The release of Stronghold: Warlords was delayed twice, but tomorrow another installment of the popular strategy game series will finally hit Steam. But was it worth waiting extra months for the return of the Stronghold series? As usual, the answer is brought by the first reviews.
Stronghold: Warlords - selected review scores:
- Gamepressure - 8.5/10
- TechRaptor - 8.5/10
- The Gamer - 4/5
- PCGamesN - 7.5/10
- IGN - 7/10
- Screen Rant - 3.5/5
- Cultured Vultures - 6/10
As you can see, there aren't many scores (at least at the time of writing this message), but they are remarkably consistent. Stronghold: Warlords is a very old-school strategy game, despite the novelties introduced by the devs. We're talking about diplomacy and the titular warlords, who provide our kingdom with valuable military or economic bonuses. Before that, however, we have to recruit them, either by force or with the help of diplomacy points, which we also use to command our vassal (for example, to send resources or troops). For most reviewers, it was an interesting diversification, although no one claimed that it was a revolution.
This last statement sums up most of the complaints about the new Stronghold. Reviewers point out that Warlords has more in common with titles from at least a dozen years ago than with modern RTSs. Of course, this can be seen as an advantage, especially if we are fans of the series. The story campaign (or campaigns, rather) is characterized by a fairly high level of difficulty. Yes, successive missions - as in many other real-time strategies - can be considered a follow up to the tutorial, but thanks to the varied objectives there is no boredom here.
As for the audiovisuals, they're just like the rest of the game: solid and eye-catching, but at the end of the day, the word "archaic" stubbornly comes to mind when describing them. Unfortunately, "old-school" may be an advantage in terms of gameplay, but not necessarily in terms of visuals. This is balanced out by the game's technical refinement. Virtually no reviewer mentions any bugs; in fact, some critics saw fit to point out the complete lack of them. The soundtrack is also good.
In conclusion, Stronghold: Warlords is not a revolution, but it's still a decent real-time strategy. If we can forgive the look to the past or are even looking for an old-school RTS, we might want to consider a trip to China with Firefly Studios' game. Considering how the previous installment of Stronghold turned out, it should be considered as the developer's success.