developer: FireFly Studios
publisher: Take 2 Interactive
Game mode: single / multiplayer
Multiplayer mode: local network / Internet, players: 1 - 4
game language: English
game release date for PC:
Stronghold Legends is an enhanced, remastered, and extensively modified version of the second installment of the series for PC. Although it largely bases on the technical achievements of its predecessors and is not a full-fledged sequel (the developers compare it to Stronghold: Crusader), it canít be accused of being repetitive in terms of content. It is more than just a standalone add-on. The developers decided to partly abandon the economic aspect, mainly by simplifying the economy management and the system of castle building. Instead, theyíve put bigger emphasis on increasing the gameís dynamics, introducing revolutionary fantasy elements, and expanding the combat layer. This time around, it is more of a classical real-time strategy game rather than a castle management simulator.
The eponymous legends are the biggest highlight of Stronghold Legends. The first and the most extensive campaign spans the history of King Arthur, including the most important characters and events that are connected to this hero. We have an opportunity to learn the story of the brave Knights of the Round Table, visit the majestic Camelot, take part in the search of the Holy Grail, and even exchange words with Merlin, testing his supposed magical abilities.
The second campaign is devoted to one of the most important hero of the Nordic mythology, Sigurd Fafnesbane. Itís not hard to guess that we will mostly see snow-covered mountain landscapes, and the place of ordinary stone castles will be taken by ice fortresses governed by evil warlocks, ice giants, and other icy creatures.
The third grand legend is based on the legend of Vlad Dracula, the historic conqueror of the Ottoman Turks and mythical adept of ďdark artsĒ. Itís not hard to guess that the appearance of his court does not encourage unannounced visits, and the impaled scalps are its primary decoration.
The artists that worked on the game made sure that the stronghold of every major character has a unique look and furnishing. For example, King Arthurís mansion resembles a medieval castle of fairy tales, while the armed apartment of Dracula is full of stone gargoyles or caged dragons that willingly burn unwelcome guests.
From among other castle defense systems, underground tunnels, traps, dragon harpoons, and ice mirrors are the most noteworthy. Managing the administrative and economic aspects was partly automatized, letting the player focus on more interesting tasks. Every legendary ruler has a characteristic resource (for example, Draculaís poultry farms or Sigurdís fishing airhole) that additionally enriches the gameplay.
There are also novelties in the combat layer. First and foremost, the previously unavailable kinds of units: air and magical ones. Some troops can now destroy castle walls again. The game also features a number of thematic units that correspond to the game world which makes the gameplay more atmospheric. Some efforts were made to encourage players to play aggressively ó the new resource, the so-called Glory points, can be turned into buildings that increase honor. Glory points can only be earned by engaging in brave and uncompromising combat. Moreover, the designers tried to balance the power of bowmen, making their overall performance somewhat weaker by, among other things, introducing units that offer skills that are incredibly useful against ranged opponents. For example: the vampiric creeper who is immune to arrows.
Stronghold Legends for PC is powered by the enhanced version of the Stronghold 2 engine. Among technical novelties, the most noteworthy ones are shadows generated in real-time and the new particle system that visibly improves the visual experiences related to fantasy creatures or magical effects. The editor was also reworked and received a new user interface. Finally, the multiplayer mode was expanded. It now features the restored King of the Hill, the tried Capture the Flags, and the original war for resources (the first player to gather a given amount of resources wins). It is worth noting that the Legends still retains realism since it is still a very important element of the game, despite the introduction of many borrowings from the world of legends and myths.
Game score 5.865 / 10 calculated out of 1893 players' votes.
Expectations before the premiere: 8.6 / 10 calculated out of 15 players' votes.
PC / Windows
Recommended: Pentium 4 2 GHz, 512 MB RAM, graphic card 128MB (Geforce3 or better), 2.5 GB HDD, Windows 2000/XP