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. Firefly Studios will recapture the original Crusader’s addictive, fast-paced gameplay and authentic castle simulation.
User reviews: Mixed (952 reviews)
Release Date: Sep 22, 2014

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Recommended By Curators

"fun castle rts, havn't played anything but campaign but the combat and building is fun. Needs better production chain descriptions though."

Recent updates View all (7)

October 16

Balance & Fixes Update

Version 1.0.19369

We have released a new update for Stronghold Crusader 2, introducing various balancing changes and a number of hotfixes aimed squarely at addressing player-reported issues:

Balance Changes
  • Wood Camp footprint reduced to 2x3 tiles.
  • Wood Camp cost reduced to 10 wood.
  • Updated starting troops for all AI Lords.
  • Updated all AI Lords' castles.
  • AI Lords will now randomly select their castle size and rotation when starting Custom Skirmish or Multiplayer games.
  • AI Lords will now try to build the largest castle size possible within the available free space in Custom Skirmish and Multiplayer games.
  • Skirmish Trail missions rebalanced to curb rushing the AI Lords:
  1. Breath of the Infidel - Pit of Despair
  2. Desert Heat - Isolation
  3. Way of the Warrior - Lord of The Desert, The Two Brothers and Hope Springs
  4. A Trail of Tears - Mighty River, Predator and Sands of Time
  5. Hell's Teeth - The Peninsula and To The Summit

Bug Fixes
  • Fixed - Slowdown caused by no trees or wood being available on the map for Woodcutters.
  • Fixed - Players receiving a popularity bonus for multiple food types when rations are set to 0.
  • Fixed players’ estates being changed on the mini-map when they were added or removed from a team.
  • Fixed - Players that aren’t in a team in Skirmish and Multiplayer games not being kicked out on game start.
  • Fixed - Multiplayer game lobby not showing correct values for clients when they first join the game.
  • Fixed - Greatest Lord screen being available in non-skirmish missions.
  • Fixed – Issues with Ranger's animation and props.
  • Fixed - Exploit where placing a free wood camp would refund half the cost in wood.
  • Fixed - Village estates colour issues in the Map Editor.
  • Fixed – Various crashes.

Misc Changes
  • Added support for changing available keyboard layouts using ALT+SHIFT.

Please Note - The above version number should now appear at the bottom of the main Crusader 2 title screen. If the version numbers do not match up please exit the game and restart your Steam client, until you force the new update to download.

As a small independent team of developers we really appreciate players taking the time to report bugs and even submit saved games, which is a huge help to us. Going the extra mile like this means we spend less time recreating bugs and more time fixing and testing them. If you are experiencing an issue not listed in the fixes above the fastest way to get a fix is by letting us know. Please do so by submitting a support ticket - Support Site

22 comments Read more

October 7

Infographic & Update Plan

Gameplay Stats

At the end of week one we decided to tally up all gameplay stats, revealing the most interesting figures in the snazzy infographic below. Take a look at your first week of gameplay, which outlines important information such as the number of diseased animals thrown, longest multiplayer game and the total number of castles destroyed:

Stronghold Crusader 2 Infographic

Future Updates

We also feel this is a good time to discuss our current update plan for the months ahead. As we have said before Stronghold Crusader 2 is a hugely important game for us and a title we plan to support with lots of new content. Over the coming weeks and months we will be releasing various updates for the game, focussing at first on bug fixes and fine tuning game balance. Following on from that we have a number of exciting feature updates and DLC planned:

  • Eight additional AI characters
  • New maps for various game modes
  • Classic Crusader 1 maps
  • Steam Workshop Supprt
  • Player requested features such as Strongwall

We could not be happier with the response from players, who have our sincere thanks for supporting the team over the past two years of development. We enjoy reading any comments that reflect fans’ love for the series and those that give us ideas for where to take Crusader post-release. The team is looking forward to implementing some great suggestions and seeing what players can come up with in terms of user-generated content, from custom maps to castle designs. If these early gameplay stats are anything to go by Stronghold Crusader 2 has a long life ahead of it!

44 comments Read more

Reviews

“For old, war-tested Stronghold players Crusader 2 is a triumphant evolution of the game that they've held dear for the last twelve years.”
8/10 – Strategy Informer

“The game feel polished and modern: It’s properly 3D-modelled and constructed around a rigorous physics engine.”
4/5 – Empire

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

Special Edition

The Special Edition includes:

  • 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

If you installed the game in a different location on your hard drive the ‘Special Edition’ folder will appear in your chosen location. The game’s soundtrack can also be accessed through the Steam Music Player, which can be found under the Library tab by clicking on ‘Music’.

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!

Key Features


  • 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 with latest service packs
    • Processor: Intel® Core™2 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
    • Hard Drive: 4 GB available space
    Recommended:
    • OS: Windows® Vista/7/8 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
    • Hard Drive: 4 GB available space
Helpful customer reviews
208 of 241 people (86%) found this review helpful
58.2 hrs on record
Please read on before simply accepting this as another "Yes" review, because this a very mixed opinion. First, I would like to clarify this is from the Point of view of someone who has been playing Stronghold since the first game came out, and has consistently played every single installment to near completion - Aside from Kingdoms, which is mediocre imho. Maybe you'll agree, maybe you won't - Anywho, this is how I felt.

