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 (1,787 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 (20)

May 13

Out Now: The Emperor & The Hermit DLC

New Missions, Characters and Castles





The Angel of Death hovers over your castle! The Emperor & The Hermit DLC introduces two extra AI opponents and an all-new Crusader Trail campaign. Spiritual successors to The Emperor and The Abbot from the original Stronghold Crusader (2002), The Emperor and The Hermit are driven by religious fervour. Backed by zealots who follow their cause without question, be it just or corrupt, both leaders represent a dangerous new threat to all sides in the Crusader conflict. The next expansion for Stronghold Crusader 2, The Emperor & The Hermit adds seven missions, two AI opponents, 10 achievements, additional player shields and new castle designs unique to The Emperor and The Hermit. It is now available for £3.99/$5.99/€4.99, with an additional 33% off for the next seven days!

New Missions

After years of isolated reverence the Hermit has been driven blind by his self-righteous claim to sacred authority. Now he commands legions of assassins, ensuring his enemies see no more of his approaching armies than he does! From further afield comes the Emperor, an elderly man who will rest at nothing to expand his holy kingdom using the vast armies at his command. Cunning tactics and battle hardened wits will be needed to fight through the seven missions and unique maps found in the new ‘The Emperor & The Hermit’ Skirmish Trail, our most challenging trail yet!

New AI Opponents

The Emperor

Originally from Germany, The Emperor was once a high-profile religious figure revered worldwide. Excommunicated from the Church and disgraced in the eyes of his former followers, The Emperor now leads a splinter group of fanatics who believe him chosen by God to guide them in the holy land. Having abandoned any sense of religious obligation to his fellow man, The Emperor will stop at nothing to reclaim his former power and authority.

The Hermit

Subject to a heavily religious upbringing in lands that are now being used as a battleground, The Hermit is negatively disposed toward the invading Crusader hordes. The Hermit is a departure for Stronghold with no preordained authority, royal lineage, military background or house to act as a status symbol. What he does control is an army of religious zealots, equally angry about the invasion and out for Crusader blood as their leader. For these men the idea of following The Hermit in his counter-crusade against Richard is a most noble cause.

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April 23

Invasions Now Live

Sandbox Sieges, Easy AI Mode, New Maps and More!

Our new ‘Invasions’ update is now available on Steam, free for all owners of Stronghold Crusader 2. Launch siege invasions against your castle in Sandbox mode, turn on easy AI or choose your faction in single player Skirmish Trail missions and build across a selection of new maps in custom skirmish, sandbox or online multiplayer.

Siege Invasions
Siege invasions allow you to launch AI sieges against experimental castle designs in Crusader 2's free build Sandbox mode. Refine best practices for castle construction and create the ultimate stronghold, testing your most robust castles against powerful AI invasions. Launch siege armies of varying sizes, add random events and more!

Easy AI Mode
Having trouble completing each Skirmish Trail? Is the AI taunting you in your dreams? A new easy mode can now be turned on, toning down the notorious difficulty of Skirmish Trail missions and providing players with some breathing room. Reducing the frequency and aggressiveness of enemy attacks, this feature is designed to ease up on the challenge for players struggling against Stronghold's famously challenging antagonists. The Trails will nevertheless remain a challenge, so don't dare let your guard down!

Faction Selection
For the first time in Stronghold history you can now choose which of the two factions you wish to represent in Skirmish Trail missions. Having developed an Arabic faction story campaign to tell the tale of Saladin's forces, we have now further blurred the lines between good and evil by giving you the choice of which faction you wish to represent on the battlefield. Gain access to the advantages and disadvantages of their unique castle architecture by playing as either invading Crusaders or Arabic freedom fighters.

New Maps
From the no man’s land of ‘Interlocked’ to the steep slopes of ‘Volcano’ and the woodlands of ‘The Forest’, this new map pack adds both Skirmish and Sandbox maps to the game. With unique landscapes featuring beaches, lakes and even the odd volcano, you can now do battle across a variety of different scenery while drenching the desert sands with the blood of your enemies.

In addition we have also fixed various bugs - Full Update Notes

Please Note: This feature 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 v1.0.21103 please restart Steam until the update downloads.

