I am writing this review because I think there are too much negative reviews about the game.
I wouldn't say this game is bad, although in many aspects, it is not what we are used to have in other Stronghold games. It does have some bugs, and the one that is most common is troops stuck when you place a new buildings near them, and similar stuff... Still, same thing was happening in Crusader 1 and Stronghold 1 as well, with exception that in Crusader 1 this unit would disappear, or remain stuck on wall crenelation until the player does something to set him free.
Also, many complain how they cannot play with massive armies in multiplayer... Why do we need to play with so many troops? Can we play with smaller troops? We would make some smaller castles, and attack each other earlier with less troops... In the end - it is the same if me and my opponent have 50, or 500 troops. Still, I must admit that I wasn't playing it in multiplayer much, and those games I started - I did face the lag, but I cannot say I have some powerful computer, so I do assume that is the reason why I had those problems. For this reason I decided to play only multiplayer games 1v1 on smaller maps, but it doesn't have to do much with the game itself - it's because of my PC... Also, I hope that we should be able to play multiplayer games with less troops and less buildings, and still, to have the fun. :) In fact, that is another challenge! Try to make your economy efficient as much as possible with less buildings. :)
The other thing about Stronghold 3 is the fact that I was reading some reviews before buying Stronghold 3, and I knew there wouldn't be skirmish, and I knew there are still those bugs - so I got the game with low expectations. :) So, when I got the game, I was only looking at those good things of the game, and still, there are more good parts, and those bad ones.
Nevertheless, it is not an excuse, and I am also sad that Firefly gave up this game, and that they didn't work on it a little more to fix those few remaining bugs.
I would also like to add that it is Stronghold 3 in which Firefly introduced some new interesting things such as: building walls in all possible directions, and putting any buildings wherever I want and rotate it however I want; special abilities of some troops, such as men at arms: they made spearmen more useful this way, etc... Also, I like it more how a castle looks in Stronghold 3 than how it looks in other Stronghold games - here castles are more natural, but that is only a matter of taste I guess.
Among those new stuff I do dislike how they made troops just leave the barracks - peasants do not need to walk to the barracks... This is something that could be exploited even in some campaign missions! I also dislike how they made the siege camps just like in Stronghold 2. One doesn't need to bring the engineers (and to protect them from the enemy) to construct mass of catapults in the middle of nowhere.
I only want to say that besides its bad reputation Stronghold 3 is not that bad as they say - it is a good game, and we do have to admit that with this game Firefly gave us something new! I am sure that if the game wasn't published too early, they would have done it way better.
1. there would be less things to be fixed in patches, and
2. Stronghold fans wouldn't be so much driven away from the game after their first impressions, although it is bad that Stronghold 3 doesn't offer skirmish mode. (I guess that they had though/hoped it would be as good to us as Stronghold 1 was without skirmish mode, but in year 2011 we were expecting nothing less that a game with skirmish mode.)
Sadly, that bad reputation Stronghold 3 got was almost certainly the reason why they gave up Stronghold 3, and why they left some more things to be fixed... Even if they made a perfect game afterwards, little people would get it. Little people would be playing it, there wouldn't be much of those who would recommend it to someone, little people would be buying it...
Still, even though I am recommending this game, my advice would be: don't get this game with high expectations, and still, you should have fun playing it. :) Also, I don't think it is worth 27,99€ - don't rush when buying it, you should be able to find a retail version for less, or you could wait from some sale at Steam, and to get it for less money.