The Good:
- Solid skirmish mode, much like older renditions of the game.
- Very old school Crusader vibe/feeling to it. Remake successful.
- All of the new units are interesting, aside from the slave driver - Which I don't care for.
- New Unit special abilities are cool and add depth without overpowering or ruining units.
- New Siege engines that are also interesting and for the most part useful.
- Resource caches, Lion Dens, Outposts are all neat additions to the old crusader formula.
- Varied AI characters like the original and a promise of DLC Lords in the future.
- Really like the "curtain walls." I was skeptical of them until I used them in a trail mission.
- Took the good things from SH3 while leaving out most of the bad things.
- Neutral territory reminds me of the old territory system of SHC.
- The new buildings (like the wooden barricades for example) are interesting.
- Genuinely enjoyable game with as much replay value as the original.
- New ally system where allies mood affects how willing they are to do your bidding.
- Departure of Free form SH3 buidlings. Return of efficient, grid-based building system.
- Better physics, especially in regards to arrows - which bounce off and break on walls.
- More realism, such as troops pulling out pick axes and tools to smash walls down.
- Beautiful destruction physics. I've gotten into trouble from watching castles go down.
- Unit costs fixed or improved (Assassins especially brought back to reasonable price!)
- Much simpler Editor than SH3, albeit still with as many options.
- Able to play as other lords, and even choose what your lord looks like in skirmish.
- Buildings change when playing Arabic or Crusader Lords.
- Genuinely enjoyable game. Can't even lie, I will put 100 hours or more into this, easily.

The Bad:
- Stone is completely unbalanced. Walls cost 7 stone just for 1 square
- So, 100+ to make 15 Tiles of wall! WTF? So even a basic castle is 500 to 1000's of stone.
- Furthermore, walls also break much quicker - Causing lots of problems in the heat of battle.
- Buildings have ridiculous costs, which is ridiculously high (200 wood for a Market? Seriously?)
- Bare, boring, pathetic campaigns - So much for paying $10 extra for "additional campaigns."
- No campaign is longer than 4 Stages, and the mini campaigns are Only 2 stages long!
- Cavalry units cannot attack buildings anymore, making them significantly less useful.
- All of the Special Edition Features (cost an additional 10 dollars) were pathetic at best.
- Half of the artbook is on the official site for free, and it's only about 20-30 pages.
- The two mini campaigns take 10 minutes, and the 10 shields speak for itself in lame-ness.
- Only redeeming thing was the soundtrack. basically you paid 10 dollars for an old OST.
- Missing the things introduced in SH2 that were memorable, like feasting, honour, etc.
- While many did not like those features, I feel like the economy is really bare without them.
- Mediocre Maps. Crusader only had 3 or 4 maps I didn't like, this one has 3 or 4 I do like.
- Many maps don't have any resources available, or are too unbalanced to enjoy.
- Pretty much need the Map Editor if you want to have truly good maps.
- some glitches and crashes, though this is to be expected.
- pathetic sized unit caps and building caps.
- At 1 v 1 it's perfectly fine, but even 4 player matches feel very tiny.
- Bland building selection, needs more towers, bastions, etc. SH3 had so many options!
- Overpriced with the promise of even more (paid) DLC in the future.

All in all, I feel like the game as a whole is really good - But I feel like it is horribly overpriced. 50 Dollars is too much. I felt like none of the features I got in my "special Edition" were all that special, and were not worth 10 dollars more. I feel like this game would've been much more fair to be sold at around 20-30 dollars instead (Crusader was 19.99 when I got it on release). Do yourself a favor and try and get it on sale, or at discount - it is a very fun game and I will keep playing, but it is incredibly over priced - Especially the "special edition" which was anything but special.
Posted: September 27
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701 of 920 people (76%) found this review helpful
5.2 hrs on record
I am one of the stupid ones who got my hopes up after seeing reviews and hearing 'its the original game, but much improved with more additions bringing it up to date' ... and so i bought it.
What a mistake!
IT IS MISSING MANY THINGS FROM THE ORIGINAL!!!!!
No laddermen
No seige towers
No moats
No engineers! to use, build or put into your seige equipment. This changes gameplay massively, as it used to take time to get decent wall defences, because you had to first build the engineers workshop, produce engineers, and build a big enough tower, then build a ballista/mangonel etc on it, and then put your engineers in them for them to function. Now i just buy a bloody ballista tower as soon as the game starts and it begins shooting longrange hail marys from the get go.
What about PIMPING my castle... **** in 2002 i could put flags and the likes around, not in this remake.
No EVIL / NICE system in the castle. Gone are the days of building dungeons and setting out heads on spikes to scare your populace ****less so you can tax them etc... this also kills gameplay in a big way, that was so much of the fun!
Have to agree with most of the other comments.. The WALLS come down like polysterene blocks, so effortlessly and quickly.
Maps are tiny, one of the only flaws in original also. but its 2014 youd think they could have fixed that!!! Makes it annoyingly irritating to have resources far from castle so you can NEVER fully have your castle emcompass everything. You are always rebuilding or defending your resource buildings out in the middle of nowhere.
No more leather armour
No info when you scroll over buildings etc
No more peasants saying provocative gestures when u click em
No tunneling men?? that ive seen
The AI keep repeating the same tripe over n over again, its 2014 ! get a heap of new sayings in there not just 1 or 2 !!!
AI is not improved, they do the same **** over n over again from what ive experienced.
Economy is broken. Just build candlestick maker buildings and sell them at market and basically dont have to build any other resource buildings cause you can buy goods at market from candlestick profits!

