Partisans 1941 is a real-time stealth and tactics game that gives you a three-person squad positioned behind enemy lines in occupied Russia. You are Commander Zorin, a Red Army officer, that was captured by Nazis. As you make your escape and learn the gameplay, Zorin comes across a fellow comrade and a local boy, who takes the group to a hideout in the swamp.
At first, I kind of got the feel of the campaign-style of Westwood Studios Command and Conquer series. That quickly changed and it became more like Futurlab’s Peaky Blinders: Mastermind. Then I realized that wasn’t correct either. This game is more like an expansion to Desperados III by THQ Nordic. In fact, if you told me that this was a mod for Desperados III, then I would have agreed completely and I enjoyed playing it.
Your two biggest superpowers in this game is a mindset to plan and the ability to pull off some amazing stealth. First, you need to find the best position to get your squad too. Next, you get to pick off your enemies one by one, silently by sneaking up on them or luring them into a trap. Otherwise, you can do an ambush and wipe them all out at once. I must stress that you must hide the bodies afterward, so their friends don’t find them. I have made a few mistakes by not following this rule and I have gotten my squad hunted and eradicated due to this.
To hide the bodies after you make your kill, all you must do is pick up the body and then take it to a bush. You can also stow them behind things that are out of the paths of others. By far, my favorite hiding spot is in the outhouses. I had to make sure that there was a body in each one that I could come to. It is the little things in life that bring us joy.
The missions give you a decent amount of variety and even though the tasks are straightforward, you can take different paths going from point A to point B. I liked this very much because while I was on my way to complete a task, I could also work on getting stuff for my garrison to upgrade it with food and weapons and such to help me unlock more from it. The more I upgraded my garrison the more opportunities and tools of the trade were made available to me to help on my next task.
Progressing through Partisans 1941’s missions will unlock new members to join your squad. Each member has a unique set of skills—usually a talent that is unique to them, such as the guy who will whistle to draw a Nazi into a trap that you have set. I referred to this guy as Negan from The Walking Dead from this point on, since this is by far one of my most favorite trap tactics. Basically, I would set a tripwire and then run into a bush to hide. Then I would just use a whistle to lure my lark to the tripwire and then instant gratification. Just like with any other game, the more you play with one of the characters, the more experience they gain to allow you to customize their abilities. The more you customize them the more of an asset they become for your squad.
The design and gameplay value for Partisans 1941 is high, especially for what looks to be the first title developed by Alter Games and was published by Daedalic Entertainment. The voice acting is spot on, even if the voice is just for the speech bubble that pops up over their head and the graphics are very decent for this kind of game. I will admit that the characters do look like a mixture between the old-style Army guys and maybe a little blocky in shape on top of that but I was never taken back by it. I would actually say that this gave the game more of an engulfing design for me.
The biggest downside for me is the shortness of the game. There are only about thirteen or so missions in Partisans 1941, and once you’re done, that’s it you’re done. Each mission will take at least thirty to about forty-five minutes to complete. To make things very interesting, there are missions that fail instantly as soon as you are detected. The best idea to have in this game is to save early and often, F5 is your friend for sure. Unless you’re playing on the hardest difficulty, then you can’t manually save, and every decision is final.
Partisans 1941 offers a great stealth experience, with some decent combat, fantastic ambushes (love the Negan aspect), and a decent amount of gameplay and mission content. Unfortunately, there is very little re-playability, except for personal pride and achievement. I still am working on the hardest difficulty to just say that I have done it. If you’ve ever had the opportunity to play Desperados III and want more of that kind of playstyle, then Partisans 1941 is for you. Partisans 1941 is out now for PC on Steam for $26.99.
This review was written based on a digital review copy of Partisans 1941 for PC provided by Daedalic Entertainment and Alter Games.