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:
Recent:
Mostly Positive (89 reviews) - 70% of the 89 user reviews in the last 30 days are positive.
Overall:
Mixed (3,531 reviews) - 59% of the 3,531 user reviews for this game are positive.
Release Date: Sep 22, 2014

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Recent updates View all (29)

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.

9 comments Read more

Reviews

“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

    Minimum:
    • 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
    Recommended:
    • 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.
Customer reviews
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Recent:
Mostly Positive (89 reviews)
Overall:
Mixed (3,531 reviews)
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Most Helpful Reviews  In the past 30 days
34 of 48 people (71%) found this review helpful
6 people found this review funny
Not Recommended
3.3 hrs on record
Posted: September 22
If a game has an achievement for buying four DLCs, I cannot take it seriously.
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16 of 18 people (89%) found this review helpful
Recommended
131.1 hrs on record
Posted: September 25
Stronghold Crusader 2 is the latest entry in Firefly Studios’ castle-building RTS franchise, which began way back in 2001 with the original Stronghold. I haven’t played all of the Stronghold games — in fact, I don’t think I’ve played one since 2005’s Stronghold 2 — but from what I can tell, not much has changed. Most of the game mechanics remain the same, but many options have been removed to make the game sleeker and easier to play, which not coincidentally coincides with Firefly’s desire for the game to be more about quick multiplayer skirmishes than long castle defenses.

In Stronghold Crusader 2 like in the other Stronghold games, you have to run a castle. You lord over peasants who perform the necessary jobs, but they’re not just mindless drones. You have to keep them happy by providing them with housing, food, ale, and / or religious services, and the happier you make them, the more you can tax them. Taxes are your main source for gold, which you need for recruiting soldiers to join your army. You also have to quarry stone for castles, wood for buildings, and iron for weapons.

The economic models for the Stronghold games are more complex than you usually see in an RTS, and they involve lots of buildings and moving parts. In Stronghold Crusader 2, there are over 30 types of buildings, from fletchers to dairy farms to churches, and they give you numerous options for how to build your castle. For example, when feeding your people, do you opt for apple orchards which are quick and cheap but inefficient, or do you go for bread which requires wheat farms, mills, and bakeries, and which takes longer to set up?

There are also nearly 30 types of military units you can use, from archers to knights to the new “wolf” ballista. Do you go offensive and take the battle to your enemies, or do you sit back and defend? And do you take the time to construct the weapons necessary for your troops, or do you just hire more expensive mercenaries? I always like it when games give me options, and the various Stronghold incarnations have always provided that in spades.

So how does Stronghold Crusader 2 differ from Stronghold Crusader? Mostly it’s in the focus of the game. The original Stronghold Crusader was a slower-paced mostly single-player game where you built and defended castles. There were some castle assaults included, but they didn’t work very well, and they were a rarity. Now in Stronghold Crusader 2, the game is all about multiplayer skirmishes. The pace is much faster, the interface is easier to deal with (in particular it’s now much easier to check and adjust peasant happiness, tax rates, and things of that nature), and there is more of a balance between attacking and defending. In fact, while Stronghold Crusader 2 has a pair of campaigns, they’re “learning campaigns,” and they’re about as fun as they sound. Instead, the bulk of the gameplay is devoted to six “skirmish trails” where you fight 24 skirmish battles against AI players, including longtime opponents the Rat and the Wolf.

I was completely unenthusiastic about Stronghold Crusader 2 after completing its campaigns, which took me only a few hours. But then I tried out the skirmish trails, and surprisingly that changed my opinion. The nice thing about the skirmishes is that you almost always start out in a bad position (such as at the bottom of a valley with no resources) against multiple opponents, and so what you have to do right away is build and defend your castle, which makes the skirmishes a little like playing the original Stronghold games.

Each skirmish is sort of a puzzle where you have to figure out a building strategy that will allow you to survive and thrive, and I enjoyed that part of the game. The problem is that once you get your castle running, actually defeating your opponents is sort of a tedious grind, especially since the enemy AI isn’t great. Computer players are good about running their economy (and they cheat a lot, which no doubt helps), but they’re hopeless at running their military, frequently attacking you with the same force from the same position over and over again.

The thing that surprised me the most about Stronghold Crusader 2 is how many things got taken out of the game. There are no longer feasts or jousting tournaments, your peasants no longer commit crimes or catch diseases, siege units like laddermen and engineers were removed, European castles only get three types of towers, you no longer have to resupply catapults or trebuchets with stone, you no longer have to expand granaries or the stockpile and more. Usually sequels go in the opposite direction, adding lots of new things, but for some reason Firefly went back to the basics here. Some of the removals make perfect sense, but why would you remove castle and siege options in a game about building and attacking castles? That just seems bizarre.