Ahh the list is endless.

THIS GAME HAS BEEN DUMBED DOWN !!!

IT HAS LESS THAN THE ORIGINAL !!!

Gameplay is not even as fun as original !!!!! :(
It starts to freeze up on any settings medium or higher... on ultra it sucks as soon as you have over 2 ai one one map.
Not my pc, i built a high specd rig with 4.8 eight core an 3g graphics card etc... poorly designed game. i run all other games on ultra no probs.

Ok, rant over.

Graphics not good, just ok. until it starts to freeze up.
Only cool thing was haybale launcher thingy.
So if your into firey haybales then fork over all your dough, otherwise DONT BUY !
I hope they fix this game but i highly doubt it !!!
Posted: September 25
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59 of 67 people (88%) found this review helpful
13.1 hrs on record
Click for Gameplay Trailer - Preview

Sound:
+ many comments
+ nice sound effects
- orient music nervs after a certain time

Atmosphere:
+ surprising events
+ nicely hectic
- no cutscenes

Control:
+ simple control
+ castle building is easy
- you dont see the weapon range

Game Size:
+ 60 skirmish maps
+ sandbox mode
+ steam version contains stronghold crusader hd
+ 2 campaigns with 39 missions

Graphics:
+ nice physic effects
+ nice animations
- monotonous maps

KI:
+ attack your castle on weak points
- ki is very dumb

Units & Buildings:
+ 20 units
+ 8 siege weaponary
+ 8 defense buildings
+ good economy
- formation nearly useless
- no experience for units


New Content (short list):
> 8 KI characters. atleast 6 characters are planed to be added after the release.
> new units:
--- european: sergeant at arms and templar knight.
--- arab: whirling dervish, slave driver, sassanid knight and healer
--- siege engines: fire ballista, war wolf and war wagon
> special abilities for some units:
--- whirling dervish: whirling attack
--- slave driver: boost for slaves
--- assassin: togglable stealth
--- siege camp: arrow storm
--- sassanid knight: charge
> multiplayer coop mode - 1 castle 2 players
> togglable dynamic events: sandstorm, fire, tornados and locust swarms
> new economic system
> new housing system: based on distance from the keep
> unit group formation

Stronghold Crusader 2 embraces this warfare, offering a different units you can choose from to form your attacking force while your personal castle hopefully stays safe.
You start with a set population that increases as you become more popular with your subjects. You can make them happier by decreasing taxes (even going so far as outright bribing them), increasing their rations, or building them inns and places of worship so that they can drink and pray.
Likewise, you can adjust consumption in the other direction to conserve resources and gain more gold, but you'll be less popular as a result. Tying popularity and population growth to troop production gives the game a simulation element, and lends the flow of your economy extra texture. At the same time, the fact that you only need to keep track of one statistic ensures that the sim portions don't bloat and consume the rest of the game.
As you start becoming more popular and more people come to live in your keep, you need to build houses to accommodate them. This is in addition to the structures that produce resources like wood and stone, food buildings, and other luxury services (which also require people to run). By the time you're prepared to march an army towards the enemy, you'll want to construct a wall around your precious production plant.

You can pick many different kinds of units with varying specializations like ranged attacks, speedy movement, or heavy armor. Unfortunately, most of the troops you can employ are really boring. In fact, the Crusaders are all traditional infantry and cavalry. The Arabic forces are a little more interesting, thanks to units like the flame-hurling oil pot thrower, and the stealthy wall-scaling assassin.
You get precious few proactive resources beyond the troops. You can construct turrets and traps to keep enemies away of your castle; you can even boiling oil on them! But then there's the siege weaponry, quite possibly the game's biggest success, and the one way with which your castle walls actually change the way you play. Though castles aren't something you particularly care about tending to, you still must defend them, and their walls serve as a giant target for the opposing teams to breach.
Your army can't breach walls without spending an siege weaponry to break the stalemate that the walls provide. You can also load them with fire or cattle that explode in a cloud of plague.

Make no mistake, Stronghold Crusader 2 is foremost a multiplayer skirmish game. Its single-player campaign is labeled as a “learning campaign”, and though it tries to ease you into the game. it fails to teach you the rudimentary strategy to be successful. The missions punish you with progressively-increasing waves of enemies that quickly outpace your production. The game also provides you with a large amount of skirmishes that challenge you to beat the computer in games closer to multiplayer matches that are more fair than the campaign.

The different maps creates varies points, resource placement and create different game conditions, but the one thing they all share is that they're all fairly small. You need to act quickly and build the right sequence of buildings if you want to stand a chance.

Stronghold Crusader 2 is a good "remake", but that alone doesn't make it a good game. Its lack of interesting units, underdeveloped castle-building options, and terrible tutorials hold the game back. Warfare is still fun, and directing an army never gets old. What is miss, is the long term motivation!


