Stronghold Crusader 2
Stronghold Crusader 2 is the long awaited sequel to the castle building simulator series. Crusader 2 throws us back into the foray of castle economy, warfare and diplomacy we grew to love in the original Stronghold Crusader. We’ll point out the things we thought were important and let you decide if the red sands can entice you to break your stronghold embargo. Stronghold Crusaders 2 was developed by Firefly Studios and can be purchased on steam.
Game-play – The game-play of Stronghold Crusader 2 is as true to the original as I would like to see it. Building castles is straight forward but with the ability to create stylistic scenarios. The economy is simple but engaging and has no unnecessary or complicated embellishments. Combat still requires forethought and decisive action but can be carried out with a simple click if one desires.
Balance – It used to be that massing archers would win games. Fortunately, this has changed in stronghold Crusaders 2. To effectively deter the enemy you need more than just towers full of archers. It takes a well-balanced army to defend a castle.
Multiplayer – A castle building simulator just isn’t the same without the diplomacy and tension of a living opponent! The multiplayer feature gives your games a desired creativity and mental demand to your matches. We adore that this game can be multiplayer.
Campaign – This game lacks a “real” campaign. There are skirmishes that follow a few historical events but the game lacks any lengthy story or development of characters identities.
This may very well be solved in DLC in the future so keep your eyes open for it. At this time there are a handful of DLC that offer you the campaign experience. However, We can’t help but feel a little cheated that we have to pay extra for what should be a standard part of the game.
Character Changes – They made critical changes to characters that have been around since the beginning. The rat in particular has been absolutely robbed of his character flavor and charm. It is a very poor practice indeed to change franchise icons for the worse.
Graphics – This game has had only a small graphical upgrade from the original and I must admit I am a little disappointed that after such a long time only a small stride in the aesthetics of the game has changed.
No moats – What kind of castle is complete without a moat? I was very disappointed to find I couldn’t have my soldiers digging moats when they were in-between skirmishes.
Inn & Church – The Inn & Church have identical function. You place a building, supply it and magically everyone loves you a little bit more. I would have loved to see consequences to increased alcohol consumption, or benefits to having a very pious population.
Flat View – They removed the ability to flatten out structures and terrain so that you can get a good grasp of what your environment looks like without massive towers or hills obstructing your view. This made it a fair bit more difficult to construct things the way I wanted them.
Soundtrack – Stronghold Crusader 2 brings you some new tracks to add to your playlists as well as a revival of the classic tracks from the original. However, you’ll need the special edition to enjoy the Stronghold Crusaders 2 soundtrack.
Price – The game can be enjoyable if you get it for the right price. I would hold out for a big sale on steam if I was going to buy this game again. It is certainly not worth the full $49.99 price tag for the base game or the $59.99 price tag for the special edition; which only adds the soundtrack, an art book and a copy of Stronghold Crusader HD.
DLC – The Downloadable content might be worth snagging if you can get it at a reduced price as well, but at 5.99 a pop it’s a bit of an expense to purchase all of them outright.