Stronghold Crusader 2 also has a handful of unfortunate problems. It’s possible to have permanent fires start up in your castle, which can ruin your game if it occurs along a path that your peasants take. You can order your soldiers to attack something, but instead they’ll just attack whatever gets in their way, which is annoying when you’re trying to take down a trebuchet or some other specific unit. If you order your troops to attack-move, then your melee soldiers will do just that but your archers will move until they attack something and then they’ll stop, which makes it difficult to keep your troops together and assault castles.

But overall, even with the problems, I still sorta kinda enjoyed my time with Stronghold Crusader 2. I didn’t like it as much as the original Stronghold, but it has castle building and defending, it’s easy to play, it looks and sounds fine, and everything works reasonably well. As long as you don’t mind that the game doesn’t really have a campaign and instead relies on skirmishes, then it can provide you with a worthwhile gaming experience.
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13 of 18 people (72%) found this review helpful
Recommended
51.0 hrs on record
Posted: September 1
On one hand, it's filled with the sort of sh*t that I've come to expect from Firefly.

On the other, it's the best that Firefly did with the Stronghold series since the original Stronghold Crusader.

It ain't perfect, even after 4 DLCs still has some annoying bugs, the AI models and messages are completely uninspired, based on over the top stereotypes and the food economy seems to always be either "BREAD BREAD" or "Buy enough apples for 1/2 rations". On the upsides however, unlike the trainwreck that is Stronghold 3 it's quite playable and has surprisingly well balanced military troops, where no single unit can be considered useless. The AI does also put up much more of a challenge than in the previous games in the series and multiplayer potential is quite high.

I say go grab it on a discount, expect as little as you can and you will not be disappointed. Approach it as you would anything that Firefly made.
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9 of 12 people (75%) found this review helpful
2 people found this review funny
Not Recommended
27.9 hrs on record
Posted: September 3
I've been a Stronghold fan since the begining. The original Stronghold was one of the first PC games I ever played. Crusader was one of the first games I ever wasted months of life addictively playing. And it's been all downhill from there. Stronghold 2 and Legends were both horrible. Stronghold 3 was respectable attempt at a game, but still it fell way, way short. And then we come to this.

Stronghold Crusader 2 might be one of the biggest letdowns of my gaming life. Firefly has officially ruined their Stronghold franchise. They nuetered Castle Building. They threw troops out of balance. They took the balance out of the economy. Building up your economy is so quick and lacking in challenge that its turned tedious and boring.

The game almost completely lacks a "story mode". The campaigns they do have are a quick joke. And, from what I think I'm observing, All of the single player campaing content is offered as 6 dollar chunks of DLC. It shouldn't matter though, because stronghold is all about skirmishes right? Well they've screwed that up aswell. Their maps all suck. Even the maps that echo some of my favorite Crusader maps are completely ruined. The only maps that are any good are player made, and at least we get workshop to facilitate that(this might be the ONLY thing you could call an improvement over the original crusader). Seige equipment and the whole "seige camp" approach over the old engineers guild is garbage. Seige units suck and their too expensive, but simultaniously present themselves as the only way to take on a well built castle which leads me to another thing. You produce way too much, and way too quickly, for the frankly tiny troop caps ive experienced so far. I was, in my second attempt at a skirmish, able to produce enough resources to churn out armies as big as the 250-300 what ever unit cap every 5-7 minutes or so(limited only by how quickly peasants become available). And yet that same army doesn't stand a chance against even a computer oponent unless you pick at them with archers and seige quipment for 15 minutes first. Which the latter makes sense, but if I'm producing resource as quickly as I am, I want to be able to use them to throw 2-3000 unit army at someones walls and watch the world burn. But no.

In short, don't buy it, even if you want to complete your steam collection like I did. This game is garbage. You will not get 3 hours of quality entertainment out of it. And it will stain your respect for Firefly and the franchise.
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5 of 7 people (71%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
Not Recommended
9.1 hrs on record
Posted: September 11
I bought the game and as soon as I saw that horrible intro video, I had a pretty good idea of how the game was going to be. The addition of a 3D interface was not neccessary, the art-style of the old games was perfect, and it has actually brought the gameplay backwards here. There is no evolution in any gameplay aspect. They weren't even able to make the battles seem larger and more intense than the first SH Crusader despite having squads instead of single units, and there are no tactics whatsover. It is really hard to grasp as to how this dev team has failed to make a worthy sequel after how good SH 1 and Crusader were with such simple technology and graphics. They clearly did not listen to their fans and instead tried to turn it into a mainstream series. Just a lazy and uninspiring sequel from Firefly and from what I can see it was not improved upon in any significant way in it's first year post-launch.