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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

Featured DLC



The Angel of Death hovers over your castle! The Emperor & The Hermit DLC introduces two extra AI opponents and an all-new Crusader Trail campaign. Spiritual successors to The Emperor and The Abbot from the original Stronghold Crusader (2002), The Emperor and The Hermit are driven by religious fervour. Backed by zealots who follow their cause without question, be it just or corrupt, both leaders represent a dangerous new threat to all sides in the Crusader conflict.

The next expansion for Stronghold Crusader 2, The Emperor & The Hermit adds seven missions, two AI opponents, 10 achievements, additional player shields and new castle designs.

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!



  • 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
104 of 142 people (73%) found this review helpful
11.5 hrs on record
Posted: December 10, 2014
5/10
I wont lie, I was a little dissapionted with this game when I first stared playing, I was a big fan of its predecessor 'Stonghold crusader', this was by far one of my favorite games when I was younger.
Pros and cons:

PROS- The graphics in-game have been updated, although not as much as you might hope for, especially for the fact that the old one came out 12 years ago.
- It is much harder to appease the peasants who flock to your castle, this does make the game a bit more challenging when it comes down to 'laying siege' to an enemies castle, at least in multiplayer. You can starve your enemy in a manner of speaking.
- There are new units, athough most of these are nearly identical to the predecessors, using some of the same quotes and one-liners.
- The walls fall down in 3D, instead of dissapearing,
- Destruction of castle walls and towers, looks better,
CONS- the Opening menu was a major dissapointment, i dont really know what i expected but the predecessors kicked ♥♥♥ compared to this new one.
- The new AI sucks, really sucks, (eg. the enemy computer always gets free siege equipment)
- The graphics aren't that imppressive for the amount of processing power it takes to run the game.
- The price tag for what you get is practically extortion.
- If you arent familiar with the game it is quite hard to understand the mechanics of the game, depsite the introduction campaign/scenario
- The new voice acting for the AI is just generally annoying, in my personal opinion they should have used the old voices from the last game.
- The mulitiplayer menu, is the same as the opening menu, a dissapointment
- There is a building and troop limit, whilst understandably for lower end computers is unchangeable, but there should be a way to adjust it.

All in all the game leaves you feeling a little underwhelmed, to be honest if your thinking of buying this game do yourself a favour and wait until a sale, save yourself the dissapointment of spending a lot of money on something that isn't quite up to standard.
I do know that Firefly are releasing updates and extensions so hopefully in the future they may be able to fix some of the problems, and annoyances.
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168 of 246 people (68%) found this review helpful
3 people found this review funny
7.4 hrs on record
Posted: December 9, 2014
Do you want a castle sim? Do you want that medieval atmosphere of Stronhold 1? Dealing with famine, diseases, economy and war? Well, my friend, then you [not] are in luck! .... For this is indeed not the game you were looking for!

I get that the devs gave it a shot. The game has a heart. As someone who throughout the year followed firefly studios, it is clear that it is now but a shadow of what it used to be. With very little resources they wanted to do their best.

However, as hard of a shot they gave, to me, everything just fell apart from the very moment you start the game, and here is why:

The artwork is just sad. Egyptian hieroglyph looks better than what we see here.
UI is terrible, it feels very alpha. *cough* look at that type font *cough*

No economy, just a lifeless corpse of a castle that spits out little clones to either attack or defend it.
If you wanted a sim, like me, you wont see people chatting and going about their lives, there is no micro management. Nothing to see. Where are the citizens, the animations?

Take SH1, just awe at the amount of detail that it had, moss in the walls, cracks in the wood and stone. Even wind ffs.

Unfortunatly, you cannot stop and think: is this just a SH3 reskin with less bugs?

Is it a waste of time? God no. The gameplay is bland but at times, you may find some joy in it. Fans will do a fair bit of it out of pure nostalgia. Smashing walls can be fun.

