This is a long review, so look for the game you are most interested in and read from there. Stronghold Collection Information:
Firefly studios finally does it again with The Stronghold Collection. Well as you can tell from the product description this pack includes: Stronghold, Stronghold 2, Stronghold Crusader, Stronghold Crusader Extreme, and Stronghold Legends. Stronghold and Stronghold Crusader both have patches that make them HD (1080p), so buying this pack essentially gets you both those games in HD without having to buy them individually. So essentially for an additional $4.00 you can get Stronghold 2 and Stronghold Legends (as Stronghold HD is $4.99 and Stronghold Crusader HD is $9.99)Stronghold 1:
Stronghold is the first in the Stronghold Series. It offers the introduction of castle simulation with managing villagers, food supply (apples, cheese, wheat, meat), resources (timber, stone, pitch, and iron), products (armor, weapons, etc.), religion, and taxes. You can build a market and trade for these resources if you are low in order to create an army without having to have mass production of every asset. Stronghold offers a riveting campaign revolving around a young man who takes vengeance on his father by defeating each of his foes. The campaign is fun, but at some points can be near impossible. Luckily this is an old game so if you need to you can cheat without any penalty. The missions are fun, and each require you to focus on different strategies.Hint: Remember you can adjust gameplay speed mid mission, I would recommend doing this at the start of each level till you've got your desired castle layout. Then slowly bringing the speed up to max speed when you know you have got the victory.
+Fun castle management system
+intelligent resource management system
+Wide unit diversity.
-Poor unit movement
-Eventual population cap because cost to keep food inflowing is too high
-Siege missions can be so tough you are required to cheat
-No skirmish mode. Stronghold 2:
Stronghold 2 is the point where Firefly made a huge mistake. This is not because I just wanted the same game as Stronghold 1, but rather because this is a prime example when a game maker has a great concept but executes wrong in every way. The campaign is divided into two sections: Peace and War.
Firstly the Peace Campaign, well it’s terrible. In this campaign you are not a knight, and you must earn knighthood by living like a lord. You must create a stable town and create required goods which change for each mission. Each mission is on the same map, but in a different town. This sounds smart, but you essentially lose most of your progress between each town. You can build in the other towns, but you do not share pooled resources. So in each new town you own you must construct timber mills, farms, and so forth in order to maintain that village. Then you must build trade posts in order to trade resources from that village to your village. You cannot change taxes offer any real control on the mood of the villagers (so once they get upset it’s almost impossible to make them happy again). Some of the missions are timed, so you must do all this very quickly. This can be infuriating especially with banqueting goods, which can take for ages to accumulate even with a village full of banqueting production facilities. Similar to Stronghold 1 I highly recommend you put a lot of effort in controlling game speed. As some missions every millisecond counts and you will need to not only destroy your entire village to meet the demands of the mission, but you must do it quickly and efficiently.
Secondly the War Campaign, it’s not too bad. You play as Matthew Steele a page to Sir William, and your mission is to take down The Hammer, The Hawk, The Bull, and Olaf traitors to the king. In this campaign you are given the choice to turn against the king or side with him after the fourth mission. This choice you open up four missions for the path of good or the path of evil. This means if you want to beat the game completely you need to beat the fourth mission twice so you can choose both the good and evil path. Similar to the Peace Campaign each map has multiple villages which you can capture by sending units to the town flag. If you capture a village you can use it to help gather resources more efficiently. This is an interesting concept although still is lacking because you can capture a village, build it up, and lose in in a few seconds because the enemy has swooped in with an army. Switching the village to their side and allowing them all the work that you did, making the villages essentially giant wastes of time. Hint: On the fourth mission I would recommend building a beyond measurable army as you lose your castle to an ally, so if your army isn't ridiculously big then you won't be able to win the mission.
+Interesting war campaign
+Military units are a lot quicker to build and can be built larger numbers
+Ownership of multiple townships means you don't need to overpopulate your home village for resource needs
+Better unit mapping allows for smoother movements
+No maps require cheating unlike in the first one.
-Too many goods you need to produce (banqueting just seems excessive)
-Most units require honor so if you don't have any you can't build an army
-Graphics are considerably bad in comparison to the first one
-The voice acting is just awful
-This one has not been bumped to HD (1080p)
-The peaceful campaign is just plain awful
-Still no scenarios
-Firefly got rid of The Rat, The Snake, The Pig, and The Wolf.Stronghold Crusader & Stronghold Crusader Extreme:
Stronghold Crusader is most commonly referred to as the best Stronghold from the series. This game is based around crusades (obvious from the title) and involves playing in a whole new landscape with brilliant new features. Stronghold Crusader offers different types of castles Arabic or European and introduces a whole new Skirmish mode.
Skirmish mode brings whole new life to the Stronghold series. No longer are you limited by the campaign system, instead you can play in matches against AI where you both build castles and try to take the other one down. The skirmish mode can be played with up to eight players (I believe) on various sized maps. There are sixteen different characters each with varying tactics and difficulty curves. Our fabled original villains The Rat, The Snake, The Pig, and The Wolf return in this triumphant sequel. The other characters include: The Marshall, The Abbot, King Phillip, The Lionheart, Emperor Frederick, The Sultan, The Caliph, The Nizar, The Wazir, The Emir, and Saladin.
+16 Different characters with varying tactics and difficulties to play against.
+Middle Eastern environments and limitations (farms can only be built on oasis)
+Newly introduced mercenary camp
+Traditional campaign offers a fun story with practice for the skirmish mode
+HD (1080p) resolution
-Mercenary units can defeat the point of actually building units (the archers from mercenary barracks are just as good as the archers you build – based on the cost and amount of effort required to get them).
-The maps can be rather small and thus not offer much room to really expand a kingdom.Stronghold Legends:
Well I haven’t beat or even played Stronghold Legends. This game is next on my list, so I will update this review with information regarding this game after I beat it.