It's 1941 and the German army is sweeping through Russias western front. Under the oppression of the Third Reich, a few volunteers decide to stand up and take the fight to their unwanted occupiers. With the use of guerrilla tactics, these local heroes are sabotaging the the Nazi war effort.
Partisans 1941 is a beautiful real-time tactics game that gets you to don your strategy cap on and direct your small band of comrades through their homeland to rid it of the German forces that are using the area to aid their advances further afield. You will have to watch, plan and prepare for any movements you want to make. Being caught is not an option as you are extremely outnumbered.
Partisans 1941 is very well designed from a player experience, with earlier missions laying out all the basics of how to play. There is nothing too complex to learn but there are a lot of little things to take on board and while the missions go on, you are always learning new techniques with skills or items that will aid you in your cause.
In the early stages of the game, you are given 3 soldiers to use during your missions. Each character has a skill tree and a special ability. With each kill or objective completed, you are rewarded with experience which allows you to level up your comrade to become a well-tuned resistant fighter. There is further development of your Partisans with the base building that is implemented as well.
Once you have completed any of the main story missions, you are directed back to your camp that is located deep in the dense Russian forest. Here you have the ability to upgrade areas of your headquarters with the resources you find in missions. Not only that, you are able to spend a few in-game days here sending your team or a few members of that team on non-playable missions. These missions aid you in gathering other essential resources such as bullets, medicines and food. As well as gaining experience from these additional skirmishes, you have the chance of retrieving valuable loot which includes weaponry.
Your partisans weaponry starts off basic in your inventory and you are in possession of a few handfuls of ammunition to use cautiously. Like I mentioned earlier, you can not take on the enemy in an all-out firefight. The weapons you are using are in the lowest tier acquirable. Only with playing on in the story or using those non-playable missions will you acquire your rarer and more powerful weapons to take on the highly skilled enemy.
The whole game is spoken in the native languages of the characters in-game. Be it Russian or German, they both come with English subtitles. This shouldn't put you off, in fact it makes it more authentic. The atmospheric audio keeps it tailored to the theme that you would expect from a stereotypical World War II game. Although common amongst the genre, it is a nice touch to have alongside the gameplay that can sometimes be forgotten when playing.
The game is varied and incredibly interesting, and at the time you are almost subject to trial and error to complete missions with frequent use of the save/load method. I find this a great approach before taking on a heavily defended area and with lots of interactivity amongst the environment, which include dropping heavy machinery or releasing the breaks on a vehicle to hit unaware German soldiers, it keeps your thought process always on the "what ifs?"
I have come across a few bugs while playing. Nothing game breaking, but more of a laughable moment or two while playing. The game is still in a BETA phase and I am sure while the demo is out now, these small bugs and other performance issues will be ironed before its 14th October release on Steam.
I must say, for an early preview game this has been extremely enjoyable. With only small niggles that deter me from a complete experience, I am thoroughly enjoying my time with Partisans 1941 and I am committed to completing the game in all its glory on its release in October. If I had to describe this game as a sign-off, it would be that this game has everything a Real-Time Tactics game requires. Along with its beautiful art and RPG elements, this could become a champion of the genre. Hats off to Alter Games for doing a really good job and their efforts shouldn't be avoided when the game does release.