Stronghold: Crusader is an RTS (real time strategy) game based in the Middle East during the Crusades, namely mainly in the third. Some parts of the game, however, take place before that. It's a kind of extension of the game Stronghold, which Crusader in many aspects resembles, but Stronghold is set in medieval England.
Stronghold: Crusader is Stronghold enriched with new mechanics, the most famous of these is the Skirmish mode, the heart of the game. It is a mode in which each player or computer opponent has one base each on a map and they must develop, market, prosper and build castles and defense. Since all players are on one map, they can interact with each other, whether it's positively or negatively. Allies can trade with each other, defend each other and attack together. The game goal is most of the time to kill all the enemy Lords and not die in the process. The game balances the economy and the war very well. The player must develop their economy through taxes, food rations, trade and so on. They must seek to balance their popularity to not become unpopular, because in that case it people will begin to leave the castle and will severely halt the player's progress. If the player has a good economy, he can take up making a great army, which are usually quite costly. This way the game balances the economy and the war, and I like it. You should think about your tactics and castle management a bit, otherwise you go to your knees, whether you like it or not.
The main objectives of the game itself are the 2 Skirmish trails. They consist of a number of consecutive Skirmishes. In each mission the player has certain enemies, sometimes allies, a set map and everyone's position on it, and a set amount of money and resources. There is 16 PC enemies altogether and about 80 maps (citation needed), so with such diversity there is also an option to play your own game, where the player chooses the map, their allies and adversaries as well as everyone's money and resources. Computer opponents are also quite diverse: 6 Arab and 10 Crusader leaders, each of whom has different castles, different tactics, different personalities, and there's a lot to the game to keep you interested long enough.
In addition to Skirmish trails, one can play historical campaigns. They're based on specific historical periods and events during the Crusades. They are there to teach the player the game. The first campaign teaches the fundamentals of the economy, defense and siege. The second campaign teaches the player how to use unique Arab units. The third campaign the player learns to defend themselves against them, and the fourth campaign is already full-on Skirmish mode. In the first three campaigns the player doesn't have the Skirmish mode freedom because they either defend against attacks at certain intervals, while trying to achieve some goal (Defend Antioch! Gather 300 loaves of bread!, and the like), while they often don't have access to all buildings - or they get a certain number of soldiers with which to conquer a city. This is exactly why a lot of people find these campaigns boring, tedious and difficult. In a sense they are right. These campaigns are fine, but cumbersome unlike the rest of the game. The game also includes a mode of free castle building without enemies, map editor and LAN multiplayer for 8 players.
Crusader Extreme added a bar of (super)powers, which fills up slowly and over time unlocks the abilities for your use - such as rain of arrows or rocks on a specific place on the map. It also added military outposts - buildings that relatively slowly generate troops for free. This allows all PC adversaries to be stronger than normal - for example the Rat, the weakest adversary, suddenly gets a huge army of swordsmen, pikemen, horse archers and seven catapults - and they're coming for you!
Overall, I think that Stronghold: Crusader is an excellent game. Fun and fast paced with minor weak points and bugs, which can be overlooked. 9/10
PS: The Steam version doesn't cooperate with Steam firefly fix pls
Publicada: 27 outubro 2013