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CDV shows off a pair of strategy-based titles at San Francisco press event

CDV shows off a pair of strategy-based titles at San Francisco press event
By Michael Lafferty

Sudden Strike 3, Stranger on display and promise both challenge and entertainment value

The atmosphere in the Orchard Hotel on Bush Street in San Francisco was definitely relaxed. The press event was hosted by CDV’s USA branch and while things appeared laid back, the games heated up the action nicely.

CDV was there to show off Sudden Strike 3 and Stranger, two titles that carry forward the real-time strategy elements the company is known for, though the latter has a bit of a twist.

Sudden Strike 3, as the name implies, is the third installment in the PC strategy franchise, but this iteration marks a huge step forward for the series. Launching the game shows a big change in the graphical element and the camera controls. The game boasts a rich three-dimensional look that also realizes the relative scale of units proportionate to other units.

As for the gameplay, though, SS3 is more of the typical RTS style of play.

“If you liked Sudden Strike and Sudden Strike 2, you’ll love Sudden Strike 3,” stated Mario Kroll, director, PR and marketing for CDV’s North American arm.

The maps are also much larger, and there is a ton of objectives to be realized during any one of the five campaigns (the campaigns also give players different perspectives – you may be fighting against or either the Germans or the Japanese).

“The sheer magnitude of the battles is relatively daunting,” Kroll said.

Sudden Strike 3 could be classified as more of the same, but that will not diminish the entertainment factor at all. The dynamic graphics, coupled with AI that is very good, will likely make for a very entertaining time.

Both single-player campaigns and multiplayer were available during the press event. The game – while two months out – was very stable and played very well. Both of the titles on display had the fog of war, making things a bit more challenging in terms of surprises during the campaigns.

Stranger is a horse of a different color. The game evolves around three entities that have been banished for using dark magic. Fans of games that couple the role-playing elements with real-time strategy should like this title. The game has a solid crafting system and as you progress, you can hire mercenaries to accompany you into battle. The game does use the point-and-click interface, but is – in some ways – similar in style to titles like Neverwinter Nights, Baldur’s Gate and Icewind Dale. You can team up the game’s three heroes and hire mercenaries, each with their own combat-specific skills. Inventory items can be melted down to base elements and then forged to create armor or weapons for group members.

Stranger does have hack ‘n slash elements but the emphasis here is on magic usage. You will acquire crystals as you traverse through the game and they can be used to create spells, which can also be used in combinations. There are 125 combinations of spells available in the game. Of course, as you progress, you gain experience and that translates into more skills and abilities.

The look of the game is lush and bright, and the AI seems relatively competent in making the game both challenging and entertaining.

Stranger has a bit of a learning curve, and – like SS3 – does have multiplayer elements as well.

Both Stranger and SS3 are not what one would consider triple-A titles, but they do appear to be solid games that will carry the CDV brand forward nicely. Both titles release in early March.

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