5/10
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2 of 2 people (100%) found this review helpful
2 people found this review funny
Not Recommended
5.5 hrs on record
Posted: September 26
Cons:
The npc's waddle around like they were punched in their nethers.
The graphics look like they're from a decade ago, the portraits from 1990
Im happy to see my buildings burn down due to how ugly they are.
The AI is terribly unbalanced but is dumb enough to aim for the strongest part of your defenses.

Pros:
Castle building...is adequete.
Least it starts...unlike stronghold 3.

All in all: nutpunch/10
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3 of 4 people (75%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
Not Recommended
4.8 hrs on record
Posted: September 24
I loved the first version of the game but I'm struggling to enjoy this at all. The AI is cheap as hell. They instantly build everything and attack. Then to top it off they generally have a major resource, gold, and map advantage. I got this as part of a bundle and even I feel I paid too much for it.
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2 of 3 people (67%) found this review helpful
Not Recommended
3.5 hrs on record
Posted: September 23
I loved the original Crusader and got this game for 5$ through Humble Bundle. When it comes to changes, I like that the villagers are just moved when you try to build on top of them and that you don't have to build 50 churches and 20 inns to get a nice popularity boost, while having high population. Everything else was changed for the worse though, so while I think original Crusader is worth 10$, this one isn't even good for 5.
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3 of 5 people (60%) found this review helpful
Not Recommended
0.3 hrs on record
Posted: September 22
This game is an actrocity.
It came out in 2014, alongside games like Age of Wonders 3, Endless Legend and others
that were good looking and very playable.
THIS however, is neither.
It looks like it comes from the cursed age were sprites (2D) evolved into these ugly low poly 3D models.
It handles way worse than Stronhold Crusader 1, a 12 years older game!
The charm of its predecessors is gone, it feels devoid of any ambition and heart from the developers. No funny lines if you click a worker, no satisfying sounds when clicking buildings, a hollow and boring advisor.
This game should have never existed in the first place, it is just a nostalgia cash grab.
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3 of 5 people (60%) found this review helpful
Not Recommended
133.5 hrs on record
Posted: September 21
Stronghold 1 and Stronghold Crusader were part of my childhood and I wasted many hours with it. It is pretty sad for me to see how the series going down.



Neutral points

Multiplayer
- I have to say that I couldnt finish a single game vs a real human player. After a few attempts I can say the following things about the multiplayer part:
  • Starting a game is a pain. Multiple times many player joined the lobby at once so the game crashed. Also happened a few times when I tried to kick people. Getting a game started with 7 other players seems to be impossible.
  • MP is not dead but you have to try many times until you successfully connected to a lobby.
  • The few games I could play were laggy and crashed after some time.
  • Some options which can be set by the host can make it nearly impossible to siege a castle
- Note that I dont really have much experiences with Stronghold multiplayer at all so my statements about the multiplayer part are may not that qualified like the rest.

Graphics
- The game has a decent graphics but it is not overwhelming. When you zoom in you can see some nice details but textures are not that great. At all I would use the word "average" to describe the graphics of the game.

Animations
- Also average. There are many tiny animations for the peasants which is nice but also the battle animations are not really convincing.

Story
- A real story do in fact not exist but it bothers me not that much in a Stronghold game. Campaign(s) are difficult like in all Stronghold games. At least they did not to the same with the black/white images like in Stronghold 3

Miscellaneous
- People/peasants do not have a voice like in the old games which kills the atmosphere in my opinion. I liked it when I clicked on the people and say started complaining about their work, food, taxes etc. That made your castle looking more "alive".
- Game has a map editor which is always a good thing.
- Placing buildings works smooth and is pretty good - beside building walls cause this sucks..
- The units are not that balanced but there are many different units (they kicked out a few of the old units but also created new ones which are quite interesting).
- No more "swearing on key".. awww =(



Negative points

Bugs
- They fixed many bugs but hell there are many left.. and many of them are game breakers -_-
- If you use more than one active monitor you have trouble with the ingame camera navigation cause of missing monitor borders. If you switched to the desktop and back into the game while you play a round the map is bugged and you can restart the round.
- Units glitching though the walls, getting stucked, cant find the way anymore, ignores enemies. People get stucked while they work, they just dont work even when you have tons of the needed resources, horses (for knights) are bugged as hell and so on.
- Of course there are game crashes more often than it should be.

Gameplay
- The economy is slower than it should be, it works worse than it should be. Prices are not very well balanced in my opinion and sometimes everything get suddenly ♥♥♥♥ed up without a real reason (no major economy change, no enemy attack).
- The reputation system is also not very well balanced in my point of view.
- Everything is just slow. Building up a working economy, build an army, the speed of units - everything is too slow..
- Fire is too devastating cause units are slow and get ♥♥♥♥ed up by fire too easy.
- Dogs are buggy and completely useless. Also I miss the good old defensive traps and stuff. Fireworkers are useless they just give a ♥♥♥♥ while your castle is burning..
- Building and unit restriction is ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥t.
- Units are not very balanced (but it could be worse).
- Again no siege mode. Sad.

