Пусть огород и не очень эстетично смотрится у здания правительства, зато лидер может смело заявлять, что он близок к народу...

Warlords is the castle of unfulfilled hopes. Review / Games


Genre Real time strategy
Publisher Firefly studios
The developer Firefly studios
Minimum Requirements Intel Core i5-3330 3.0 GHz / AMD FX-6200 3.8 GHz processor, 8 GB RAM, DirectX 11 graphics card and 2 GB memory, such as NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680 / AMD Radeon HD 7970, 6 GB storage, Internet connection, operating system Windows 7 / 8.1 / 10
Recommended Requirements Intel Core i7-3770 3.4 GHz / AMD Ryzen 5 2400G 3.6 GHz, 16 GB RAM, DirectX 12 graphics card and 4 GB memory, such as NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970 / AMD Radeon R9 290
release date March 9, 2021
Age qualification Not installed
Platforms PC
Official site

The Stronghold series, although original, never had enough stars from the sky: only the first numbered part was really significant, but in the future, both direct sequels and branches like Legends or Crusader showed certain absurdities. Either a depressing lack of fresh ideas and uninteresting treading on the spot, or painful technical problems and poor implementation of ideas prevented “Stronghold” from gaining a foothold in the camp of outstanding representatives of the genre. And seven years ago, she went on a long hiatus altogether (except that the whimsical online fun Stronghold Kingdoms brightened up the leisure of the most loyal fans). Therefore, it was not worth pinning special hopes on Warlords either. Although there was still a glimmer of hope for a not great, but not bad RTS project …

Even if the vegetable garden does not look very aesthetically pleasing near the government building, the leader can safely declare that he is close to the people ...

Even if the vegetable garden does not look very aesthetically pleasing near the government building, the leader can safely declare that he is close to the people …

⇡ #Rice and temples!

The foundation of Stronghold: Warlords is purely classic, although it has moved from the foggy British Isles to distant Asian lands. The overlord (alas, you are no longer “my lord”) will have to put the extraction of important resources on stream and at the same time build an unstoppable war machine that will crush the impregnable enemy walls. And in case the enemy detachments move into our patrimony, then it will not be superfluous to rebuild and protect your castle.

For enhanced fortification, of course, you will need a stone, which can be obtained from the quarry, and in the neighborhood, in the iron mines, raw materials for sharp katanas and strong armor. However, the extraction of wood, perhaps, will be a priority – after all, these are houses for peasants, and jobs for hard workers, and bows with axes for ordinary soldiers. And, of course, do not forget that the people have basic human needs. For life, subjects, surprisingly enough, need to eat, and we, accordingly, skillfully manage resources and not allow food to dry out.

Rice is the basis of the diet; vegetables and meat - a pleasant variety for hateful cereals; green tea is almost a local luxury item

Rice is the basis of the diet; vegetables and meat – a pleasant variety for hateful cereals; green tea is almost a local luxury item

After all, the main resource of our empire, of course, is the subjects themselves. The peasants do all the work, from extracting materials and growing crops to turning saltpeter into gunpowder or making bows, axes and swords for the army. And ordinary people are the basis of this very army. So it is better not to anger the citizens – otherwise the reputation will suffer, and with it the population growth. But if everyone has a bowl of rice, shelter, and even a Confucian temple outside the window, then the prestige of the ruler will be correspondingly high, and the population will be increasing.

To maintain the delicate balance of popular contentment and successful development, you will have to learn to juggle different aspects depending on momentary needs – to raise, for example, taxes, but also to increase the portion of rice with tea per person. Or, in the hungry season, when everyone tightened the belt ropes, to cancel the fees and, conversely, give out gold coins to people in the hope that the awareness of material prosperity will cover the disappointment with an empty plate … And if not, the population will rapidly decline, leaving us idle production, without an army and, accordingly, open to any intervention.

A fire on rice plantations is dangerous not only by the death of the crop, but also of all living things in the district.

A fire on rice plantations is dangerous not only by the death of the crop, but also of all living things in the district.

⇡ #War not peace

Of course, Eastern rulers were as inclined to cross the blades of their subjects as the British lords. And different campaigns reflected the identity of the leaders and their military-political ambitions: Toyotomi Hideyoshi is trying to unite Japan; Genghis Khan is busy with non-stop expansion; Qin Shi Huang is trying to end the prolonged bloodshed in the Chinese Empire, while Thuk Fan is trying to defend the independence of his people. The missions themselves offer a standard military routine – the capture of enemy fortifications, defense against non-stop arriving enemy forces, or, for example, an assault with a fixed detachment without the possibility of a tactical retreat and replenishment of ranks at the base. Alas, there are very few interesting situations that dilute the same initial conditions, and the rich historical material is presented in incoherent snatches, which are hardly enough for a motivated passage. With one exception …

The only truly noteworthy campaign in the new Stronghold is “Peace”. Without exaggeration, this is the Warlords diamond. Here, instead of tiresome sieges and hateful raids, one will have to “follow the path of peace and prosperity.” The tasks are appropriate: to restore the destroyed city, to raise the cultural status of the Empire, or, for example, to make a technological breakthrough. Or collect an impressive arsenal, but only for the sake of protection! After all, it will not be possible to completely avoid skirmishes – the encirclement is still very belligerent, but defense is only a small part of the local fascinating socio-economic-strategic puzzles.