In the end, the game just doesn’t do much for you to like it for very long.
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40 of 61 people (66%) found this review helpful
3 people found this review funny
3.9 hrs on record
Posted: February 25
My favorite part was when the AI rebuilt their entire fortress in under one second and the AI kept repeating the same thing over and over and over and over. Luckily the game crashed to my library where I realized I had far better games. Thanks Stronghold! Lots of potential but overall lack luster


5 beets out of 10
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15 of 17 people (88%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
2.5 hrs on record
Posted: May 25
Just received a mail from Firefly:

1. Play the game
2. Publish a review
3. Win DLC!

So, since I already played the game, I am now publishing this review:
"The game is good. I already liked the earlier Stronghold games, especially Legends although noone else seems to like that. Stronghold Crusader 2 seems to be the best game so far."

Where is my DLC now? Did I win?
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26 of 41 people (63%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
52.6 hrs on record
Posted: December 20, 2014
True to its roots and resurrected in a 3D engine. This game adds more varied unit types over the first Crusader but it is unfortunate they couldn't do more with the new game engine.

This Stronghold surpasses Stronghold 2 when it comes to skirmishes - with a pretty good selection of maps, a slew of relatively interesting AI's, and a chain of increasingly difficult skirmish challenges. Unfortunately, a lot of the great castle sim features of Stronghold 2 are absent. In fact, even the castle management parts of SHC have been "dumbed down."
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118 of 215 people (55%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
1.3 hrs on record
Posted: December 4, 2014
Its not like the old game infact everyrthing is small and very slow with gathering things and it just doesnt have that "Stronghold Feel" like the other games do and, i don't know if its me but i feel like a alot of things were taken out but in all this game isnt worth $49.99
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45 of 79 people (57%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
41.9 hrs on record
Posted: December 13, 2014
I thought that Stronghold Crusader 2 would have been a good game as the developers could have remedied the issues that came up in Stronghold 3 and applied it to this game. My hopes have been let down yet again. There is an insane amount of lag like Stronghold 3, when you click on the icons they do not always respond, when you mouse over the icon information like cost and materials does not always pop up, I have had buildings vanish as though I never built them even though the materials are gone, and too many other problems to count. I have wasted my money yet again on this game series. Never again. To hell with those that made this game and to hell with those that gave birth to them. I would recommend spending your hard earned money on something better.
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13 of 19 people (68%) found this review helpful
55.2 hrs on record
Posted: February 15
simply too expensive and with less tactical possibilities than the first one,

I wouldn't recommend it
and believe me I never waste my time to post any comments

don't buy this sequel, unless it's 10 eur

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15 of 23 people (65%) found this review helpful
278.7 hrs on record
Posted: January 2
Stronghold Crusader 2 is a worth sequel. It had some bugs and crashs at start which got fixed soon. The integration into steam and its workshop is a nice feature.
To the game: The "campagin" has sadly no real story and it is just skirmish maps. To be fair, crusader 1 was the same.
The unit balancing is well made and this game needs more strategy thinking because of the special of the units. It is not just possible to spam one or two unit types to win.
I played over 270h now and still like it and it makes fun to play it in multiplayer.
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8 of 10 people (80%) found this review helpful
123.4 hrs on record
Posted: April 1
I'm realy disappointed from FireFly's SHC2 :( ... and this again after SH3 :(
First i thought "Ok its new on the market. This lags and bugs are normal and will be fixed in the next upcoming patchs"
But FireFly give a sh!t to fix this lags :/
The multiplayer is realy unplayable if there are 4 players having max. buildings and troops.
After 1/2 year they still didnt fix this lags ..... realy realy sad. I had so much hope.. I was waiting sooo long with my review but now i cant wait anymore. They started with DLC's and forget about the big problems this game have :(

This game is again a fail cause the prgrammers dont have enought skill to get this game working.
Again a waste of money :(
If you want to play this game in multiplayer then forget about it. It's not the money worth.
Singleplayer is somehow better playable then mp.

By the way. I have an intel E3 1231, Nvidia GTX 770 (4GB), SSD and 8 GB RAM. So my machine is not to slow to run this game with its low and old graphic^^
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12 of 18 people (67%) found this review helpful
2.6 hrs on record
Posted: December 28, 2014
Another god damn dissapointment
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85 of 157 people (54%) found this review helpful
2.7 hrs on record
Posted: November 28, 2014
If you enjoyed stronghold crusaders 1 then dont buy this game, honestly it will kill the whole amazing easy experiance of stronghold crusaders, this game is a sorry follow up from a very amazing game.
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10 of 15 people (67%) found this review helpful
0.3 hrs on record
Posted: March 4
Definitely not as good as the original. I am disappointed and feel I wasted my money.
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4 of 4 people (100%) found this review helpful
34.3 hrs on record
Posted: May 23
Game is really good, its different from the original but still good
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5 of 6 people (83%) found this review helpful
13.4 hrs on record
Posted: February 8
Is it a good game... yes. Did it learn anything from other games of the same genre.. NO. Is it worth playing yes. But not for 50 dollars.

