Stronghold Crusader 2 is the long awaited sequel to the original castle sim. After 12 years Stronghold returns to the desert with a new 3D engine and powerful Havok Physics. Crusader 2 recaptures the original game’s addictive, fast-paced gameplay and authentic castle simulation.
User reviews:
Mixed (3,244 reviews) - 59% of the 3,244 user reviews for this game are positive.
Release Date: Sep 22, 2014

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April 7

April Update

Size - 3.4 MB
Version - 1.0.22670

We have released a small update to address a couple of issues.

Change Log
  • Fixed the "Fetchez La Vache" achievement.
  • Added an options_override file for players experiencing issues when saving game options. (See below for full details)

Some players have reported that the game does not allow them to load and save games properly. This appears to be because the game cannot access their Documents\Stronghold Crusader 2 folder for an unknown reason. To remedy this we have released an update allowing players to change the directory in which Stronghold Crusader 2 stores all options, saved games, maps etc.

In order to use this players can edit the file in \bin\win32_release\options_override.xml, located in their installed directory. Please read the instructions within the file before editing it.

We strongly suggest only using this override if absolutely necessary, in cases where the default directory cannot be used. Do NOT use this override option if you experience no issues when saving options, progress or saved games within Stronghold Crusader 2.

Please Note: Steam Cloud will not work if you use an override path. Steam Cloud only works with the Documents\Stronghold Crusader 2 folder.

This update should download automatically when you launch the Steam client. To confirm whether or not the download was successful, check the version number displayed in the bottom left corner of the main menu screen when launching Crusader 2. If the number displayed is not 1.0.22670 please restart Steam until the update downloads.

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April 1

Free Weekend

Play for Free & Get 80% Off!

The full Stronghold Crusader 2 base game is currently FREE to download and play this weekend, with 80% off until Monday. Every player with a Steam account currently has access to the single player campaigns, multiplayer and all secondary modes, such as free build!

How to Play

  1. Install Steam.
  2. Download Crusader 2 for free.
  3. Repel the infidel!

For a limited time only we are giving you and your Steam friends a free ticket to the latest and greatest 3D entry in the Stronghold series. Face old rivals like Richard the Lionheart and Saladin in a series of dynamic, fast-paced skirmish matches, challenge your friends in the unforgiving multiplayer arena or build the world’s grandest castle in free-build mode.

Already own the game? Then invite your friends! Show no mercy in a brutal multiplayer showdown or teach them the ropes using the game’s unique co-op mode.

Crusader 2 will remain available for free until Sunday April 3rd at 20:00 GMT, giving you several full days to enjoy the definitive 3D Stronghold. The 80% off sale will run until Monday 17:00 GMT.

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“Crusader 2 is a triumphant evolution of the game that they've held dear for the last twelve years.”
8/10 – GameWatcher

“Minecraft power-users will marvel at the sophistication and visual clarity of its castle-building engine.”
8/10 – Empire

“Unique, fast-paced castle-building action the way it was meant to be.”
8/10 – Hooked Gamers

Special Edition

  • Digital Soundtrack Composed by Robert Euvino
  • 'The Art of Stronghold Crusader 2' Digital Art Book
  • Stronghold Crusader HD: Full game on Steam - Already own it on Steam? Gift it to a friend!

Special Edition Customers

To access your digital art book and soundtrack please install the game, navigate to the game folder and open up a folder titled ‘Special Edition’.

By default this is located at:

C:\Program Files\Steam\steamapps\common\Stronghold Crusader 2\Special Edition

About This Game

Stronghold Crusader 2 is the long awaited sequel to Stronghold: Crusader, the original 'castle sim'. After 12 years Stronghold returns to the deserts of the Middle East circa 1189, with a new 3D engine and realistic castle destruction powered by Havok Physics. Crusader 2 will recapture the original game’s addictive, fast-paced gameplay and authentic castle simulation.

True to its roots this new Stronghold will define old school real time strategy, combining RTS and city builder gameplay. Playing as a brutal Crusader Knight or Arabic freedom fighter, you must use a deadly array of troops and destructive siege equipment to decide the fate of the holy lands. Lead your forces into battle as either Richard the Lionheart or the Sultan of Syria in two historic single-player campaigns, with dynamic events such as tornados and locust swarms. Become the greatest Lord by managing your desert economy and seizing control of vital oases.

To dominate the battlefield you will need to command more than 25 unique unit types, mastering their special abilities. Raise morale with the Sergeant at Arms, charge in with the Sassanid Knight, use Archers to launch an arrow volley or scale castle walls with the deadly Assassin. Once your skills have been perfected put them to the test in skirmish mode or take the battle online with up to eight human and AI players. Create teams, choose different AI opponents and design your own map in the ultimate skirmish or multiplayer game!

