting campaigns – the Japanese and US – with a total of 10 new missions to be strategically fought and won. To help you along with each battle are newly arriving Generals with six new faces joining the fight, along with a selection of new perks. These include the likes of Soemu Toyoda, a Japanese Naval admiral, Hisaichi Terauchi the Southern Expeditionary Army Group Commander, the Marshall admiral of the Japanese Navy in Isoroku Yamamoto, Douglas MacArthur who is a legendary five-star Commander, one Richard J. Marshall, the Chief of Staff for the Allied Forces, and finally Chester W. Nimitz, one of the most influential military leaders in US naval history and my favourite of the new additions.
Joining the new Commanders and missions are a total of 51 new vehicle units with the Shokaku Aircraft Carrier proving a personal favourite, whilst the USS Enterprise CV-6 and the SS-KI prove notable additions from amongst the many new arrivals.
As the DLC name suggests, Pacific War also brings plenty of naval and air combat into play, which has been missing from the game until this point. Of course, ground troops are still in, and there are more than enough feet on the ground to keep players happy, but the tactical options available from having vehicle units on the water really help to open up the tactical opportunities. This is no more true than when on the attack in certain missions, bringing a breath of fresh air to the combat when on the water. Of course more air combat is always going to be appreciated too, particularly when you take into account how well it fits in with each battle.
Further to that, and whilst it may not be viewed as the biggest additional feature – controllable aircraft carriers take that prize – the addition of flamethrowers is certainly one I enjoyed thoroughly. Not only are they are an extremely powerful and efficient way of dispatching enemies that get too close, but they are a unique addition to the game, with flame wielding tanks proving incredibly fun to use.
Although naval combat is a highly welcomed change for the game, it’s well worth noting that despite the addition, things still play and feel very much like you’d expect them too. At no point does it feel like there is much of a learning curve, provided you’ve already played the rest of the game, and let’s be honest, you wouldn’t be here if you hadn’t. That’s always an important thing for a DLC, with games too frequently changing things up dramatically and forcing players to learn how to play again. With Pacific War, all you’re really looking at is an extension to what the developers have already created elsewhere, and with so many features packed in, that’s always going to be a positive.
As for the missions themselves, it’s probably not surprising to hear that they are a blast to play. With some secluded island-based battles now thrown into the mix, there is a real opportunity to set up your units exactly as you see fit. With little resistance from outside forces and units often responding in a different way each time, there is plenty of replay value should you wish to jump back into what may be the best Sudden Strike 4 missions yet, especially if you’re after those troublesome challenges that accompany each mission.
One change that is pleasing though is in regards to the voice of each character. Previously the voices would rarely fit the character or their nation, however with the Japanese speaking involved this time around a nice little pop-up box tells you of what they’ve said. This is a small change that really helps keep the engagement and one I was happy to see included.
Finally, it wouldn’t be right to leave out a mention of the audio and visuals in the Pacific War DLC, and even with the drastic new setting the guys over at Kite Games have once again mastered the design process. Audio is fitting of the battle, pretty much perfectly in terms of both combat, unit sound and music, and the visual appearance proves a delight once more with incredible attention to detail on show throughout.
Should you have enjoyed the previous DLC offerings, or simply want more Sudden Strike 4 on Xbox One, then Pacific War is a must-buy DLC. It may prove a little more expensive than the previous packs but with plenty of new content chucked in, and some fantastic naval combat to be enjoyed, it’s hard to argue it doesn’t add incredible value to the game.