Summary: 2001's Stronghold was a very good, and very European game. Finally you could build up an entire castle from the ground up, man the walls with your units, and manage the feudal economy to support all of it. It was the kind of game they go nuts over in countries like Germany, but thankfully it became pretty popular all over the world.
Excerpt: Some of the greatest disappointments in life are born out of high expectations. In the case of Stronghold, a franchise rightfully beloved for being an outlet for all of those childhood fantasies of building forts and repelling the forces of darkness, years of waiting have built expectation to a fever pitch.
Pros: Designing giant castles, Large selection of buildings and units, Massive sieges
Excerpt: Being a fan of the Stronghold series, I waited a long time to see Stronghold 3 come to light. And I waited a long while to write this review too, hoping that all the patches would fix the many issues this game has. But I had to realize that no amount of patching would fix the problems Stronghold 3 has with its core gameplay. This is not a terrible game, but it's frustrating because it could have been so, so much better than it is.
Conclusion: I was particularly looking forward to Stronghold 3 , so much so I requested the review months ago, and I still find it difficult to believe that Firefly have so spectacularly fouled things up. Firefly have promised to fix some of these issues, and there’s potentially a very fun game in here somewhere. But to release it in this sorry state, to charge £30 for a fundamentally broken game and a few promises, is frankly insulting to their fanbase.
Excerpt: Noted poet Thomas Earl Petty once told us that the waiting is the hardest part, a lesson that is painfully taught once again in Stronghold 3. The Firefly Studios game of medieval micromanagement may have been a long time coming, since Stronghold 2 was released back in 2005, but despite the years since and the opportunity to do something different, Stronghold 3 sticks close to its predecessor's template, offering up more slow-moving gameplay that sees you doing more...
Pros: Atmospheric music, Patches are gradually stomping bugs and adding in needed game features
Cons: Slow-paced, repetitive scenarios, Terrible tutorial leaves many key game concepts unexplained, Buggy and prone to crashes, Shallow combat and sieges
Summary: While the game was touted as a return to the roots of the original Stronghold, as demanded by the fans after the perceived failure of Stronghold 2, its buggy game play and balance issues make it a crumbling ruin rather than the stronghold it was promised to be.
Conclusion: I think the continuation of the story might have wanted to show us the characters’ growth throughout the series, however, the gameplay really fell short for me and the story was a bit disconnected. I found that this game was boring at times and I needed to just walk away from the keyboard just to get through a mission or two. I thought I would’ve been more engaged in both campaigns, but I felt that both modes were pretty bland.
Summary: Stronghold 3 has fantastic features — including night time battles, an improved multiplayer, cutting-edge physics and a stunning graphics engine — that ensure old and new fans alike experience a gritty slice of medieval life.