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Partisans 1941 Review – Private One –

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Let’s Discover Partisans

Sometimes a game comes out, and it feels as it was made for you. It is in a genre you find interesting and offers an equally interesting setting, and is actually embellished with novel mechanics and progression. All appears to fall into place. Such was the initial impression of mine as I settled right into a pair of Soviet boots and set about stabbing, shooting, and bombing Nazis in Partisans 1941.

General, that impression was vindicated to an amazing degree. The game provides engaging, satisfying stealth and ambush tactics, frantic firefights where split second decisions prove pivotal, and a compelling setting that captures the life of a Russian partisan operating under German occupation.

But nothing’s perfect, and Partisans is no exception. With time, bugs and glitches began to sour the experience, and my bright eyed excitement quickly gave way to weary cynicism. The same as the Soviet Union itself, Partisans 1941 manages something of a pyrrhic victory.

  • What is Partisans 1941? It’s a real-time tactics game with stealth elements. Take command of a group of Soviet partisans operating in 1941 against Nazi occupation forces. Sabotage the enemy war effort, maintain your supplies and resources, develop your camp and your partisans, and fight to liberate your homeland from fascist oppression. 
  • Reviewed On: PC
  • Price: $29.99
  • Developer: Alter Games
  • Publisher: Daedalic Entertainment
  • Release Date: October 14, 2020
  • Website: www.partisans-game.com

The Great Patriotic War

While Partisans 1941’s lineage traces all the way back to games like Commando, a much more recent (and most likely direct) influence is actually the work of Mimimi Games on titles like Shadow Tactics: Blades of the Shogun and Desperados III. This notion is immediately evident as you jump into gameplay. Everything from the cutscenes to the controls to the tutorials screams of the Mimimi formula. 

Partisans 1941 Review
Partisans 1941 Review

Does this mean that Partisans essentially takes someone else’s game concept and delivers a somewhat clunkier version of it? Sort of (more on that later). While that dynamic is arguably present, the lasting feeling of Partisans is the significance of choosing an appropriate setting for the formula and blending in mechanical concepts from other games (XCOM comes to mind) to make for a unique experience.

For example, Partisans 1941 emphasizes a number of mechanics that iterate and wrinkle on the real time stealth tactics formula. Characters level up and progress in the skills of theirs, allowing you to create them in whatever way best suits the needs of yours. Your base has to be maintained and developed as you recruit more partisans to the cause of yours.

Maybe most importantly, open combat is actually a great component of the game’s levels, with some missions pushing you into all out firefights full of daring and desperation. This will make perfect sense given the setting – it’s World War II, after all, and the machine guns are not for show. For probably the most part, this’s a successful choice that adds a great deal of variety and choice to engagements.

Partisans 1941 Review
Partisans 1941 Review

 

Levels (especially early on) are meticulously designed with intricate, interesting encounters with Wehrmacht and Polizei soldiers. You usually have the choice to either pick off enemies one by one – slitting the throats of theirs and dumping the bodies of theirs in the bushes – or perhaps precisely position the soldiers of yours in cover so that when Belozerova charges out to shoot a clutch of males with the pistol of her, the rest quickly crumple under a sudden storm of rifle and submachine gun fire. Perfectly-executed ambushes that way provide several of probably the greatest satisfaction that Partisans 1941 has to offer. 

Contributing to the satisfaction of said ambushes is actually the point that these’re the partisans of yours, specialized as you see fit, their weapons modified and upgraded to your exacting specifications. When you’ve a good level of influence over the game, it is a masterful exploration of stealth tactics and mechanics.

Jank Offensive

Partisans 1941 Review
Partisans 1941 Review

 

Of course, much of the game’s satisfaction and quality rely on that level of control. When it breaks down, so does Partisans 1941. Some issues permeate the experience — the controls are clunkier than they should be, and there are far too many moments where closely-packed bodies and objects cause untold headaches and tiny annoyances. These problems are offset early on in the game by its precise, polished design, but become more aggravating when the polish starts to fade.

While early levels exhibit a thoughtful, scrupulous design philosophy, later ones start to break down into buggy, frustrating messes. In one level, I experienced a bug in which the arc for throwing a grenade became erratic and nigh-unusable. When I finally managed to throw the damn things, Fetisov (my grenade specialist, no less) continually dropped them at his feet and blew himself up. In another level — in which detection by the enemy resulted in instant failure — a cutscene would freeze my characters in place while allowing enemy patrols to continue, resulting in repeated, unavoidable restarts.

Partisans 1941 Review
Partisans 1941 Review

 

While these bugs are not game killers, they’re constant sources of frustration for the player and easily the most disappointing aspect of Partisans 1941. It appears that the most polished, well executed levels are actually frontloaded, and later levels are actually a letdown by comparison. Just when the game should be building to a crescendo in which all of your long term choices are actually put to the test in sprawling, intricate levels filled with fun challenges, you are instead thrown into buggy arenas characterized by tiny annoyances and increasingly grating frustrations.

Ideally, we will see these issues ironed out post release, letting players experience the fully-realized and excellent potential of Partisans 1941.

Eventually, come on to my house  Market 4 Games for latest news & games updates.

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