I've Always Liked the Stronghold games. I like them because I'm whats known in RTS parlance as a turtler - one who likes to sit at home, erect a few walls and wait for the enemy to come to me. My turtling skills are such that I can make a multiplayer game of Total Annihilation last for four hours and, in Dawn Of War - the most anti-chelonian game on the planet, as long as four minutes. Yeah, eat my shell, bitch!
Unfortunately for the likes of me, Stronghold Legends makes it easier for zerglings to bring the proceedings to a sharp end. This is because, not content with nerfing archers (OK, so they were a little overpowered), Firefly have introduced all manner of wall-climbing and flying creatures - all pillaged from European myth, which perhaps explains the canny title of the game - in an effort to ensure the walls come crashing down sooner than they might have done in previous Stronghold games.
In truth, and despite my own selfish reservations, the switch to an attack focus is a very good thing. Plus, with dragons flying about and wizards casting spells, not only is strategy that much more open, the battles are that much more interesting to watch.
Thankfully, the economic side of the game hasn't suffered. There are still apples to pick, wood to chop and hops to brew, meaning that apart from making sure the toilets are clean, very little has been cut from Stronghold 2.
Sorely missinq from previous qamcs is a very welcome Skirmish mode, but the hiqqest chanqe is the influence of mythical units set across three increasinqly difficult 8-mission campaiqns: one coverinq Arthurian Britain, one with tiber-vampire Vlad The Impaler, and one based on Burqundian draqon-slayer Sieqfried (yeah, him). There arc no qoblins, elves or orcs here, in fact the roster of men-at-arms, archers and kniqhts still forms the backbone of any army. The myth units, which include heroes and wizards, merely add a layer of tactics rather than chanqe the qame completely. Stronghold fans will be pleased. If you were hoping for Sim Minas Tirith though, you'll likely lie a tad disappointed.
Rise Of Legends
At the end of the day then, Stronghold Legends is covering very familiar territory, but the new units certainly arent just more of the same. A dragon may be able to roast dozens of villagers in a ball of flame, but for knocking down walls, a catapult is still needed. Its true to say that a few features have been lost to accommodate the new units and campaigns, but with this reduced level of micro-management, Firefly's streamlining of what has become a fine RTS series is generally successful. As with their recent CivCity, the interface is excellent, the code stable and the graphics solid - if somewhat unspectacular (the now castle the especially). Battles away from walls and towers arc reliably underwhelming (as ever), and the Al tends to dribble units your way at times, makinq the campaigns feel a bit turqid.
However, with an idiot-proof map editor and that delightful Skirmish mode, Stionahold Leqends will certainly be on my hard drive longer than any of the previous games in the series. Whether it will survive past the imminent arrival of Medieval II is another matter.
Download Stronghold Legends
- PC compatible
- Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP