For those coming from the multiple years of playing Stronghold: Crusader and all its variations, (HD, Extreme) This game fails on what could've been something so much more. Overall, FireFly really just took the game into a different, unsuccessful direction that cripples the game from the start. The failures of this game pile up the longer you play, and you won’t be playing for long.
Most of the positive reviews are from players who have never touched Stronghold:Crusader before, and are probably bots being spammed to promote sales. Almost all of the negative reviews you see for this game are from veteran players like myself whose hopes of seeing an even DECENT modern Stronghold game fade away.
-What turns me off as a 10+ year Stronghold:Crusader player-
-Stronghold:Crusader 2 just doesn’t seem like a finished game. Animations aren’t complete, this is most noticeable when watching the Duc Volpe (The Wolf’s) message animations, which are well done and smooth, to the paper mache, 5 frame animation for Saladin.
-The game is dumbed down. There are no more moats, engineers, fear factor, decorative items, or laddermen.
-The UI is ugly, and appears rushed. This looks like anyone without decent drawing skills could have done the art for the menu screens/ The main menu screen in Stronghold: Crusader looks better than the main menu in 2. The lobby UI for multiplayer doesn’t even show other players in the lobby. While some details are cool, the overall vibe is Aladdin than a brutal strategy game set in crusader times.
-The map sizes are so small, they counter this by slowing everyones economies down, to the point where its simply not fun because you have to wait forever to get resources.
-Stronghold:Crusader had epic campaigns, and Stronghold: Crusader 2 can only offer 3-5 mission mini stories that don’t feel as grand or as impactful as the original.
-The gameplay is slow. This is due to the horrendous changes they made to building costs. 20 Wood for an apple farm is reasonable, but 60 wood for a dairy farm? 100 wood for a mill? How are people supposed to develop economies without falling asleep? You are guaranteed to spend all of your starting gold on wood, or die due to you being crippled by having to wait 10 minutes to collect 100 wood.
-Castle building was thrown out the window. This is primarily due to the small map size and new clunky and slow resource mechanics. There are two wall options, thin and regular, and considering how weak walls are, if you want an enclosed keep, you have to spend at least 500-1000 stone, which by the way, will take you half an hour to accrue.
-While the graphics are nice, you would be better off playing Age of Empires 3.
Those are the primary concerns with the game. Bad gameplay, slow economy development, bad and ugly UI, and an unfinished feel, this game robs hopes of FireFly every making something as epic, or downright fun to play as Stronghold, and Stronghold:Crusader. This game is a horrendous attempt as a successor, and many veteran players would gladly go back to playing the original than wasting their time with this unfinished mess.
The anger and frustration in this review comes from the countless failed attempts FireFly has made. Stronghold 2. Stronghold 3, and now Stronghold:Crusader 2 are miserable failures, and it’s hard to comprehend why nothing has changed regarding the production of these sequels to the God-Games, Stronghold and Stronghold:Crusader. $50 is theft for an unfinished game that would never sell if it didn’t have the Stronghold name. I wouldn’t even play this game if it was free.
0/10. For $50, they are stealing money from hopeful fans. There is nothing fun or exciting about this game. You are better of buying Stronghold:Crusader HD.