reviews\ Nov 28, 2006 at 7:00 pm

Stronghold Legends - PC - Review

The classic castle simulation that the Stronghold series was founded on has had castle building fans creating fortifications that would rival any medieval architect, and now has added yet another title to their list of accolades with Stronghold Legends. Sure many of the same features found in previous games are still prevalent but now added twist of heroes and fantasy are thrown into the fray.

Play as heroes from three unique races – King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table, Count Vlad Dracula, and Siegfried of Germany. Each faction has a list of special units specific to each alignment. All have special abilities that can wreak havoc on an opposing enemy. These special abilities take time to wield so plan your attacks carefully. In addition to special units there are plenty of military units of men such as pike men, crossbowman, swordsman, knights, etc along with siege equipment like catapults, laddermen, ballistas, battle rams, etc.

Stronghold fans will surely notice more units including 100% more siege equipment and castle traps but the biggest change is the added Heroes and Fantasy type units like Frost Giants, Dragons, Hellhounds and Werewolves. Three alignments to choose from are Arthur, Evil, and Ice. All have unique units and buildings with some special abilities to aid in your growth of your empire.

What is the biggest difference (good or bad) with Stronghold Legends is that the focus has turned from more of a castle simulation to a more traditional fantasy RTS. Sure, you still build the basic infrastructure to keep your population healthy and start to assemble the components of a strong army, but mainly the focus is on the end result of epic battles and destroying the enemy. Yes, we have seen this before in earlier versions of the game, but now with the added Hero units and special devastating affects they posses, you can plainly see that more emphasis is on war rather than building a pretty castle.

Overall the game is still fun though I have not been a true fan of Hero type games. Yes, you can still have fun building castles, watching your peasants gather food, chop wood to make weapons and take part in some pretty cool looking battles. But unless you really are into more of a fantasy-type game riddled with dragons and magic this may not be for you. The map editor allows for vast creativity so you develop and share your new creations with friends once the maps that come with the game get a bit boring. This along with the multiplayer ability will surely add a longer shelf life.

Review Scoring Details for Stronghold Legends

Gameplay: 6.5
This is set up like most traditional RTS games. The tutorial does a beautiful job of talking through the basics of the game. Furthermore the colorful manual spells out everything in great detail to aid you in becoming the ruler of all lands. Battles are not as easily fought with somewhat poor AI and the added fantasy elements of the game take away from the original castle building strong points of the game

Graphics: 6.8
Though this is truly the best-looking Stronghold game to date, the game still looks dated compared to other PC titles with the latest graphic engines. The 3D view of the game can be swung around to different angles that provide a 360-degree playing field that can be zoomed in and out on.

Sound: 6.8
Sound quality is good and trouble free. Great sound effects and decent musical score accompany the game but there are still an overabundance of voice-overs that are very repetitive.

Difficulty: Medium
Different difficulty levels can challenge even the best of players. Multiplayer is where the true challenge lies.

Concept: 6.0
I have been a fan of the stronghold line of games but was a bit disappointed with the added fantasy elements of the game. I understand the developers were trying to add more content but I think it was a bit over done. I would have welcomed another enhanced version of the previous games without the hero abilities and stayed with the focus of building better unique castles with some new units.

Multiplayer: 7.0
MP is supported on both LAN and the Internet, although only up to four players can play at one time it still can be quite fun. Multiplayer games include a challenging skirmish mode, Deathmatch, CTF, and King of the Hill.

Overall: 6.8
The Castle building elements though on the back burner are still an important part of the game. I was disappointed to see the developers add the fantasy elements, which threw me a bit once I started playing. The game is still entertaining and with the map editor and online play I still feel this is a decent game.

Above Average

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