Stronghold Crusader 2: Ultimate Edition Review

Stronghold Crusader 2 is a light-hearted and enjoyable journey through the perils and adventures of the first crusade. It’s a real-time, campaign-based strategy game, which relies on the skill, speed and knowledge of the player to proceed through each mission and further into the heart of Israel.

Stronghold Crusader 2 is set around the first crusade, led by King Richard of England. The campaign spans the landing of the first English ships, to the conquest of Jerusalem. Throughout each stage of the campaign, players must expand their strongholds and attack enemy settlements, alongside other tasks. The opening missions act as introductory levels as they introduce players to the various buildings they will need to construct in order to fight the opposing enemies that stand against them. Many of the missions are based around combating other strongholds with soldiers and ballistic weaponry while defending their own strongholds against oncoming attackers. Building walls and arranging archers and soldiers play major roles in defence and constructing them adds an extra layer of freedom to how strongholds are to be constructed.

Besides building defensive walls and managing armies, players are also tasked with managing the wellbeing of the strongholds themselves and the presents that work within it. Some of the essential areas include resource buildings, which help in managing the construction and transportation of different materials such as Iron, and food stock. Iron and stone allow buildings and defences to be built, granaries and food stores help keep the populous happy and fed, and livestock, such as cattle, allow some of these resources to be transported safely. Because of the number of buildings that are needed, multitasking is made much more intense, especially when fighting against the enemy. It also beings much more depth and complexity to the game and further requires players to further observe the status of their strongholds to ensure that their

The graphics and visuals of the game overall are solid with some minor setbacks. Character models could be quite stiff and many of them occasionally clip through other objects. However, the graphical fidelity has a sufficient amount of details to it. The textures for the buildings and landscapes work well and watching peasants travel back and forth between their workstations is an acceptable and well thought-out detail to include.

The game presents its portrayal of the first crusade with charm and humour. The narrator throws out information and hints with excitement and would even respond with surprise and sadness when you click the button to exit the game. the various soldiers you recruit also have an ounce of humour given to them as well. Some of the weaker units react lazily to given orders and tougher units react with brutality. Things aren’t always cheerful though, keeping track of the progress of your troops, as well as maintaining your resources and defences becomes increasingly more excruciating as you taking on more overwhelming numbers of enemies as you progress through the campaign. missions would often require different varieties of troops to be trained, like Rangers, who can use bows and arrows to strike down enemies from afar and melee troops to take them on up close.the different types of buildings and troops you will need will often require additional buildings to be constructed, which costs resources and money, and tools and equipment takes a significant amount of time to be built before use. It’s an intricate system, which further demands players to be cautious with their decisions when facing opposing threats and add much more variety and logic towards building strongholds.

Alongside the campaign, the ultimate edition comes with a downloadable content such as Skirmish trials, Sandboxes, and a remastered version of the first Stronghold Crusader. Skirmish trials are separate trials made for players to complete outside of the campaign. They provide an acceptable amount of missions for players to partake in and help to further improve their understanding of the different buildings and resources required to upkeep a stronghold. Sandbox acts as an arena-style mode where players can test themselves against incoming waves of enemies, ranging from lions to the toughest soldiers. The remaster of the original Stronghold Crusader is also included in the edition. It’s interesting to see and learn the older mechanics and gameplay style of the game’s predecessor but players may be off-put by the game’s outdated graphics and some difficult User Interface.

Stronghold Crusader 2 is a game that fans of strategy should definitely look into. It’s an enjoyable journey, filled with complex management systems, deep defensive and offensive gameplay and a solid and admirable reliance on player ownership and responsibility.

REVIEW CODE: A PC code was provided to Brash Games for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to editor@brashgames.co.uk.

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