Reviews by eRe4s3r

19

Stronghold 3 - A failed revival of a franchise

eRe4s3r | Oct. 26, 2011 | Review of Stronghold 3 Gold

Once upon a time in 1993 there was a game called Stronghold - it revolutioned anything we ever knew about City-Builders because when it came out, it featured unlimited units, huge maps, intelligent economy and a great story and fresh setting.

Fast foward into a new millenia .. a whopping 18 years in the future Firefly tries to reboot the franchise in the form of Stronghold 3. If you read this, no doubt you have already seen my rating. I will explain what is wrong here, this is NOT the reboot of the franchise you want, this is not the game they showed in previews, and talked about even 6 months ago. This might easily be the biggest trolling ever to be seen.

What is wrong with it?

1) About 6 months ago, in all previews they talked about how great the estate and coop system is gonna be, that walls are going to be strong again (no SH1 style grinding them down with swords) ... what we got is this. No COOP (was secretly wiped from the Steam product page). No estate system because the maps are too small to even accomodate 1 castle. No strong walls (they can be hacked apart with swords). But worse of all we got...

2) hundreds of bugs glitches and broken design (see here (LINK) goo.gl/fFMiy )

3) We got the story board thats supposed to be used to make animations sold to us as "Story Animations" yes, black and white drawings with audio. Thats what they call videos nowadays...

4) We got NO Skirmish, which is the staple of Stronghold. We also got no AI support whatsoever in MP

5) We got absolutely no scenarios and a whopping 2 maps for free-build (where you can't trigger invasions)

#Graphics Graphically SH3 uses all modern features you'd expect, but most of them in a way you won't expect. It has dynamic shadows but no dynamic day/night change. It has AO, but it flickers like an epeliptic screensaver. It also has very nice smooth shadows.. and obviously they (the developers) have no idea how their engine works, because buildings often are "see through" for the shadows, that means you got totally broken shadows everywhere. Sometimes a window frame is in the shadow, and thats it.. the shadow of a mighty armory consists of 2 bars.

It has "Procedural Destruction" for walls (only stone walls) - that looks nice, but sadly the building system for walls is VERY glitchy and cumbersome. Units look OK, but you can't zoom in close enough (and thats a good thing, because everything is fairly low-resolution). Generally speaking, the graphics are OK, but they are also kind of broken.. just like the rest of the game.

It also has weather effects, which are non-dynamic and strictly scripted for each mission. The rain particularly looks very 1990 with no "running water" shader on surfaces like many other games have them nowadays.

#Audio There is games where after playing for 5 hours you wonder whether your speakers are broken.. this is one of these games. The music is muted by default which is already fairly funny. The effects are badly done, many actions miss sounds. The voice actors on the other hand are great giving you a nice medieval vibe... the combat sounds are also fairly good, sadly combat is so short you never really get to enjoy them much. The sounds of various buildings are also acceptable but never good enough for you to care about them. The weather sounds are particularly badly done, with nearly no ambient sounds at all to be heard. Rain looks more or less like rain but sadly it never feels like rain...

#Gameplay Stronghold 3 has technically 4 modes - Freebuild - Historical Battles - ECO Campaign - WAR Campaign

Alas, there is only 2 maps on Freebuild and you can't trigger Invasions or random events. Historical battles let you experience the whole broken-ess of the combat system. ECO campaign lets you follow the adventures of a princess that is trying to rebuild a ravaged country (more or less strictly economicly ,p) WAR campaign does what you think it does.. story driven missions with little story and lots of glitches.

Without patches, only eco and freebuild are playable as there is a crash-bug in the war campaign on mission 10 ~.~

As a city-builder its fairly decent economy wise, you got wood, stone and food mechanics as usual in Stronghold as well as weapon production, religion and ale. This all works like in SH1 and thus is the best part of the game. Not much else to say about it... if you played SH1 you are instantly acustomed to it.

As a military rts the game is completely broken. You have no attack move, Patrol commands don't work, movement orders are "optional" for many units, which means they sometimes don't move, move somewhere else, or get entirely stuck. This often happens when you order units on platforms or towers. The problems continue on walls as units don't gain protection from walls, and some units can even shoort straight through walls. Walls can also be hacked apart by swords again making them and catapults entirely useless. When units are on ordered on top of towers they also blob together. And speaking of blobbing, you can blob units together in 1 strange blob of units which looks completely redonkolous.

The second problem is the AI... simply put, there is none. All missions are strictly scripted and once you know the AI's attack script you can counter it in dozens of ways without problem. There is no Skirmish mode with AI support and the unit path-finding is.. lets put it like this: experimental.

The third problem of the gameplay, is that the maps are TINY and the buildings HUGE. It gets so absurd that in many missions you are attacking with a barebone settlement. Actual castle vs castle gameplay doesn't even exist (which makes the name Stronghold kinda absurd).

Well yeah, thats about it. The low rating is mainly because of the bugs and glitches (hopefully the review system allows for links). There is hope somewhere that Firefly fixes these issues, but as it is sold here the game is broken.

81

A tale to enjoy

eRe4s3r | Aug. 2, 2011 | Review of Fairytale

Fairytale

#General Ramblings

Theres these odd games around, games that make you rethink what you played in your life. Games that make you remember the "good" age of Adventures and PoC's, or maybe even the Stories of your childhood.

This game is one of these. Fairytale tells a pretty popular mish-mash of old eastern-European tales which will, if you like the genre at all, draw you in like only few other games of this type. Theres not much else to say without spoilering anything, with the exception of the fact that the game is often quite hilarious, sometimes sad and downright evil. (as tales go..)

If you are not a child, then the main driving force behind this game is the nostalgia factor. As someone who's been told these stories playing them like this was an interesting and entertaining experience. Naturally, you should not expect anything that would net other games R18 or M ratings. It remains at all times a more or less light hearted tale which only rarely sways into the grim and dark moods that eastern European tales so often contain.

#Audio

The music is by far the best thing about the audio, it has very catchy tunes, many of which will have you humming along - the music always hits the right tone too though the particular tracks are very short. Still as the game is short as well you'll not grow tired of the music.

The voices are a mixed bag, it really depends on what you expect from voices though. This game approached the VA in a "normal people" style with certain things getting a bit of audio effect tuning, that means no high paid VA and professional voice alikes. Nevertheless the voices for the 2 main characters are quite well done and will not make you bring out the pitch forks. The other voices are acceptable and never bad enough to make you cringe.

#Graphics Now, the graphics are cruel. Not in a "low res" kind of way, but literally cruel, sloppy done, and pixeletion due to the technical (scaling) reasons is abound. Theres very few scenes where you say "wow" which is really a mystery to me, even children would appreciate nice looking and detailed backdrops and as the game has so few of them there was no reason to skimp on this.

The game also employs, very rarely i might add, animated transitions, for some reason ONLY in 1 place in the entire game, but there everywhere. These are ok. Still, if you look for nice graphics you might continue looking.

#Conclusion While i had to choose a score, the reality is this game is 100% dependant on you. If you played Point and Click games back yonder AND find eastern european tales interesting then give this game a try. With the trade-in system here you won't regret it (much) in any way.