While the Germans of Mimimi Games have put the tactical infiltration game back on the front of the stage, here is a Russian studio embarks on a form of opposition with Partisans 1941. On the menu, a game that is very reminiscent of the venerable Commandos in which Russian resistance fighters resist the German army on the eastern front. Like a symbol.
To the east, there is also a History
In June 1941, Nazi Germany launched a lightning strike against Russian troops. They are forced to withdraw to the border, leaving behind many prisoners and a people distraught at the advancing German army. This is where we meet Commander Zorin who, after escaping the awaiting summary execution and finding some companions, decides to stay behind enemy lines to organize resistance there. But of course, when your troops consist of two men and a kid, you have to play smart and avoid fighting as much as possible. Or at least try.
We can say that Partisans 1941 is casting a wide net when it comes to talking about its inspirations. The most obvious is of course Commandos. As in the latter, we also embody a small group of 4 characters maximum dropped on a more or less large map with objectives to accomplish. Missions that we will propose to sabotage a tank, to poison the food reserves of the German occupier, or to prevent the execution of allies to take a few examples from the beginning of the game. It's up to you to sneak between the troop's enemies, by eliminating the nuisances to achieve your ends. Rather than remain frozen on the classic Commandos-like bases, Partisans chooses to expand its possibilities a little by integrating a progression system. Each action earns your party experience, which levels up your characters and allows you to unlock new skills in a tree unique to each of them. Each character will thus have, in addition to certain common skills, his or her own “signature” skills which will differentiate them from others. For example, Zorin will be able to throw a knife from a distance while Belozerova will have a skill that allows her to take out all enemies within a small area. Some of these special skills can be used freely as long as you have the correct weapon in your inventory, while others will only have a limited number of uses for each mission.
Plus, you will also need to manage your character inventory. Because the game has no shortage of items to collect. Weapons (of different quality levels) and ammunition of course, but also various types of explosives (grenades, mines, etc.), distraction objects such as stones or bottles of schnapps, but also objects that will serve you in the camp that you join between missions in a mini-management phase which will ask you to manage your food stocks as best as possible, a hungry supporter is not the most efficient. However, I would like to put a damper on two areas for improvement in this inventory management. The exchange of objects thus requires too much proximity between the characters while the comparison only works if the objects are in the same inventory. A point for which the quality of life could have taken precedence over realism. This interlude at the camp may seem uninteresting at first glance, but it ultimately provides access to the manufacture of some rather welcome homemade explosives. We are pleased to note that objects useful on a mission can be used indifferently by your followers, you don't need to be a stone-throwing specialist to distract the German soldier. Finally, you will need to keep an eye on the morale of the troops, as they do not see a good eye looting the property of the locals. Lastly, and unlike Commandos, Partisans isn't all about stealth. You will have to regularly make weapons speak to eliminate groups of enemies too large. Or groups containing dogs.
For the combat phases, the game is based on a fairly classic basis. There are a cover system and variable chances to hit depending on the weapon and the distance between you and the target. It should be noted that the game revolves around small skirmishes and that it is often relevant to take the enemy in a crossfire which leaves him the little possibility to hide if you do not wish to see the fights turn in the meeting. annual Stormtroopers Association. Note also that it is possible, by pressing space, to slow down the time to give orders to each supporter. Too bad, however, that these orders are executed as soon as you allow time to pass normally again. I would have liked to be able to delay a bit, as the skills of the different characters do not all trigger at the same speed.
Bardaf, it's the sheer
So all of this looks particularly promising, especially as the game incorporates some good little ideas. This will automatically crouch your supporters when approaching a threat, which will delight anyone who forgot to do so after a sprint in Mimimi's games. On the other hand, there is no posture management in the enemy's cone of vision: you are visible or you are not. We also note that the game is ultimately much less specialized than Commandos was in its time. Any character equipped with a dagger can thus attempt to neutralize an enemy soldier in close combat, the different difficulty levels of the enemies will modify not only your chances of success but also the time required for elimination and the noise the attempt will make. However, we feel from the first missions that the game may have some more problematic points. And it's a timed mission that highlights them. The first major concern of the game concerns its interface and more specifically the interactions with the environment. The system of interaction with the bodies of your victims is thus based on small icons that appear when hovering. You have to click on the corresponding icon to pick up a body, retrieve a throwing knife, or search a corpse, which makes the chain of actions painful and extremely slow. Not to mention the situations where several bodies are found side by side in a cramped environment like the inside of a house. We then spend our time looking for THE pixel that allows us to interact with the right element.
Even more awkward in a game that relies a good part of its gameplay on discretion, pathfinding is particularly lame in many situations. Going through a door sometimes seems to be insurmountably difficult for your supporters who will prefer to open the door and then make a wide detour to the other side. Note that the game is not sectarian and reserves the same treatment for other obstacles. Worse yet, moving the entire party to a hideout will regularly cause one of your companions to remain in full view of the hideout. Or getting on the wrong side of a blanket.
The rough theory
Unfortunately, these issues are only a slight annoyance to the game's major glitches: its AI combined with a big lack of readability. It's simple, you will quickly assume that the information given by the game is almost correct, but not quite. As with any good Commando-like, you can show a guard's field of vision, but it's best not to be trusted. It is common here to see a guard who detects you while the representation of his cone of vision indicates to you that he cannot see, including sometimes through walls. Likewise, noise management deserves to be clearer as explosions or gunshots seem to worry guards only at a very close range. In the end, we often have the impression that a guard's reaction to noise is random. And these are just common situations encountered during several missions of the game.
Partisans 1941 Review The technical point
Visually speaking, Partisans 1941 opts for a graphic rendering that is less shimmering and paler than its competitors. With some success since the game thus has its own visual identity. Whether in forests, small villages, or the ruins of a city, the game ensures successful environments. However, I regret that the choice was a pale white for the enemy's vision cones. From a sound point of view, the game only offers a version with other languages subtitles, the voices being limited to English or Russian. Note that the developers have taken their attention to detail to caption the dialogues of the German soldiers in Goethe's language. Finally, my test was marked by a few bugs: a script not launching at the end of a mission or a character whose pathfinding led him to take the plunge. Fortunately, the game saves and loads quite quickly, with the exception of the one before the menu pops up when the game is launched. Partisans 1941 lacked neither ideas nor good intentions and had everything to become a neat little game that we enjoy playing. Alas, there are a lot of frustrating little things that come with the game that make some parts more edgy than fun. So it's better to take Partisans 1941 for what it is rather than for what it wants to be. Either a bit of a messy game focused on armed skirmishes rather than the Eastern Front Commandos as one might have hoped upon discovering it on Steam. For more information, make sure you visit the Partisans 1941 official website for all details, and why don't you leave us your comment below if you have any comments about the game.