Partisans 1941 – Review
Follow Genre: RTS, Stealth-strategy
Developer: Alter Games
Publisher: Daedelic Entertainment
Platform: PC
Tested on: PC

Partisans 1941 – Review

Site Score
9.0
Good: Pretty much everything. Great representation of the era, exciting gameplay, not punishing but fair.
Bad: The skill trees are a bit dull
User Score
10.0
(1 votes)
Click to vote
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 10.0/10 (1 vote cast)

Daedalic Entertainment is one of those developers/publishers who you can trust. They maybe didn’t develop Partisans 1941 (Alter Games did), but also as a publisher they only seem to push out great titles so far. With a record of mostly indie point and click and adventure games, Partisans 1941 might seem a bit out of their way, while it could still be considered an indie title. Then again, they also got The Lord of the Rings: Gollum planned for next year. Are they bringing their A-game to the AAA industry? Whatever the case, they keep bringing amazing titles to gameland.

Story

Partisans are resistance fighters who go against occupiers. They generally fight either for a political cause or for their country. In Partisans 1941, it’s about a group of Russians who take up arms to fight the German occupiers in World War II. You start as commander Zorin who is about to be executed by the Nazis. Obviously, he escaped (wouldn’t be a very long game otherwise, would it?) and he starts to look for other escapees. Soon you find yourself with two adult men and a 14-year old brave teenager. From that point on, there is a resistance forming which tries to obstruct the Germans in any way they can, also finding more people to join the good cause as well. In many ways, the game is reminiscent of the old-school Commandos games. This includes the in-game cutscenes and portraits whenever there is something to say.

Graphics

Boy, did they do a great job on the graphics! The countryside really looks alive with all the gray and dull details that actually represent reality. It also helps that almost every mission has a couple of NPCs and dogs mocking about, which gives the game an even more realistic feel as you shouldn’t forget it’s actually an occupied area. This means you will see the NPCs subtly afraid and hard at work while the Germans are talking about their plans or proclaim how great they are. On top of that, there is some lovely character design. While the characters are obviously a little bit glorified or unrealistically pretty, they feel like they are each their own unique personality which includes their look.

Any animations in the game you will look at from a bird-view perspective, so they are rather small. That being said, they are still highly enjoyable to watch. Especially when shanking one of the enemies with a knife from a stealth-kill position, or when hoping for the best in a firefight.

Sound

Honestly, one of the best things Partisans 1941 does is the voice acting. Not only is it done in Russian which makes the game a lot more realistic, but the voices actually sound real. The intonation and the emotions are great to listen to (and read along in English). Sound effects are all around you, such as the wind in the trees with chirping birds, or dogs barking in the distance. In most of the missions, music is absent which actually adds to the desolate Russian country feeling. Whenever there is music, such as in-between missions, the instruments are chosen tactically. Accordeon, sad violins, they all represent the Russian legacy. While it’s nothing too special, it sure is effective to blend the game nicely.

Gameplay

Partisans 1941 plays a lot like the old Commandos games, and the fact it’s about World War II contributes to this. You will control a few good men and women from a top-down perspective to direct them in the right way in an RTS playstyle. This means you can give individual assignments, or move them around as a group. You then use whatever means are available to reach your goal like i.e. blowing up a tank protected by a group of enemies or prevent an execution. Mostly, you will want to tactically sneak your way through the level, and sometimes this is even an obligation. Movements happen smoothly and intuitively because you automatically sneak around when getting close to an enemy, and a double click gets you running to your desired location.

Besides using a knife and a preferred gun, you can pick up (and later create) weaponry such as mines, grenades, and more. Still, you probably won’t really use those a lot as the game has more focus on sneaking. Enemies can often be looted for new weapons and items as well, and you have multiple options for distractions. These include, when found, throwing rocks, placing bottles, and using special skills. The skills are nice as they bring some variety to the game, making you think about which partisan is the best choice for a situation. The commander can throw a knife making him a stealthy character for silent kills. The 14-year old boy has more difficulty shanking an adult enemy because of his strength, but he can conceal himself and distract enemies by talking to them. It’s great gameplay, and the best thing is it’s not punishing at all, because you can save the game at all times and if your tactics fall short you just quickly try again.

Besides the regular top-down gameplay, Partisans 1941 also adds some management to the mix. Between the story missions, you gather in a makeshift camp and make sure you keep your comrades happy. You do so by gathering food, as each day requires you to use some, and try to complete automatic missions overnight. These automatic missions then grant you new weapons, building materials, experience, or food. With the building materials, you can craft i.e. another food gathering spot or a weapon shop. Constructions such as the latter can help in the (playable) story missions. Each character also has a skill tree with choices as they level up from kills and objectives, but to be fair the skill tree is a bit minimalistic and doesn’t really give you much choice.

Conclusion

Partisans 1941 does a great job of making you feel like you are playing as the resistance. With little hope, you still get to accomplish great things. The puzzle-like RTS stealth gameplay is smooth and fun as it doesn’t punish you but encourages you to try it again. While the gameplay is very reminiscent of the Commandos games, a game like this honestly doesn’t come out too much, and it feels like its own product. Elements such as the voice acting make clear this is not a copy, but its own product standing tall.

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 10.0/10 (1 vote cast)
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
Partisans 1941 - Review, 10.0 out of 10 based on 1 rating
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Find me on youtube to see some playthroughs! https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCuBrlulGywcb0EiYWBnA1ng

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