If a survey were to be conducted among Polish players in their thirties, Fortress or Fortress: the Crusader would be in the forefront of the most remembered strategies. The real-time strategies (RTS) produced at the beginning of the 21st century by FireFly have their followers to this day, although it is of course a much smaller group than fans of Gothic or Heroes III. It cannot be denied that the first installments of the series did the greatest job, as was the case with, for example, Jagged Alliance. Along with successive titles published, Twierdza was in the following years better or worse, but average. The breakthrough, but in this negative sense, was Stronghold 3, which was a painful blow for the fans. Firefly was later reflected in the release of the HD edition for both of the best Strongholds and the Stronghold Crusader II, which, although it did not start from its predecessor, was at least virulent. At this point, following the historical background, we can move on to Stronghold: Warlords, which had its premiere this month. The series changes its location on the world map – we are heading definitely East – the campaigns in the new Fortress will take us from ancient China to the Mongol empire and the times of the shogunate. Where did this change come from? Although I do not know it, there was no sudden, great fascination with these cultures at the FireFly headquarters. A glance at the available language versions on Steam and everything is clear – the desire to interest players from the huge Chinese and Japanese market. Creative Assembly transferred Total War well to the Age of the Three Kingdoms, should FireFly be successful too?
The fortress: Lords of War initially surprises quite positively – there are as many as 31 missions divided into 5 campaigns, one of which is the fan-liked economic campaign. Each mission has different starting conditions. Goals are often repeated, of course, but the resources available are not. Sometimes it also happens that we will not build a single building in a given mission, which adds freshness to the campaign, and I liked it very much. However, a large part of the game revolves around certain rules specific to the series. We produce food, we build housing – so we bring peasants to our fortresses. They will not leave her until they are satisfied. Their happiness (and in fact ours as well) depends on taxation, food and shelter. Other key resources in the game are wood, stone and iron, thanks to them we can build most of the buildings and collect the weapons necessary to defeat the opponent or defend the fortress. The aforementioned economic campaign is nothing more than a classic from the previous editions.These missions are quite difficult, because usually the initial conditions of a given location (types of deposits, terrain) force you to adapt mainly to them, and do not give you the opportunity to play any but effective supply chains. Of the more interesting things – the player can choose whether he wants to rule his subjects through fear or admiration. We can build, for example, theaters, operas and gardens or stocks and torture chairs. Different approaches provide their own bonuses, for example to productivity, and work well in the game itself.
Read also: Expeditions: Rome review.
Stronghold: Warlords, like other scenes, focuses on sieges. Here, both in defense and in attack, we have a number of options to choose from. When it comes to defense, of course, the surrounding of each tower and gate with a mass of archers can work wonders. Defensive missions are much easier thanks to the stupid AI that attacks us without any hesitation and pushes straight into our snares. If we add ballista, cages with tigers, etc. to our defense, we can leave the computer for several minutes and do something completely different. However, the game gains when we are the aggressor. The approach to the enemy’s castle, collecting the appropriate army and siege machines is quite pleasant. For this, the title ruler can help us.
And here we come to the point where it is necessary to explain who and what they are for. In addition to our and the enemy’s fortress, there are also other, smaller fortresses managed by other rulers. If we defeat their army, we occupy a given bridgehead, and this will be useful, for example, as a base for an attack on the main base. However, not only that, because a given ruler can provide us with some resources (usually stone, wood, or, for example, horses) or enlist his own army, which will automatically attack the enemy headquarters. You can also convince the rulers by using diplomacy points. Then we do not have to waste time and army on skirmishes, and the army that the ruler had at the beginning of the game is our ally and the enemy must struggle to defeat it.
Although I consider the idea to be hit and generally it works, it has one disadvantage. In some missions, I spent most of my time scuffling with the AI about the rulers. Throughout the mission, I had to switch to diplomacy windows and drag warlords to my side instead of focusing on building an army. The mission dragged on forever.
What after the campaign? You can try your hand at multiplayer mode, fight the AI in Skirmish mode, or build your own stronghold in the so-called free building. Fun in the Fortress: Lords of War is therefore for several dozen hours, if you like this genre and this, it cannot be hidden, specific series.This is not the best strategy in the last dozen or so months, I will easily find a few better ones, but I can consider the return of the Stronghold successful. For fans of the series there is this essence, and the ruler system may be liked and should be continued with some adjustments. An exhaustive campaign, interesting atmosphere, dubbing, a variety of modes – there is something to like for the new Fortress.