AI
- As a skirmish player the AI is important for me. Sadly the AI has not evolved since Stronghold Crusader. The AI act dumb but the REAL problem is that the AI extremely cheats. They get free units all the time and the amount of units is just ridiculous. The AI also gives a ♥♥♥♥ about the unit limit (well they can have a minus count of units but their castle is full of troops) which makes the game just unfair and kills a lot of fun. So sometimes you get just overran cause the AI spam their free units at you.
- The units act not very clever at all. Occasionally the troops ignore each other and dont attack. Sometimes they attack even when you tell them to stay. Often they keep running even if they are in rage and you told them to attack etc. The list is long so tl;tr: The AI is unfair and sucks!
- The castles build by the AI are ok. Not always functionally but I am totally fine with it.
- Without the DLCs you got not enough AI lords. Sadly they decided to rip many of them out of the main game and sell them in overpriced DLCs. Also many characters from the past are missing, the new ones mostly have no "soul".



Positive points

Maps
- Many maps
- Not all maps are balanced. Yes I know that some of them are designed to be unbalanced which is ok but only to a certain point!



Conclusion
This one was a hard decision because the game is not that bad but summarizing all the points I have to give it a negative reputation. Things that also lead me to a negative review:
  • Stronghold 3 was a big, BIG disappointment and I hoped they would have learned more after that disaster.
  • Since Stronghold Crusader they only produced stronghold titles which are average or "not pretty good". Stronghold Crusader Extreme is a scam, Stronghold Kingdoms is pure ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥t, Stronghold 3 is horrible, Stronghold 2 is meh, Stronghold Legends seems to be ok but I havent played it enough to say more about this here. Normally I would say that the company is ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥t but it seems that Firefly isnt that bad. Stronghold 3 is crap but they tried to fix it and as far as I know they got forced to publish the game in a unfinished status. Also they added extra characters for Stronghold Crusader for free after the game was out for a long time. They remastered the old games for a moderate price. Pretty hard to tell if Firefly is more "good" or more "bad".
  • Their DLC politics with Stronghold Crusader 2 sucks. You have to pay too much money for too little content which should have been in the main game anyway. Big thumbs down here.
So should you buy it? Again it is hard to tell. I suggest if this game is not a prior 1 game for you, you should wait until you get a "complete edition" of the game or until the game( + the dlcs) is very cheap in a sale. Oh and dont try to compare it to the old Stronghold Crusader cause you will just get disappointed.
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Recently Posted
Rtwill
0.8 hrs
Posted: September 28
Feels really unresponsive compared to the first game.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
No-pawn
9.5 hrs
Posted: September 28
Can the game be played? Of Course!
Improvements? Some Areas!
Buggy? Hell Yeah! (even loading into a map)
Difficulty? Yep they up their game!
Recommend? When it is cheap like $5
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Razertune
26.1 hrs
Posted: September 28
We've played this game for its Multiplayer aspects the last two weeks. So I'm only reviewing the game for its MP.
Everything working fine to 99%. The autosave feature can freeze the game for a second but that's not a hassle.
End-game and balancing is fine. The truce option enables slower-paced players to have a chance.

But the unforgiving thing in my opinion is the game only permits up to four players online. The rest has the be filled with 4 bots. Unacceptable for an excellent RTS.

I do not recommend this for your growing group.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
whosyourdaddy
20.2 hrs
Posted: September 27
Playing Stronghold since Stonhold Crusader and i like the new things in this version
Helpful? Yes No Funny
luke der coole
3.1 hrs
Posted: September 26
I loved the old Stronghold games! Hence I thought I might give this one a shot as I got it in a bundle. Not the best reviews, but whatever.
After playing the tutorials I am very disappointed. The game looks a bit weird. Lots of clipping failures around the trees, the buildings and units are not given as much love as in the previous games. Okay.. not too bad, I can live with that.. But the game also runs very bad. Not only does it feel kinda odd, but the units are "lagging" all the time, disappearing only to reappear somewhere near. That is just bad. Also, nice feature to introduce formations, however even the first rome:total war did this way better years ago. I got this game almost for free, but it still disappoints :-( I should have listened to the other reviews, this game makes the whole series look bad.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Solominondas
2.3 hrs
Posted: September 25
Boring.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Ayvien
5.0 hrs
Posted: September 25
I paid full price as i loved the first Stronghold Crusader and was hyped for a second Part.

What i got was an unfinished buggy piece of garbage that´s a lot worse than the first one
even if i take nostalgia out of the equation.

And then they realease 4 DLC´s for 5 Dollars each
just to fix some of their crap
it´s a pretty bad joke.
I´ld return it for 5 Dollars.
Helpful? Yes No Funny