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Stronghold 2

Platform(s): PC
Genre: Strategy
Publisher: Take 2/Global Star
Developer: Firefly Studios

About Judy

As WP's senior editor, I edit review and preview articles, attempt to keep up with the frantic pace of Rainier's news posts, and keep our reviewers on deadline, which is akin to herding cats. When I have a moment to myself and don't have my nose in a book, I like to play action/RPG, adventure and platforming games.

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'Stronghold 2' - Kingmaker Mode

by Judy on Jan. 19, 2005 @ 8:24 a.m. PST

Stronghold 2 is the third installment of the Stronghold franchise. The original Stronghold was the first and only game to combine a castle SIM with siege-warfare RTS. Stronghold 2 will be the first to bring the franchise to 3D. Players will be able to build and develop numerous types of castles and defenses while watching their peasants go about their every day lives. Players will see medieval life in all its forms from festivals and jousts to drunken wenches serving their lord dinner. Players will also be given more control over the strategic aspect of the game.
Kingmaker mode is an extension of the Skirmish mode Firefly Studios introduced in Stronghold: Crusader. In the Skirmish mode of Crusader, players would build up their castle and then attack their neighbors in an attempt to crush and destroy the opposition. In Stronghold 2, Kingmaker continues this delightful concept, but takes it to the next level.

In Kingmaker, the map is divided up into estates. There are two kinds of these territories: village estates, and castle estates. Village estates can be purchased by spending honor points, which you earn by "living like a lord." So when you do things like hold feasts and jousts, have a wife or attend church, you earn this new resource called honor.

When you add a new estate to your empire, any resources created by that territory get sent back to your main castle via a carter (sent from a Carter's Post, one of the new buildings in Stronghold 2). Smaller village estates are quite useful for setting up external farms, leaving the space within your castle walls free to be used for your war making apparatus. Castle estates are huge structures that are equal to your own, initial castle, and must be taken by force.

So in Kingmaker, you will fight for complete domination of a map, acquiring and losing territories as you fight it out with either computer-controlled or human opponents (up to eight people can play in Stronghold 2 multiplayer matches).

The other new component of Kingmaker is the ability to spend your honor points on promotions. Promotions are Stronghold's take on the "ages" concept from other strategy games. You begin the game as a lowly Freeman, but can advance through the ranks up to a Squire, Knight, Knight Errand, Duke, and eventually become a full-fledged King. Advancing in ranks gives you access to new buildings and units, but where Stronghold 2 differs from other strategy games is that your existing units stay the same.

So in other words, an Archer created by a Squire is the same as an Archer created by a King. So if you want to stop spending your honor points on promotions early on and instead concentrate on acquiring more territories and building up a huge army, you can opt for that instead. It's entirely up to the player.

Territories and promotions will be available in both the regular campaign and Kingmaker mode. The primary difference there is that in the regular campaign, you can't advance any higher than Duke, as there already is a king (and he's perfectly happy in that role thank you very much).

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