This game is really worthless! And everyone seems to think so...including me:
You may play a feudal lord in Stronghold 3, but the tedious micromanagement and bugs make you feel like a peasant.
- Atmospheric music
- Patches are gradually stomping bugs and adding in needed game features.
- Slow-paced, repetitive scenarios
- Terrible tutorial leaves many key game concepts unexplained
- Buggy and prone to crashes
- Shallow combat and sieges.
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 waiting and watching than constructing a Middle Ages empire. What could have been a good city builder has been buried under this design flaw, not to mention other serious issues with bugs, mission repetition, a tutorial that doesn't do much tutoring, and simplistic combat.
Like its predecessors, Stronghold 3 is a real-time strategy game where you play as a lord attempting to build a happy little hamlet in the Middle Ages. It's all about the peasants, who need to be lured in with things like fair tax rates and then kept happy with jobs gathering and processing resources, reasonably plentiful food like apples and bread, and a half-decent standard of living without too much plague killing everybody off and blighting crops. The basic structure of the game mirrors traditional city builders going right back to the Caesar and Pharaoh franchises that developer Impressions created back in the '90s. The story recalls the original Stronghold, with the game picking up the tale of a boy battling traitors to seek revenge for the overthrow of his father, the previous king. Apparently impalement did not rid the world of the archvillain, the Wolf, at the end of the first game in the franchise, so he returns a decade later looking to even the score.
The modes of play have been broken up into two semi-linked single-player campaigns, one that focuses primarily on the economy in getting a kingdom rolling again (although you do have to battle a few menaces) and a more military-centered one that places war against the Wolf and his troops on the front burner, while still forcing you to keep the economy rolling back at home. Historical one-off scenarios are also on offer, featuring a handful of brutally unfair (and quick) castle sieges where you take on spectacular numbers of enemy troops whether you are attacking or defending. Free Build is a sandbox option where you build the medieval shantytown of your dreams without any goals or guidelines. Deathmatch and King of the Hill multiplayer games are available as well, although nobody seems to be playing online, and the game currently lacks popular options from previous Stronghold games, such as Kingmaker and Skirmish.
Gameplay is problematic across the board. For starters, bugs show up early and often. The game seems to have a serious problem with graphics-switching hardware on laptops. It refused to start on our test Dell system with both onboard visuals and a high-powered video card that more than matched the system requirements, providing nothing but a "Failed to initialize the engine" error on every launch attempt. Only manually adding a command to a config file got the game running, and then only in a window that occasionally started up with a mouse cursor issue that made it impossible to accurately point at anything. Crashes also take place on a regular basis. The game has a habit of fainting to the desktop out of the blue, particularly after you have been playing a mission for a considerable amount of time (save early, save often). All of these problems come with little in the way of reward. Nothing pushes the envelope when it comes to graphics or sound. Visuals are muddy and bland, with few details on the constricted maps. Story cutscenes are dressed up with black-and-white drawings that look more like rough storyboards than finished artwork. Sound is unmemorable save for a striking musical score that includes minstrel odes with a singer who comes off a bit like '70s-era Gordon Lightfoot. These tunes will linger long after you've forgotten the game.
Even when Stronghold 3 runs properly, it doesn't run well. The first problem you encounter is the lack of a thorough tutorial. While there is an interactive tutorial, it stops abruptly after just a few minutes, leaving virtually all of the game's core features and building functions completely unexplained. As a result, you go into the campaigns with no knowledge of how the game's economics function. So you often need to call up the in-game help for advice on why stone quarries aren't functioning or how to deal with pesky apple crop blight. Granted, there isn't anything completely out of left field, but some tips would be much appreciated, especially regarding the production line for resources. Because there are multiple steps for everything--making bread, for instance, requires a stop at a farm, storehouse, windmill, bakery, and granary--you need some help, especially when it comes to keeping all of your buildings close together to avoid lengthy production delays.
This game is really worthless! And everyone seems to think so...including me:
Hmmm It seems Mr Todd simply doesn't like the Stronghold style. He should play some other game if the concept of wheat turning into bread in a three step process scares him. Obviously he thinks it grows in packets on a supermarket shelf and cant process the idea that a game has tried to be realistic. It's a very intuitive game with few hidden game changing options not much need from a tutorial required. I wonder what Mr Todd would have to say about the likes of the Hearts of Iron series for example. Something along the lines of "So Impossible it's not worth buying Rating of 2"?
I love RTS games.... especially.. Stronghold crusader .... and Extreme ....
stronghold 2 ....can pass in "good" because "skirmish mode"...... and I even play Stronghold Kingdoms (it's excellent game)... and When I heard that STRONGHOLD 3 is coming.....I was thrilled.... I watched every video.... watched every image about the game.... and have been thinking.... mmmm skirmish mode, new enemy lords new maps.... and :(( .... I hope that you will make future extensions to the old system like Stronghold or crusader or Extreme .... With more maps, enemy lords .... new buildings ..... new armys .... and buildings for honor ... like in Kingdoms .... you know every building in Kingdoms... new honor army... i dont know " Stronghold crusader 2" i think more guys will agree with me.....""old system but in new form""
good luck with the new extension...
gs reviewers never liked stronghold, they too dumb to understand. this game is amazing, best strategy game ever, as all previous strongholds (cept 2). i am just starting to play stronghold3, im in the 4th or 5th mission, so far its good... only thing i dont like or thats its kind of annoying to select a unit to attack to, im looking for a patch maybe that will fix it.
NO skirmish mode and full of bugs not to mention slow and boring ,the physics are a joke ,i got it for free and deleted it an hour later.....no lan or skirmish mode = failure/bankrupt......even the campaign is stupidly boring and online is slow....
you screwd the pooch firefly !.........bummer i loved Crusader....
wow why gamespot complains it has steep learning curve? there is nothing wrong with that unless they are really dumb. perhaps games didn't have point for the bad side lol
the original stronghold is by far my favorite rts game. i wasnt a fan of crusader at all and thats the last one i played other than the free-to-play online one which was horrible. im sure ill give 3 a shot when it drops in price.
i wonder what command line needed to add to the config file???i have the same "Failed to initialize the engine" error. i guess it has st to do with the nvidia graphic card.