Thanks for reading! If you Like my Review, give me a Thumbs up in Steam (not the youtube video).
I make this for the Community and your help is greatly appreciated :)
Posted: October 8
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98 of 145 people (68%) found this review helpful
19.5 hrs on record
Stronghold Crusader II is a game developed by Firefly Studios in a long line of the Stronghold series. First, some background on me. I was playing games when DOS was still around and when Age of Empires 1 was the new thing on the MSN gaming zone. My video game history encompases every genre but primarily focuses on Strategy games, FPS games, and the occasional RPG. Stronghold 1 and Stronghold Crusader were essentially the same game with a different atmosphere and some unit changes. Both were excellent games and the sucessors to follow did not so well. Stronghold 2 was mediocre at best, the fantasy mythic Stronghold and Stronghold 3 were bad.
Firefly split from their old publisher and became their own, just as many developers are doing these days because publishers like to add their two cents to game they know nothing about. Stronghold Crusader II takes what the original did and improves upon it further. The music and sound and very similar from the first and well done. Some of the original quotes from the units are still there as you move your catapults and archers. The villagers no longer speak to you when you click on them, instead it simply tells you what they are doing.
One of the things that made Stronghold so great for me back in the day was destroying the castles and watching the walls crumble. The massive armies going at it with each other and heads rolling. The physics in this game are much improved as to be expected. When catapults slam their boulders into a wall bodies standing near the point of impact are screwed. See those thirty archers in a tight group? Well now they are at the bottom in a pile where they belong. Trebuchets have great range and destructive power and still need to be setup while the catapults have less range and can be shot by archers. Overall the military feels well done, especially that mace men frenzy charge that leaves nothing standing as they spit and scream their way into battle.
While on the topic of military, some things have been reworked. The laddermen are gone, which wasn't really a surprise, who ever used them anyways? Moats and tunnelers have also been removed. At the time of this review sieging a castle isn't an easy task. Strongwalls are not an option but the time it takes for any military unit to chip away at a wall or gatehouse isn't worth that route. Almost your entire military force would be dead while they were picking away at the walls. While I would still like the strongwall option, it works well as it stands. As said before, catapults, trebuchets that fire boulders, cows, camelheads, and pigs, a bigger version of a catapult, rams, firecarts, and troop carriers are all the siege units.
Archers have remained the same but the crossbows no longer use animal hide as armor. The swordsmen are still slow but the knights can get horses to get them from point A to point B quickly. There is a new unit called the Sergeant at Arms which gives a bonus to troops within an area of effect, this can boost your other swordsmen, pikes, or whatever else you got nearby. Of course, the higher military units cost a fortune to field but can essentially soak up arrows while your catapults lay waste to the walls and mace men haul tail into the base to wreck everything.
While building a military you will notice that you run out of gold quick unless you run an efficient economy. Churches, breweries, and extra rations are all ways to keep your citizens happy to so you can generate more taxes. The market will let you auto-sell and/or auto-purchase items. This can be set as high or as low as you want. Iron, stone, wood, pitch, all the basic resources sell for the least while the armors and weapons sell for the most. Unlike the previous Crusader game, Inns providing ale do not need to be spammed but rather you adjust how much ale is consumed much in the same way as you would food. This will increase happiness to get you the desired level but just make sure you have the hops farms and breweries to accomodate the usage level. Churches act in much the same way in that you only need one but have to provide them with candles. Once again, here you can adjust how many candles are used for the desired happiness.
So far I have played through the tutorial and the lionheart campaign. The story isn't that great but the game does a good job at preparing you for harder battles. Some are so difficult that if you don't complete the level quick enough the army forces become so numerous it is a massive chore to keep them at bay while you invade. Additionally, I have played many skirmish matches, which is where the game is at for me. I like setting up from scratch and playing massive 4v4 battles. The game hosts 8 players, human or computer. As in the old ones, the rat is the worst player while the wolf and some of the new comers bring a better challenge. I have only had one crash to the desktop at the time of this review and that was right after intial installation and launching of a skirmish. I loaded that same map again a second time and it worked fine.
That brings me to the bugs. Most people were holding off on this game because of the reputation Firefly has. Since Firefly is now technically a "indie" developer as they separated from their publisher, I would like to take away the fears of purchasing this game. Other than a few issues with selecting units or them getting stuck in a gatehouse I haven't had any issues. Below are my specs just in case you are wondering and want to compare.

i5-2500k OC'd to 4.4 Ghz
16 GB of G Skill Ripjaws RAM
Dual 7970 Radeons
EVGA FTW Motherboard
2 OCZ Vector SSDs in RAID 0
1200 Watt PSU gold from Corsair
H100i CPU Cooler

With that setup I have no issues. Some people have reported problems while others have not. I am not sure how well they maintain their computer or what they have going on, as a system is going to be different from the next. I run a tight ship on mine and have zero problems with running the game.

Final Thoughts:
Stronghold Crusader II is a well designed game that is being constantly updated with both fixes and soon to be new content. On their forums they have laid out a plan on how they wish to progress with supporting this game. It appears as though their heart is where it should be and a fleshed out game was designed. Is it worth 50 dollars is the next question? I would say no, 30 or 40 dollars maybe but not 50. There isn't enough new content to justify the price but if you are a big fan of the original then price might not matter much to you. I waited for 24 hours and looked at what people were saying before I purchased the game. I hope this review helps you decide for yourself but please watch YouTube videos of the gameplay and try to find the glitches some are talking about and the ones I spoke of. If any of that puts you off, give it a week or two then come back.
Posted: September 24
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56 of 81 people (69%) found this review helpful
26.3 hrs on record
As a huge fan of the orignial Stronghold Crusader I had high expections for this game. I was pretty weary of it after the whole Stronghold 3 ordeal. At first it was kinda weird, but that went away fast. The units and buildings are great. I love the seige weapons in this game. Their expensive, but they really do some damage. The graphics are great as well. I realll like the weather dynamic. A storm came over my kingdom and a lighnting struck my archer. He caught fire and started running down the wall until he parished. I would like to see a flooding added into the weathter dynamic. Overall, the game feels great and is a blast to play.

