Stronghold 3 Review: Invest Or Just Rent A Copy?

Stronghold 3

Stronghold 3 Review: Invest Or Just Rent A Copy?

Stronghold 3 is a real-time strategy video game. Developed by Firefly Studios and published by 7Sixty for Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux in 2011. The game’s storyline is a continuation of the original Stronghold. Stronghold 3 maintains the similar features of castle building, organizing local economies, and pursuing combat with rivals both offensively (through sieges) and defensively (by fighting off invasions). Unlike previous games this game offers some new features and gameplay tactics. Take a look into whether or not it is worth investing in or just grabbing a quick rental.

Gameplay Characteristics of Stronghold 3

Pending defensive battle on the beach.

It’s a terrific blend of several different gameplay types: There’s the sandbox thrill of being a castle architect, the city-simulator angle of making sure your peasants don’t starve, and the military strategy of beating back enemy forces. When all of these element’s work in perfect harmony, you really do feel like a king. And with each of these features, Stronghold 3 not only brings back the magic of the series’ roots but makes substantial improvements.

Castle-building is no longer locked to a grid—you can rotate your buildings any way you please, and you can place your walls in any design imaginable. You can customize and decorate your castle like never before. In fact, if that’s all you want to do, you can focus on building in the game’s sandbox mode, with no hungry mouths to feed, no need to raise money to buy materials, and no barbarians at the gates.

Gradually, as you regain a foothold in the world and your focus shifts from defense to offense, the game’s features open up. That’s when you can start seriously building castles, and that’s also when the military campaign starts to shine. There’s a day/night cycle, which uses literal darkness as a fog of war; if you don’t want your castle to suffer a surprise attack, you have to illuminate the area and scout for enemy invaders. And as every preview of Stronghold 3 noted, you have the option of throwing diseased badger carcasses into enemy strongholds during a siege—which is not only fun, but also based on real history. In fact, all of the weaponry here is top-notch, capturing the brutal reality of siege warfare with a wink.

Special features

Visual of strategic castle building and offensive combat.

When it comes to managing your castle’s town, the overly complex setup of Stronghold 2 has been rolled back, and once again you use simple tools to deal with complex situations. It’s always a struggle to come up with just the right balance of food, wood, stone, and other commodities, but there aren’t so many different resources and petty tasks that it becomes overwhelming. 

Also, you can choose between being a popular ruler who draws peasants with low taxes, high rations, and entertainment options. If a campaign with no combat seems silly to you , don’t fret; the standard military campaign is still the main offering here, and it features 17 missions.

Another nod to history is a game mode that recreates real castle sieges and lets you play as an attacker or defender. And, of course, Stronghold 3 includes a variety of multiplayer modes, including deathmatch, king of the hill, capture the flag, and a new mode in which you start as a peasant with nothing and try to become a king.

Final Thoughts

If you loved Stronghold and its unnumbered successor, Stronghold Crusaders, you’ll be delighted to find that the old formula is back and there’s plenty of content. However, the game does a poor job of easing in newcomers, and it’s lacking some key features. 

There are, however, a variety of minor problems that will hurt the experience even for fans. One issue frequently encountered is that when you try to select an enemy to attack, sometimes you have to move the cursor a little off to the side to get the arrow to turn to a sword. In addition, even though they unfold simultaneously in real time, the military and economic sides of the game seem to operate independently of one another.

So, at $50, this is a decent buy for hardcore Stronghold fans, but other gamers can skip it, rent a copy, or at least wait for a price cut.

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