After several spin-offs, Stronghold 3 makes a return as the seventh title in the Stronghold series. It is the first game of the series to be published by the new parent company of Gamecock Media Group, Southpeak Games, whereas Take Two Interactive previously published the Stronghold games. It seems that with everything new about Stronghold with this iteration, one thing has stayed the same: the constant move downhill in terms of good gameplay throughout the series.
Stronghold 3 Pros
- Building mechanics: When it comes to designing a castle or a city, the options available are not so bad. In fact, they are rather extensive, permitting players to essentially make whatever they feel like making.
- Economics: Stronghold 2 had terrible economics, but Stronghold 3 seems to have improved on this somewhat. While there is still a tricky balance to maintain, it is not nearly as broken as in the previous game, meaning that losing one important worker will not doom the entire kingdom.
Stronghold 3 Cons
- Building mechanics: The biggest pro of Stronghold 3 comes with a significant con. While it is possible to design whatever castle or city the player has in mind, it is impossible to build where there is currently a worker. This is not an issue at first, but when the population increases immensely and workers come in great numbers, coupled with the fact that workers cannot manually be directed or moved in any way, it makes life very difficult for the architect. It's also questionable whether being able to make any castle or city possible is worth it on such tiny maps.
- Bugs: Many games aren't play tested anymore, and Stronghold 3 is the greatest example of this. It seems like the developer made sure it was barely functional before sending it off for release.
- Poor gameplay: The tutorial is shorted, the AI is terrible, and the unit controls are absolutely dreadful. For a game largely focused on real time combat, the gameplay simply isn't there. For instance, the AI might not even react to direct fire, and the friendly troops will never, ever run to battle. Instead, they will treat it as a leisurely walk, just strolling over at their own pace. Taking too long to get to battle means losing it, which means reloading the map, which means dealing with a desktop crash.
All in all, this game features far too many problems to be worth playing, and the size of the patch needed to fix this is large enough to warrant a Stronghold 4.