+Graphics
+Great core gameplay
+More units and buildings
+Powerful seige weapons
Posted: September 25
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50 of 74 people (68%) found this review helpful
19.7 hrs on record
Quite likely long review incoming.
I have gone into the game with having its predecessor played for years upon years.
I have always played either skirmish or multiplayer with friends, so compaign was never, and will not be considered from my pov. I have immediately launched into skirmishes to figure out what is new, how are the systems changed and so on.

I have to say, some aspects have been made simpler.
(There is generally an easier relationship between buildings&mechnisms, such as 1 temple only, you make a couple candle workshops and you can figure out how many more you need for the best effect, opposed to the %of people blessed via priests in the first game)
I do not necessarily consider it a good or a bad point, so long as either fits the game, which it imho does here.
However, I really miss the popularity system. That added a lot to the feels and complexity of crusader. (nice lord/ cruel lord)

The look of the game is the best they have done in 3d, but the art of the original made it visually impressive and timeless, which I miss to some degree.
Also, it seems some settings arent perfectly optimised yet, because despite my PC's strenght, framedrops were present after a couple hundred troops started battling. My greatest concern was with the pathfinding of units in general. Peasants are working allright, but troops seem to glitch out rather often. If they go near impassable terrain in a large group (lets say because of a rally point) some of them will freeze and dont move unless commanded again. The assassins are even glitchier if you control more than 5 of them, they just stop or clump up in certain areas of the castle they should figure out how to use. (stairs seem to confuse them a great deal)

Despite it silly problems, I do not see anything that could not be fixed with patches.
For those who have loved how the archers arrows were shot in the original game (in nice, somewhat slowish arcs), that is not how it is done here. Arrows travel almost instantly. Ranged combat resolves faster imo, probably because they wanted to make the game combat feel faster, more responsive. It certainly feels a bit odd though, on how the arrows travel. Melee combat however, felt slower. I think because units do not stack up to the ridiculous extent they did in the original crusader, and hence 50 units cant swing their swords in a 1 square meter area. I do not really mind this change of feel that much.
Walls are extremely weak vs any sort of catapult, and need to be made extremely thick to be effective. (which is sad because it takes away so much space)

As for the new units and features, I actually like them more than I thought I would. The abilities of units are welcome, the new units are (mostly) interesting.

TL,DR: Has potential to be a really good long lasting experience, speaking from a skirmish/multiplayer mindset. If you want to be on the safe side, wait for some meaningful patches to roll out, which would fix the bad(glitchy) pathfinding, occcasional random crashes, poor optimisation, and odd fps drops.
Most maps are also somewhat small.

Biggest beef with the game by far: There is no space grid watch. As in, one used to be able to press the spacebar to see an up-top view of the building grid for better building placement, and unit directing near difficult terrain/high buildings. It is of utmost importance, and sadly, it isnt included. Not yet at least.
Posted: September 25
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42 of 61 people (69%) found this review helpful
11.6 hrs on record
Amazing Strategy Game, I never played Stronghold before but a lot of other Strategy Games like AOE1+2, Eath of Empire, Settlers and many more and I realy like this Game.

As a beginner the Tutorial is not realy what Tutorial should explain, you have 3 Missions and they are pretty easy, but no Tutorial how to build, make peoples happy or witch Army is better too use, how much they can stand and all the buildings you can build, like church and market. I also miss the tutorial how you play for example how you let the game run faster. For me the first 3 missions are just missions but not a tutorial, so for me as a beginner it was realy hard to understand that game, I had to watch some gameplay videos to learn more about that game.

So as a beginner the missions are realy hard its much different then playing AOE or Settlers, you also can`t change the game mode to easy, normal or hard. But you can play Sandbox, the only problem on playing Sandbox is that there is no enemy and after a small time it`s boring.

Multiplayer is fun if you know the game, as a beginner its pretty hard to enter a match and don`t lose imediately, I hope they will add a better tutorial later or more missions to learn the game and all you have to know.

Game makes realy fun at all and its challanging what keeps me playing this game and learn more every day.

Graphic is nice, game works good with a few bugs sometimes, crash or freezes, but thats nothing they can fix with a patch.

My Pro:
challanging
graphic
music
long matches
easy to build a castle
buildings dont need time to build
multiplayer with friends

My Contra:
bad tutorial for beginners
no informations about building and army
NPC seems to have unlimited resources and money (they build realy fast a complete castle+ big army)
fight agains computer start pretty fast, no time to build if you like it slow
no settings to play the game on easy/normal/hard for missions

I give this game a 7 of 10 points, would give it a 9 of 10 if there would be a better tutorial for peoples who never played Stronghold Crusader.
Posted: September 27
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67 of 106 people (63%) found this review helpful
3.9 hrs on record
I was excited as hell for this game i have been a fan of the series for a long time. But upon playing this my bubble was burst. This game simply does not measure up to the price. This should not be priced as a AAA game release 49.99.