  • Build the Ultimate Castle - Design mighty strongholds and fill them with fiendish traps to crush your enemies!
  • Skirmish Mode - Lay siege to your enemies in fast-paced custom skirmish matches against the AI.
  • 8 Player Multiplayer - Mix and match human and AI players, maps and game modes to set up your ideal multiplayer game.
  • Battle a Wide Range of AI Lords - Classic AI characters return alongside new blood, each with distinct personalities, castles and play styles.
  • Challenge the Crusader Trail - Test your mettle across a range of increasingly tough skirmish campaigns.
  • Co-op Play - Share control over castle building, troop control and resource management in Co-op Mode.
  • Castle Sandbox - Dive into the Map Editor or Free Build mode and construct the ultimate castle without fear of attack.

System Requirements

    • OS: Windows XP/Vista/7/8/10 with latest service packs
    • Processor: Intel Core2 Duo 2Ghz or equivalent
    • Memory: 2 GB RAM
    • Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce 8800GT 512MB or AMD Radeon HD 2900XT 512MB or better
    • DirectX: Version 9.0c
    • Network: Broadband Internet connection
    • Storage: 4 GB available space
    • OS: Windows Vista/7/8/10 64-bit with latest service packs
    • Processor: Intel Core i5 or equivalent
    • Memory: 8 GB RAM
    • Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 460 1GB or AMD Radeon HD 5830 1GB or better
    • DirectX: Version 9.0c
    • Network: Broadband Internet connection
    • Storage: 4 GB available space
    • Additional Notes: This is the minimum spec recommended for hosting a multiplayer game.
Helpful customer reviews
315 of 381 people (83%) found this review helpful
57 people found this review funny
2.4 hrs on record
Posted: November 10, 2015
Extreme cheating for ai. Destroy every f*cking resource building of theirs and they keep spawning soldeirs without losing gold or resources.
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280 of 344 people (81%) found this review helpful
156 people found this review funny
13.5 hrs on record
Posted: December 6, 2015
This game makes me want to cry inside...

It's like they purposely set out to make the worst game ever. Not only that but they took a concept that was really successful and tweaked it just enough to make it suck. After Stronghold 2 came out I had high hopes. I really don’t see how the franchise can continue with this big ugly pile of Sh#t staring them in the eye. I mean, this game is so bad that if I was in a room with Hitler and a copy of this game and they gave me two bullets I would shoot the game twice in the hopes that no fragment of its existence could further taint the outside world. Who ever made this game I just want you to know…..the day you made this a box of puppies died. I own all but one of the Stronghold games but I am afraid this will be the last. I have completely lost faith in them after this. Here is why…

1. Building a castle is just not possible. The block segments just don’t want to line up and sometimes when you build gatehouse it just simply deletes wall segments that would connect it to the wall. If there is any kind of incline or attitude to the building surface the game cannot compensate and the wall won't close up.

2. The economics in the game are so F&*%ed they could double as a Call Girl in Bangkok. They tried to make everything more realistic by increasing prices but failed to adjust for it properly. With a zero growth population one min you have 400 food and the next it is all gone. Stone, Iron, Wood, and food gather rates all fluctuate or no reason!

3. Unkillable units. Sometimes there will be a unit on a wall and it will be in such a position that it will not be visible to archers and your units can't reach it. This means that they can fire at you but you cannot get to them. I have played the game for 11 hours and already lost 2 assaults in this fashion because the units get confused between two targets and just go back and forth.

4. DLC….so wait, you want me to buy more of your crap after I see this broken POS? I have two words, Get F$%#ed! This is such a pathetic tactic. If you are a game that is as good as AOE or The Total War Series then yes, you can hold content hostage because the game is good enough! YOUR GAME ISNT EVEN CLOSE!

I got this game on sale for 1/5th the retail price and I STILL regret buying it. If you are thinking about buying this game, do not. Take the money, wipe you’re a#$ with it and toss it in the toilet because that would be of more use and you would likely receive more satisfaction from that.

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54 of 65 people (83%) found this review helpful
3 people found this review funny
48.0 hrs on record
Posted: April 2
First things first, let me tell you that I'm a veteran stronghold player/fan from the old days, ever since the first stronghold came out I've played all stronghold titles except stronghold 3 and stronghold kingdoms up to this point. And also I've played this game both before the optimisation patch came out and after that. And I must say, I really can't join the obvious hate train on this one. Maybe you'll dismiss me after these words, but first hear me out.
Not only will I bring some closure on some of the infamous aspects the other reviewers have pointed out about the game in it's early stages, but I will also recommend you which Stronghold game you should look for according to your interests.

