Developer: Firefly Studios
Ten years have passed since the first Stronghold title challenged us to create our own towers of power, and after a few mixed sequels, Firefly Studios has finally delivered a new iteration of the beloved franchise. Sadly, it seems that the fans' long wait, patience and love has not gone unpunished.
On the face of it, Stronghold 3 is business as usual. Starting out with little more than a barren swamp and a thatched cottage, it's up to players to attract an army of peasants, task them with collecting resources and eventually create a shining beacon of civilisation in the barren wilderness. What follows is an interesting balance between keeping your populace happy and keeping them safe; using a selection of food and resource buildings to create a thriving infrastructure while building fortifications and troops to defend your holdings from ravenous wolves and jealous rival lords. Plague outbreaks and famines are just as dangerous as full-scale sieges, and just as nuanced to defeat. Two distinct singleplayer campaigns provide a focus on warfare and economic expansion, whilst a relaxing free-build mode and prefabricated siege scenarios are on hand to offer some out-of-the-box fun. Plus, Stronghold 3 has a catapult that can be loaded with livestock. What's not to like?
It's a familiar framework, and one that should have been perfectly suited to countless hours of freeform fun. After all, as any original Stronghold, Sim City or even Tiberium Sun player will attest, there's a huge amount of satisfaction to be gleaned from raising a successful citadel out of the muck and ruins. But depressingly, Stronghold 3 falls at the simplest of hurdles: the gameplay just doesn't work at all. It's broken, bad... or more likely both.Click here to read more...