Pros:
Consistant Fun "Stronghold gameplay
Wall and Castle Building tools improved leaps and bounds over previous games
Multiplayer


Cons:
AI is clunky and akward
Graphically the game leaves alot to be desired(looks like it could have come out 4 years ago)
Not enough inovation(Developers seems to have gone very safe and not really experements with much new)

Short version: Cant recommend at the 49.99 price tag wait for it on a Stean sale
Posted: September 24
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72 of 115 people (63%) found this review helpful
2.7 hrs on record
Having played every single game in the stronghold series except Kingdoms and 3, I can quite assuredly say this game is mediocre at best, at worst it's trying really hard to capture crusader 1's spirit but failing horribly, and it fails to improve upon strongold 2's features and keeps the horrible ones from what I assume was 3. In my mind, 2 was the best game due to its complexity, and features such as towers actually having an inside, revunne from estates, and feasts among other things. This game has none of improvments of 2, nor most of the features from the original crusader, such has different sized walls and gates and actually different tower designs. Towers in SHC2 are the exact same model only upscaled in size. Going back to what the game has from SH2, there are candle makers who magically create wax, the terrible formation system which is useless once you're in the heat of battle, oh and here it is also useful to mention a unit cap which only seems to increase for every enemy you defeat, which is a bit counter intuitive to met at least, as i always prefered fighting two or three strong enemies over several seiges than anything else. THis game tries so hard to be an RTS which it is not and never will be, when it was perfectly fine beign stronghold. I will still play this game, and hope that updates will come out that improve it, but that won't be likely unless they are radical changes. I would recommend SH2 before SHC2 if you're lookign for a good combination between castle buildign sim and RTS, and SHC1 if you want an excellent medieval strategy game.
Posted: September 24
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10 of 10 people (100%) found this review helpful
76.3 hrs on record
Back to the roots - 8/10


Introduction:
As a big fan of Stronghold 1 and Stronghold Crusader 1 I was really happy to read and see, that a new Stronghold Crusader was planned and what the devs wanted to do with it. After just a mediocre Stronghold 2 (and yes it was, at least in my opinion) and the disastrous Stronghold 3 (and yes, IT WAS) it's no wonder, if people are a bit sceptical about another "try". After watching pre-alpha gameplay and the dev diary I could see 'the old crusader 1' in it. The devs wanted to go back to the roots and that's exactly what I wanted. Therefore I have decided to throw in some Euros into the gambling house (preorder) and to cross my fingers, that Firefly won't mess it up this time or it would be their last game for sure. Long story, short answer: this time they could deliver!


Pro:
+ the old 'crusader feeling' from the past!
+ it's always fun to build castles and to destroy the stuff of other people
+ rebalanced and new units (no more unstoppable horse archers)
+ smarter construction of buildings
+ learning campaign + skirmish trails will offer ~30 hours of singleplayer fun
+ custom skirmish battles with AI possible (and you can change your own color now too)
+ VERY hard final skirmish trail mission (yup, it's fun for your brain)
+ working multiplayer
+ a lot of maps (the old classic maps of SHC1 are also planned to be added later)
+ map editor
+ Steam Workshop support is planned
+ good soundtrack
+ you can throw several animals through the air
+ some of the old german voice actors are back
+ the release version was very playable with only some minor bugs (my experience, maybe not yours)
+ the devs actually care about the game and have further plans for it
+ you can brew beer, germans love beer


Neutral:
o mediocre graphics (it's not bad but it isn't too great too, could be better, but I don't care that much about it)
o not much visual variety...because of the crusader setting of the game which means desert, desert, desert, some palms, some oasis, some rivers, mountains and have I already mentioned desert? (that's no contra)
o no moats anymore (I miss them, because they contribute to a more challenging defense, but let's be honest...moats don't make that much sense in a desert)
o no leather armors anymore (crossbowmen need and wear steel armor now, macemen need no armor anymore)


Contra:
- not all promised features are in yet (Coop playing as the same lord, strongwall option)...but they will be added later
- little lags in multiplayer, if there are a lot of units running around
- main menu artwork isn't that great
- horrible ingame info-vids of the AI players, when they decide to attack or want stuff...poorly done!
- the AI hasn't changed much...they can be pretty tough, but they're predictable, don't act that smart and cheat
- no 'good karma' (monuments, garden, ...) and 'bad karma' (gallows, cages) buildings anymore [popularity bonus of church services, beer production, food and taxes is still in]
- no laddermen anymore (no tunnel diggers too, but I don't miss them, because they were bad in the original)
- I REALLY miss the voice reactions of the peasants, if you click at them


Conclusion:
Stronghold Crusader 2 isn't revolutionary. Nothing spectacular has changed compared to Stronghold Crusader 1. Some new stuff got added, some stuff has been changed, some stuff got cut out and everything is presented with new graphics in 3D now. As a yummy topping you're now able to play Multiplayer with no problems or workarounds. Is it bad, because there's no major advance? No, not if you ask me. Why should you change a formula, which works well? All I wanted was a updated version of Stronghold Crusader 1 with a working multiplayer via Steam, nothing more. And that's what I got. I'm happy with my purchase and can recommend it to all the old fans of the old Stronghold titles, which share my expectation. If you're looking for brand new mechanics and stuff, then you won't be that satisfied.