About the claims saying that this game is unbalanced. Let me point out that this game, is both warfare-wise and economy-wise, is more balanced than any other stronghold game that I've played. In older games, bread production was the way to go in all situations, and sword production was the thing you should go for, simply because all other melee units were simply trash compared to swordsmen and knights, removing the reason/need for more than half of weapon workshop options and the soldier options. Mantlets and horse archers were simply overpowered, and it was the best choice to amass them. In Stronghold 2, siege engines were so broken that you could defend a "castle" without building a single wall, or you didn't need to actually move in your melee units to kill advancing swordsmen, because they couldn't even get close. But in this game, you can see that all of those issues I mentioned above don't exist anymore.

In first crusader game, everything was so cheap that money virtually didn't cost anything after you've set your core economy in place, having thousands upon thousands of gold and not even being able to find a way to spend all of that was simply meaningless, and at the same time arabian units were simply way too expensive to train early on. But in this game, you can always feel the pressure of being short for money, from all the way from beginning to the endgame, as it should be. And this doesn't mean that it's impossible to build a rich settlement, there are actually new features that immensely help with that!

For example, in this game a market is not required to sell or buy goods, but still there is a market building option. Why? Because this market building provides autosell and autobuy options. And stockpile, granary and armory buildings have unlimited space. Honestly, these are the most important reasons why this game is actually superior to any other stronghold game (stronghold 2 didn't have unlimited stockpile). Anyone who've played enough stronghold games can know, that it's a pain in the ♥♥♥ both trying to manage the stockpile by selling excess stone so that your bread production chain won't crumble upon itself, and trying to command your units in battle at the same time. Let's say that you don't have iron reserves but you really need some armor in your armory. But you cannot stop what you are doing and buy iron because the enemy is keeping you busy all the time. Worry not! Just set some iron to autobuy, and the system is already set in stone. You just set your autosell and autobuy options and sit back and enjoy warfare while the money counts itself. The new minimap and UI are also way better than the older games. It's easier to spot units on map, and UI is customizable and you can see how much goods you have in your stores at the top of your screen all the time, if you wish so. The new popularity chart is vastly superior to the older games, aside from the default popularity displays, you can see both the daily income and consume of food, ale, and candles, so when you increase the rate of rations you don't have to pay attention to your granary all the time to figure out if they are declining or not. Which makes setting taxes and setting your economy a lot easier than it was in older games. Another example that points out that it's still easy to have a rich settlement: the default tax rate is "low taxes" now, and it doesn't exert a negative effect in your popularity.

Roughly all buildings are more than 2 times as expensive than it was in older games, and that is a welcome addition. It's a bit harder to spam quarries to get rich early on, and it's still possible. Now there is a reason to set up other types of food farms as well, and even at the beginning you are still able to set up bread production if you play right. And also multiple food types provide way more popularity bonus than it did in original games, now you can raise your tax rate by one level just by having all food types in your granary. So having multiple types of food production is relatively not something so useless contrary to how it was in original games.

Now, there are 2 more important melee fighter options alongside swordsmen. Sergeant at arms and templar knights, which (other than armor) requires pikes and maces, respectively. Sword production is not the only important weapon production anymore. In this game, european archers are better than arabic archers, so opting to craft regular longbows are not obsolete anymore. Horse archers are way more squishy and fire way slower while on the move, all archers are way more accurate and they do not miss horse archers anymore. Mantlets are way weaker to arrow damage, it's not possible to just create 100 mantlets and have an invincible army. Mantlets cannot go on walls anymore, so you can't just build one tower and a few archers and a mantlet, and have the most unbreakable defense ever. Knights, sergeant at arms, and arabian melee cavalry are all very expensive units, so training swordsmen does not become something obsolete when you are short on money. Some siege engines are way more expensive than they were in original games, and some of them are also even cheaper, making them relatively more balanced. If you want to have a strong army, you will have to train some of those expensive units, and that will constantly keep your economy in check and you won't be swimming in meaningless amounts of gold. Gold will be important throughout the game. All of the things I've counted by now clearly shows how more balanced and therefore, a better gameplay this game provides compared to previous games.

The siege engines do not knockback units they hit as they did in Stronghold 2 anymore. Even though it was fun to watch your hapless enemies in that situation, it was inarguably overpowered. However, siege engines do knock soldiers down from walls when they hit them, and that is an instant kill regardless of what type of soldier it is. (and in Stronghold 2, crossbowmen would survive those falls) This is much better, and more realistic.

Did I mention that the game got an optimisation update roughly more than 6 months ago? Yes, I already did. I must admit, the game looked promising but it was literally unplayable before the patch came out because of the massive FPS drops in skirmish games. But now, that's all gone, it only happens rarely when you are nearing the maximum number of buildings limit in a full on 8 player game. And it mostly depends on how strong your computer is, really. If your system cannot run some of the games that came out last year, it might as well be pretty normal that you are having problems while trying to run this game. For that, I would only advise you to upgrade your machine. Other than FPS problems, a lot of bugs the reviewers have pointed out are also gone as well, sure still a few might happen from time to time like cross positioned models, knights not being able to mount horses and archers not being able to mount war wagon while they are moving, but it occurs rarely and doesn't make the game anything short of enjoyable.

