Stronghold Crusader 2: The Emperor and the Hermit DLC – What We Think
The Stronghold series is a survivor of the now comparatively rare RTS genre. With a mixed focus on both military combat and castle building, Stronghold takes a more construction-centric approach than other RTS games, but it also features some traditional warfare reminiscent of Age of Empires. FireFly Studios have been developing Stronghold games for years, and The Emperor and the Hermit is the latest DLC for their most recent title, Stronghold Crusader 2.
Stronghold Crusader 2 advances the gameplay from earlier Stronghold games, most notably the first Stronghold Crusader. You’ll be tasked with building a fortress, providing food for its citizens and organizing resource-gathering whilst also preparing your military for both defense and offense. There’s a lot to keep track of in Stronghold games, but it’s a well-rounded strategic experience that has a sizable following.
The Emperor and the Hermit DLC offers a small but noteworthy bundle of new features to entice fans of Stronghold Crusader 2. The content is themed around the two titular characters, both religious zealots in command of armies of equally zealous followers. New AIs are provided in the form of the two characters, whilst the bulk of the DLC is in the form of seven new missions to play through, featuring the Emperor and the Hermit. In addition to the new mini-campaign, the DLC also comes with new aesthetic castle designs, custom shield emblems and a few achievements.
The missions themselves are well-paced and appropriately challenging. New players would be wise to avoid this DLC until they’ve tackled the rest of the core game, as it’s not for beginners. The AI puts up a reasonable fight in each of the new missions, and the two AI characters build castles that are tough to overcome for the uninitiated. Experienced players who are well-versed with Stronghold will find a rewarding challenge in these new missions.
The Hermit Diet
Unfortunately, the Emperor and the Hermit doesn’t have a great deal to offer beyond the core seven skirmish scenarios. While the new visual options for castles are pleasing, they don’t add to the gameplay, and that is what this DLC is lacking. No new units or gameplay mechanics are offered in this package, so it really just offers more of the same. Hardened Stronghold fans will enjoy playing through new missions against the new AIs, but with the exception of a few neat little extras like the shields and design options, that’s all there is to find here.
Thankfully, The Emperor and the Hermit is a very generously priced DLC pack at just $3.99. At this price point, it’s hard not to recommend this to fans of Stronghold. Whilst seven missions with little in the way of new gameplay may seem bare compared to some downloadable content, the price here certainly reflects the size of the installment. That being said, the seven missions are also quite hard and will likely last players a fair while. The addition of some extra content in the form of purely aesthetic options and new emblems is simply icing on a nicely presented, if rather tiny, cake.
Watch the trailer for Stronghold Crusader 2: The Emperor and the Hermit below: