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Stronghold: Crusader 2's Nefarious AIs

Smashing castles down must have been bloody great. Look, ignore the horror of medival warfare, the starvation of sieges, the chaos of battle with poor communication. Pull back from the awfulness and it was essentially about blowing up somebody else’s carefully constructed Lego. Finding the largest possible rocks to throw at your enemy’s walls, inventing ever more ingenious ways to apply blunt force to a reinforced door. Plus: elves actually existed back then.

The Stronghold series and particularly its incoming iteration Crusader 2 are all about that (except the elves, for some reason). In the run up to the delayed release on September 23rd, Firefly Studios have been showing off the various AI characters who will command the opposing forces in its singleplayer skirmish and campaign modes.

The Wolf is a throwback to the first Stronghold game, where he was the main antagonist, and the third where he returned healthily from falling off a tower with a sword through him. Sort of a badass, really, and the series’ final boss. It’ll take a mighty army to pry him out once he’s entrenched.

Crusader 2 also brings the series’ first female commander, the Sultana. She uses small numbers of specialised units to get the job done, which Firefly hope will teach players to deploy counter units rather than trying to spam generically powerful ones.

I’ve never tried the series–always seeming a little on the hardcore-realism side for my StarCraft-addled brain–but these trailers make it look pretty fun. Castle building and layout plays a significant part, rather than just being something to do before you can build an army. Besieging said fortresses looks tactically interesting and spectacularly physics-y too. Plus, honestly, the combination of voice over and background music in this one just made me laugh.

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