By RelentlessKnight 1 Comments
Recently, I have not been playing any recent games since Crysis 2 and Dead Space 2 - Portal 2, LA Noire, Alice: Madness Returns and probably Child of Eden are still on my mind and yet I still didn't have the time to purchase any of these games. Since the Quick Look Throwback of Stronghold, I had been investing time in that game as well as a number of other similar games in that genre. I had been playing Stronghold, SimCity 3000 and Battle for Middle Earth for awhile and had neglected my 360 for awhile though I had been playing some Saints Row 2 here and there. Though I will be only talking about Stronghold today and will keep this blog updated.
The Quick Look Throwback had influenced me to play this game, I really like a Medieval Sim and this may be an excuse to return to RTS games for awhile. I played a couple of missions and currently halfway into the storyline (the mission where you attack The Pig's castle). I am astounded of the resource gathering whlist maintaining your popularity, population and upkeep as well as defending your base from invaders. It's one of these games that I had grown accustomed to and building a fortified castle with archers on the walls and killing pitches and traps everywhere is my ideal choice for base building.
Popularity is one of the big threat in this game, you start with 100% popularity and if it goes below 50% then people start leaving "the castle" and it affects everything around you. There are tons of balances to prevent people to leaving the castle for example; having people pay tax decreases your popularity but balancing it out with more rations from your granary (if you have enough) can benefit you. Though having not merger rations can decrease your popularity. There are also bonuses such like decorations or things that you could increase your popularity, "good things" as they called it such as maypoles, gardens to statues are not only used to decoration your fair city but increase the population's happiness. Churches/Chapels and Inns can also increase it. With that in mind -- when people are coming to your castle, they will eventually start producing or growing in the campfire near your castle/town hall and stay idle until you build resource gathering building such as a Wheat Farm, Quarry to a Well (that could prevent fires) and they will assign to that type of job. Like any RTS games, you are required to build houses/hovels to increase your population and therefore produce more citizens to be assigned to specific jobs. Popularity is indicated in the bottom right corner of your screen with a scribe revealing like a book with your gold upkeep, popularity and population. Like a sim game, you can manage and see your economy, food and military affecting by your popularity as well as a population graph, fear factor (which if you have "bad things" such as a dungeon or a chopping block) and plenty of other things to manage in your kingdom.
The resource gathering like I said before affects our popularity, the more population and popularity you have, the better chance that your economy will flourish and increase. With that in mind, building any building will immediately get assigned by a civilian into farmer or wood-cutter which will go to their destination and automatically start to deliver the resource to the granary or stockpile. When you start a game/mission, your mini map will indicate your resources; by placing a lumber mill near a tree, a person will be assign to that task and will chop wood, making it become lumber and then transfer into the stockpile where it is used to make weapons or just a general resource and any resource is similar to that process. The stockpile is next to your town hall where workers drop off wood, stone, hops to iron which will then transfer into resources used by their perspective buildings. Examples include; hops being transferred to a brewery which will turn into ale and then (if optional) have a inn keeper "roll" the ale keg down to the Inn where it increases happiness and wood/lumber picked up by blacksmiths to craft either a bow, crossbow, spears and such and transfer it to an armory and will become available in the barracks to train units like archers and spearman. It also affects your artillery as stone and "cows" are an asset to your artillery such as trebuckets and catapults are required to have stone (they start around 24 stone) to attack from long-range. Of course when you are required to manned artillery with engineers which will also build siege towers, battering rams and wooden shields.
The process of transferring resources/raw materials into commodities is the reason I love this game - it feels very realistic and unheard of in any to most RTS games and I love this concept.
The granary also acts like a stockpile where farmers transferred their goods such as apples from Apple Farms, Cheese from Dairy Farms and Meat from hunting posts where an assigned hunter kills a deer, turning into eatable meat and placing it on the granary. Such things as Wheat Farms and Hops have a rigorous task on becoming a commodity or food; they both are transferred as wheat hays and hops to the stockpile where it is deliver to the windmill to process into flour which then is turned into bread in the bakery and hops are transfered from the stockpile to a brewery but then delivered back to a stockpile where if you have a Inn, it will be delivered there. Though Dairy Farms which has cows in it can be killed and turned into leather armor to use for macemen and crossbowmen from the armory to the barracks if you have any people in that building.
Aside from your economy, there are tons of base buildings and improving your castle. You could build walls, towers and gates to prevent your invaders from outnumbering you by placing archers, ballista to braizers that archers can use for fire arrows to fend off your attackers. I still think having that privilege of building a strong fortification with archers, artillery, moats and numerous traps and such is overpowered when dealing when you are attacking the fortification, most of the missions I encounter with seizing a castle against moats and archers in mind went poorly because of lack of siege weapons and having required to dig moats when archers are shooting at you doesn't bold well for me.
There is so much I could tell you about Stronghold but there are tons and tons of things that the game has to offer. It's simply a Medival Sim with tons of resource management and stabilizing your economy and castle. It isn't really frantic and too much for me, I feel more compelled to play the game then to talk about it. But the one big thing that I would like to talk about is the constant reminders of your scribe telling you that "you had played too much" or "how about a snack?". When that voice came out of nowhere, I had jumped and shocked that the game knows what time, how much you've been playing and assume that you didn't eat. I was shocked that the game implemented this rare feature that only Civilization and WoW games have - which are both notorious for wasting your time away but its weird that they decided to care for you the gamer to remind you of "how much time you had wasted playing this game" like Civilization and WoW.
This amount of constantly reminding you as a parent figure seems like a interesting small and neat feature in this game and would like to see more of this in other games. Heck even Civilization and WoW doesn't really remind you that you had been playing too long and you had to set the reminder in the game to remind you that you want to stop at this o'clock. Whileas Stronghold doesn't require you to do anything; over through the course of playing the game automatically or the scribe tells you that you had been playing for a long time and assumes and reminds you that "you haven't eaten anything" for awhile. This is another reason why I love Stronghold and small things like this feature makes me wonder why Civ 5 or WoW doesn't have an automated voice or indication that constantly reminds you over X amounts of days that you wasted the whole Sunday off because of the "Next Turn" button prompting you to do so.