Content of the article: "I feel like I don’t get Stronghold Crusader"
Stronghold Crusader (2002) is a standalone expansion to Stronghold by Firefly studios.
I played the original Stronghold when I was young, and I loved it for its depth and its unique gameplay loop: rather than a regular RTS where you build troops and attack, in Stronghold you build a castle and it will get attacked over and over until you win and proceed to the next mission. Surviving the attacks requires careful planning and an ever-changing balance of economy and fortifications, fortifications to minimise your losses with each attack, and economy to replenish and grow your army to fight off stronger attacks, as well as provide food for your peasants to survive and raw materials with which to build more fortifications. All in all, a high tension game that feels ever so rewarding when you finish off that final assault.
Stronghold Crusader has some missions like this, but it feels to me like these campaigns weren't the focus of the game as they're quite short and don't tell much of a story. No, the big part the menu draws you toward is the Crusader trail, a challenge mode of 50 scenarios wherein you play against one or several AIs, each building their own castles. Assaulting castles really isn't Stronghold's strong suit, as I feel the only effective strategy is to build a bunch of trebuchets and blast the enemy walls down without the enemy being able to do anything. Trebuchets are really expensive, but since there's no time limits, you can build an economy as large as you like to support it. It also doesn't help that most of these scenarios take place in a featureless desert and that you can only build food economy on oases; so the best strategy becomes who can control the enemy's oasis makes sure their enemy has to buy food at ludicrous prices and bankrupt themselves. Winning the game feels empty, like you already won an hour ago.
Haven't played a ton of it yet, actually, but this is my experience so far. Am I missing something?
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