-Because of the maximum word count Steam review system enforces, I will continue my review in this review's comment section, and you can read there if you are interested-
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141 of 244 people (58%) found this review helpful
11 people found this review funny
213.6 hrs on record
Posted: November 4, 2015
As a big Stronghold franchise fan, I can say that this game is worth buying.
It's not that great as the original Stronghold and Stronghold Crusader was, but for me it delivers fun.

+Sieges are really fun, especially against AIs (they don't send 40crossbowman and archers on one tower)
+Troops are balanced, you can do well with both Arabian soldiers and European ones
+Wolf, Saladin and Richard are really well made and fun to play against.
+You don't have to train engineers in orded to make siege equipment, which was really boring in original SC (you can simply buy siege equipment in siege camp, which is more convenient)
+Devs are still trying to patch the game despite it's low popularity
+Some good old music from original SC
+Co-op mode kind of thing

-Bad looking buildings (most of them are just boxes and also farms, exept the hops farms are ugly as heck)
-Badly animated AIs messages
-Badly voiced AIs (i'm talking about Polish version here)
-DLCs... although they contain really well made AIs i wouldn't spend 5$ for each of them.
-You can't sustain on the battlefield with little, low populated castle, you pretty much can not go below 50 peasants, unless you are playing against Rat.

Overall, this game is much better than people draw it to be...
but if you are not into Stronghold series, i don't think you will be happy with this game (lack of story in campaign sadly and mutiplayer is not the best option for a newb)
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12 of 15 people (80%) found this review helpful
1.2 hrs on record
Posted: April 2
First thing that pops up is account creation. Only get basic shields for your profile until you unlock the rest. You can sign up for emails from firefly to get 10 additional shields...seems odd for a full price AAA game, but alright. Couldn't figure out how to continue, so I had to restart the game.
Into the homescreen.

First thing I notice are DLC's being advertised down the bottom of my screen. Not too in my face, but still a bad sign. Menus seem easy to navigate. Setting up my first custom skirmish.
No idea what the faction-like button is and nothing explains it - no tooltips either. Nice to see some familliar faces in the enemy AI (Rat, Wolf, Sultan). About half of the faction-like head things are not available to me to pick, so I assume they are the DLC they were advertising on the homescreen. Set up a 1v1 with medium difficulty and a slight cash advantage for me because I haven't played this in a while.

Start of the game seems pretty similar to Stronghold that I remember. Buildings look a little more 3D but nothing too great for 2016 graphics. Lack of tooltips still makes the game pretty confusing to pick up; thankfully my knowledge of SH will get me through the first trials. Apple orchards seem a lot smaller than I remember them, not sure how this will turn out.

- Large mercenary-guarded short-cut routes could make the game interesting
- Strategic resources guarded by animals
- Smaller resource deposits
- Food seemed incredibly difficult to secure (at least on the map I was playing on)
- Mercenaries launch attacks on you (ARGHH)
- AI doesn't suicide men into your walls if there is a long way around
- Archers are much more realistic
- Resources seem to take a lot longer to aquire than I remember
- AI targets strategic resources when attacking - wood, stone and iron camps
- Wall building is incredibly different. No different wall heights and simplified building. Still can't have diagonal gates for some reason either. Expensive AF.
- There are estates which players can capture which bring resources in for your empire
- Barricades make an interesting addition
- I like the new weapon-making buildings. Removing leather armour was a good idea
- Strategic resource bar on the side is a helpful addition
- I wish there was some way to build a small tower outside your 'build zone' similar to the baracades. Like a wooden tower or something

Edited connclusion: I would give this game a solid 7/10 once I played it a couple more times on an easier difficulty which helped me sit back and see more of the game. Estates are a cool idea and there are a surprisingly large amount of different ways to cross a map which I think is good. The new resource bars are a welcome addition. Overall, I think the game is an improvement over Crusader in many ways. Lack of tooltips and some overall bad ui makes the game a bit annoying.

Edit 1: What I think this game really needs is a GAME TIME ADJUSTER. This is a unique RTS in that instead of starting off with simple mircomanaging and then making your way slowly towards complex systems and buildings it dumps you right into the middle of the game. You need to move FAST or you get left behind. Having a pause button (for single player anyways) would help new players get a handle on the beginning of the game. The AI can place buildings all over the map simulatneously whilst a new player must navigate around and figure everything out. Having 2 and 4 times speed would really help with the painfully slow resource intake.

Edit 2: Changed some things about earlier after second playthrough
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