Age of empires 2 beat this in gameplay possibilties and map types long ago. While there are better graphics (slightly) and a better wall building system, and a peasant allocation system, that isn't enough to make it really worth it.

The music is good, when it randomly turns on. However it is short-lived and there are few tracks, again it lost to aoe2 that came out nearly 15 years ago.

Also the animations most people will find are either really dumb or really hilarious depending on your perspective, but all can agree that they are not that good.
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6 of 8 people (75%) found this review helpful
12.8 hrs on record
Posted: April 9
I have played all of the previous stronghold crusader games and enjoyed them. This one is totally terrible however. At first glance it seems totally awesome. There are additional units that have been added, and the graphics are excellent. Unfortunately the AI is ridiculous. In the old Stronghold crusader you could actually use tactics and choke off your enemy by hitting his supply lines. In this one, he randomly generates additional units, and no matter how low his supplies are, each wave keeps getting harder and harder. I made it through half the campaigns and started with hard, and then went to normal and then to easy. Never had this problem before, and I've played all sorts of strategy games, including warcraft, starcraft, crusader, etc. The tutorial is very basic and its up to you to figure out how the new units actually work, so not much fun there either.
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7 of 10 people (70%) found this review helpful
31.9 hrs on record
Posted: January 11
Not worth £30, buy Crusader HD and save yourself a lot of money.
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3 of 3 people (100%) found this review helpful
7.7 hrs on record
Posted: May 23
Good game, has some minors bugs at the start but they got fixed.
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4 of 5 people (80%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
156.8 hrs on record
Posted: April 4
Good game! Loved the first one and this one is a lot of fun as well. However, there are time when it lags so bad it is almost unplayable and that’s single player! Though I’ve read it only happens to people to use AMD cores it needs a lot of work to run better and I wouldn’t recommend this game to someone until the problem is fixed. I can play WoW and diablo 3 on max graphics while doing just about anything else and it doesn’t even phase my computer but as soon as i start to play SHC2 all of my cores spike and the game begins to lag intensely. I look forward to you all fixing the problem, though if you don't i probably will no longer purchase games from any of you.
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5 of 7 people (71%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
1.9 hrs on record
Posted: February 18
After wasting 35 euros by preordering this ''thing'' and having seen the minimum requirements being changed at the last minute before release i'm still waiting for a patch to make this game more optimized for the ugly graphs it actually has
By having played ALL the stronghold saga games i'm surprised how lot of people actually say that this one is a better and improved version of SC1, i think it's actually the opposite
This looks more like a medieval dlc of the sims instead of a stronghold game
I'll just talk about the little i've experienced in my 111 minutes online and 10 hours offline gameplay:

PROS:
-it's a StrongHold game
-in its name there's ''crusader''

CONS:
-optimization: i don't have a powerful gaming PC but it still satisfies the minimum reqs, aand i still can't play the game at more than 20 fps into the tutorial
-graphs: ugly ugly and ugly, even Stronghold 3 had better graphs
-interface: playing at 1366*768 screen res makes my eyes get tons of tumors, the 70% of the monitor is actually the hud, tremendously huge and ugly hud (aka stronghold 3 ♥♥♥♥♥♥ hud)
-buildings: the proportions between walls/towers and eco building are completely wrong, walls are so thick you could grow a farm into them and towers are horribly flat
-castle building: the finished castle looks always ugly
-units: they have been fixed but the cp still doesn't work 100%, and there are missing too many of them from the original one
-economy: they have been rebalanced but they're still completely wrong imho
-ai: can't say that much, game crashes with 2+ ai
-price: no, just no

Keep playing at stronghold crusader 1 instead.
Jesus ♥♥♥♥ing Christ buy stronghold crusader hd, not this one.
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