8/10


----------------------
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Posted: October 17
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23 of 36 people (64%) found this review helpful
26.1 hrs on record
5 hours into single player campaign and some skirmish and I'm loving SC2. A vast improvement on the devastatingly disappointing Stronghold 3. Yes, it's quite different from Stronghold Crusader, and it's probably more user-friendly for newcomers to the series, which is fine by me. As far as building castles and invading other's castles goes, this is the dogs ballistas.
Posted: September 28
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22 of 36 people (61%) found this review helpful
13.2 hrs on record
Stronghold Crusader II asks you a lot of questions. Should I Invest in Iron? should I have Arabic Troops or English? where will my walls be best defended? and what resources do my allies have? The Campaign Is interesting But real strategy lies in skirmish mode. Strategy I have not seen in a lot of games these days. A avid fan of stronghold 1 and crusader I have spent countless hours into those games. I feel the same strategy applies here. Not to mention castle raids feel epic. tower collapse and enemies fall from them. Its everything I wanted from a stronghold remake. If your a fan of medieval warfare I greatly recommend. stacking is a bit weird and AI is not perfect but It feels like a stronghold game should. not like 2 and 3 and that weird one where there was magic and monsters???

Stronghold crusader 2 is a must for anyone looking to strategically defend and build a functioning castle in the heart of the crusades.
Posted: September 25
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5 of 5 people (100%) found this review helpful
32.2 hrs on record
The best of the Stronghold series so far! A very solid and addictive game.
Posted: October 13
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5 of 6 people (83%) found this review helpful
6.6 hrs on record
The Opinion
I wanted to love this game. I really did. After only three in-game hours, I can honestly say that THIS is not a Stronghold game. I've tried looking at it from all angles; seeing it as not a continuation to a series that was plagued by Stronghold 3, but as a sequel to the Stronghold game that stole my heart - Stronghold: Crusaders.
Even as such, this game fails to deliver. Nothing was built upon - nothing - and if I were to be honest, I would even go as far as to say features were removed. Good features. Important features. What you've been left with feels like the Civilisation game released on the Xbox marketplace; it's cute, but not a full fledged Stronghold game.
Where are my Engineers? Laddermen? Tunnelers? Moats? Why is building my castle so... generic?
I wouldn't have minded a re-skin of Stronghold 2. Nor a remake of the original Crusaders. Given this as the alternative, I would've honestly rather pay an additional $54.99 (CAD) for Firefly to just add Skirmish to Stronghold 3, not release a half-game riding the coattails of previous successes.
Will I continue to play? Yes. I refuse not to. This game may lack... everything... but damn it, if I want simplicity and don't feel like an RTS like the AoE series, I'll play this.
Will I recommend this to friends? No. Friends, fellow fans, I've played scapegoat. I've lost this round. Continue reading if you're interested, I'll try to go more in-depth.

More Information
Pros:
  • Looks Pretty (Despite a few weirder texture maps...)
  • Different Style Maps (stone in one corner, iron in another)
  • Community (whether angry fans or not, it's got a living community)
Cons:
  • No Laddermen
  • No Moats
  • Slower Resource Gathering (resulting in longer, uneventful games)
  • No actual Engineers (I guess peasents just magically know how to man ballistae, trebuchets, and so-on)
  • Poor enemy selection (The new enemies already feel generic)
  • Many Stretched Textures (it may look pretty, but not as pretty as it could)
  • Weird in-game stuttering and freezes (Before anyone explodes on me, blaming my rig, I have no issues running Shadow of Mordor on high at 1080p (60fps avg.), or Endless Legend, or Stronghold 2 or 3, or Tomb Raider)

All-in-all, this game is not done. At least, it better not be.
Visuals: 8/10
Combat: 6/10
Castle/Town Management: 4/10
UI: 8/10
Unit Differences: 3/10
Enemy AI: 5/10
Gameplay Feel: 4/10

Do what you will with this, buy it if you want, Hell, you might even like it. But I cannot recommend this as an honest Stronghold game.

Gamers may have changed, Firefly. Choosing to buy into industrious brands like "Call of Duty" and the like, but your audience has not. We have not grown stupid over the years, and we will continue to wait for an actual Stronghold Crusader 2.
Posted: October 19
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18 of 32 people (56%) found this review helpful
6.4 hrs on record
Had a lot of fun playing Co-Op! I think they did a great job with the game. Some requests. So far not one bug. It's NOT SH3 again.

I played Co-Op with a friend on Multiplayer and had a blast. I think they did a great job and it takes me back to the begining days of the first one (minus the moats :p). It was fun playing as long as we were on voice chat. Not sure how you could possibly play Co-Op without talking to eachother. One person handled the logistics and the building, while I handled the military aspects. I also built all the miltary devices I needed and they built the walls. I would simply state I need gold for x and wait for my partner to grant it to me.

Some minor things:
I wish catapults would take out troops. Maybe it needs more testing but it seemed I couldn't use my catapults to take out troops.

If you play as co-op on a single team and the host surrenders the game, the second person is left in the game and made host. I think that it should surrender your partner as well but there might be an argument for the way it is now.

I would really like to play the Campaign on Co-Op. It would make for a more engaging game, as playing deathmatch gets old after awhile. I'd rather sandbox build with eneimes on the map or play the campaigns with a story line. That would be the ultimate.