Mini-settlements are placed on the maps, the alliance with which promises various bonuses: from the supply of additional resources to military assistance. You can negotiate with them both through diplomacy and by simply capturing

Mini-settlements are placed on the maps, the alliance with which promises various bonuses: from the supply of additional resources to military assistance. You can negotiate with them both through diplomacy and by simply capturing

Each peace mission has a time limit, and in order to complete the task points, it is necessary to meticulously calculate all the variables: the distance from forests and resource points to the warehouse, the order of construction of important buildings, the rate of population growth and possible factors of its fall. And even so, the player is not immune from unforeseen events: either heavy rainfall will flood the lowlands, destroying people and buildings, then a swarm of insects will destroy the crop, then tigers will look into the settlement for a light. And every such incident threatens the failure of the entire mission. But, having coped with the misfortune, there is an unprecedented feeling of pride in oneself and calmness – for the people …

In a word, the economic campaign turned out to be intense, interesting and moderately intense. And her message turned out to be excellent: creation is stronger than the sword, and only through peaceful means can prosperity and harmony be achieved. It’s a shame she’s the only one in the whole game.

⇡ #Middle East

The main and obvious mistake of Stronghold: Warlords clearly manifests itself not in historical campaigns (although alarming notes are already noticeable there), but on the fields of free online battles or battles against artificial intelligence. And it is expressed in the fact that the parties to the conflict differ from each other … only by names, names of rulers and their models. That Japan, that China, that Mongolia – they all have identical buildings, military units and a set of tactical measures. Even in an architectural-visual approach, the sides can hardly be distinguished.

Pop-up messages from faction leaders are somewhat frightening: firstly, by their suddenness, secondly, by the lack of facial expressions, and thirdly, by their dubious relevance.

Pop-up messages from faction leaders are somewhat frightening: firstly, by their suddenness, secondly, by the lack of facial expressions, and thirdly, by their dubious relevance.

This is especially offensive for the Mongols, whose nomadic method of warfare is very mediocre reflected in the campaign and is not at all embodied in the factional features of online / single matches. The key buildings of Genghis Khan correspond to the aesthetics of Chinese architects, and the troops of the Mongol leader can be replenished with a detachment of deadly ninjas and mighty samurai … On the other hand, they are clearly Horde, equestrian, archers are “legionaries” in China and Japan.

Naturally, it makes no sense to talk about the balance of the parties in such a situation – technically, of course, it is flawless, and the outcome of each match depends solely on the player’s skills and the chosen tactics. Whether it is the exhaustion of the enemy by the raids of horse troops, the game through defense and counterattack, or the creation of destructive artillery divisions, to which there are walls, that people are all one. It’s a pity, fighting in such matches is outrageously boring.

⇡ #Stronghold of discouragement

It won’t take long to understand and study Warlords up and down, there are no interesting finds or unexpected strategic opportunities in it. Unless there is an intriguing “fear factor” tab in the construction menu, familiar to all lovers of tyranny in the world of Stronghold. Buildings in this category are a kind of variation of the “carrot and stick” concept, where they propose to build either entertainment establishments or torture devices. “Negative” bonuses will increase the productivity of workers, but weaken the army, “positive” bonuses, on the contrary, will give the troops the agility, but will increase the procrastination of the peasants. Not only is such a functional division somewhat illogical, but in fact, the bonuses for some are too insignificant to sacrifice other, no less important aspects of state governance for them.

Contractions look terribly clumsy up close.

Contractions look terribly clumsy up close.

In battles, one should not expect revelations – neither in a tactical nor in an exclusively spectacular sense. Castles collapse faded, and pieces of walls split right in the air, soldiers in the heat of battle sluggishly scratch their opponents with weapons, and even artillery does not create at least some spectacular picture of war on the battlefield. It all looks lifeless, there is no question of immersion in the world of military strife. Add to this a silly artificial intelligence that allows you to fire at yourself from the flank and does not even try to do something about it, or calmly brings melee units without support under protected walls – and you get a completely mediocre strategy, albeit with good inclinations.

Advantages:

  • a well-developed economic system;
  • exciting peace campaign …

Disadvantages:

  • … but mostly boring military missions;
  • lack of game differences between the parties to the conflict;
  • not the smartest artificial intelligence;
  • poor visual representation of combat.

Graphic arts

The visual aspect turned out to be inexpressive: the effects are not impressive, it is better not to bring the camera closer to the warring models, and the aesthetics of different Asian civilizations were awkwardly blinded together. But the landscapes and the general oriental flavor were successful.

Sound

Warlords sounds better than it looks: in battles, steel clinks appropriately and background melodies play, in villages, peasants express their dissatisfaction with taxes and joy from fashionable shacks, and the adviser copes with his role and even, at times, tries to joke.

Single player game

A truly immersive economic campaign and uncomfortably contrasting military missions that are likely to be abandoned in the middle, if not sooner. Standard battles, due to a completely absent factional identity, will captivate, at best, for one or two matches. The game also features a “sandbox” mode – for the meditative construction of your empire without wars and fuss.

Collective game

Multiplayer battles, like battles against AI, get boring after a couple of fights. Nevertheless, you can still find the game: there are, on average, twenty to forty sessions in the lobby.

General impression

Stronghold: Warlords, alas, does not bring anything remarkable either to the series or to the genre. And apart from a wonderful peace campaign, nothing here will keep you on the screen for more than a couple of hours.

Rating: 6.0 / 10

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