Over all I like the mechanics and the game play and the controls. I had no issues at all. It's definitely not SH3.
Posted: September 23
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3 of 3 people (100%) found this review helpful
121.3 hrs on record
This is my updated review for SHC2 after 3 patches and 100+ hours of gameplay...

The name of the game should have the word" redemption" attached to the title because it is exactly that. Leagues better then SH3, better then SHL and a tad better then SH2.

With the exception of a few crashes in multiplayer the game does run very well on my system.
AMD 8350
8 Gigs Ram@1600
Gigabyte HD 7870 2GB
Windows 7/64
While the graphics are not top notch nor cutting edge for a castle sim/medieval warfare title they{especially coming from a small gaming studio} are more then adequate.

The gameplay is quite simple......Build a castle/ecomony as well as an army then go looking for something to kill. While the game is fun in single player i do consider multiplayer to be where its at and it is interesting seeing all the different build and play styles that players have to offer.

The game while good is not perfect and still needs some small balance and bug issues addressed. Knights cannot cross bridges w/o dismounting their horses which is odd considering that trebuchets can and they weigh more.
Multiplayer also needs some small balancing issues as it stands right now it is way to easy to get a thriving economy using candles/bread/ale. Dervishes also seem to be a bit OP.

Ideas for the future....
As far a s DLC goes a European map pack/unit pack would be something i would definetely get behind. More lush green forested maps......longbowmen possibly added as a unit.

For my review after 100 hours of gameplay and 3 patches i hereby give SHC2 a....
8.3/ 10

Depending on future updates/DLC this number can easily rise.
Posted: October 20
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4 of 5 people (80%) found this review helpful
28.0 hrs on record
If you don't want to buy this game because SH3 sucked... Here is a review for you:
This game is nothing like SH3, it's far far FAR better!

As you can see from the other reviews and game play, it is a huge improvement and successor to the SH series!

Long Live Crusader!
Posted: October 10
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9 of 15 people (60%) found this review helpful
40.5 hrs on record
THIS IS STRONGHOLD !!!
finally the game that all fans of the series have been waiting for.
PRO:
- Fluid and varied gameplay
- The 3D graphics is exploited as it should be
- Havok physics is felt
- New units
- Multiplayer well optimized
- Few bugs
- Single player campaigns demanding
- Skirmish

CON:
- A few minor bugs to fix
- The campaign runs out in a matter of hours
- Lack of a ranking system in multiplayer

HOPES:
- Addition of matchmaking and ranking in multiplayer
- Periodic updates to fix minor bugs and new additions

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


QUESTO E' STRONGHOLD!!!
finalmente il gioco che tutti i fan della serie stavano aspettando.

PRO:
- gameplay fluido e vario
- finalmente la grafica 3D viene sfruttata come si deve
- la fisica Havok si fa sentire
- nuove unità
- multiplayer ben ottimizzato
- pochi bug
- campagne single player impegnative
- Schermaglia

CONTRO:
- qualche bug minore da sistemare
- la campagna si esaurisce in una manciata di ore
- mancanza di un sistema ranking in multiplayer



SPERANZE:
- aggiunta del matchmaking e ranking in multiplayer
- aggiornamenti periodici per sistemare bug minori e nuove aggiunte
Posted: September 24
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32 of 60 people (53%) found this review helpful
8.5 hrs on record
Remember Stronghold 3? Yeah me neither. Apology accepted, milord.
Posted: September 26
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2 of 2 people (100%) found this review helpful
36.4 hrs on record
Hey.

I have been playing Stronghold since I was a child, I started with Stronghold 1 and I still can remember the campaign like it was yesterday! The best Stronghold parts for me were Stronghold Crusader and Stronghold Crusader 2 ! I love this part, sure it's not PERFECT yet, it's still lagging when you are in big battles against big units, but it's not that bad and I am sure they are fixing it soon. The graphic is very good, the stories are very interesting, the love for details and backrounds are very historical correct too. For example, if you play an european/christian Lord you can build pigfarms, if you play an arabian/muslim lord you can buld sheep farms instead to get meat. The Multiplayer is probably working better then every other Multiplayer in every other Stronghold game before! There are only two things I have to say about the multiplayer that aren't really positive. 1 . There are not really many servers! Even when you got " high latency " games filter activated. 2. You have many players who just like to RUSH the game and don't really enjoy it, they attack you after 5-15 minutes with hundreds of horse archers... BUT if you open a server you can set a peace time from 5 - 30 minutes! So the enemy can't attack you. Many server got a peace time in from 5 - 15 minutes, but for me personally it isn't long enough, I like to enjoy..build my castle up with love :-D, but everyone think different about it !

Well, all I have to say is... GET IT ! This game is definitely way better then many other " Medieval " games I played before, and even if the game wouldn't have a multiplayer it would be worth buying it, because the campaign is definitely the best thing, Stronghold is famous for very good campaigns.


This game is a lot of fun for people who like MULTIPLAYER and SINGLEPLAYER! Everyone who loves " Medieval " games should have Stronghold. It's absolute worth the price and definitely not a waste of money.


I hope you have fun with the game, and if you are looking for a player who likes to enjoy his matches and likes to have a bit more time to build up his castle,economy and military, you are free to add me :-)

Greetings, me :-P
Posted: October 17
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