The author is a keen enthusiast of RTS games, eager to try a new one each time he gets spared by the odds of his ever busy life.
Age of Empires 3 and Stronghold Crusaders are perhaps the most popular real time strategy games played today. Just being curious about which one to try to first, here you can have a look at the distinguishing features of each game and then you can decide which one of them is going to be the most satisfying and fulfilling for you.
This is primarily a castle building simulator as its name 'stronghold' suggests, thus much of the game play involves building, besieging, defending and running day to day affairs of a Castle. Players assume the role of a local feudal lord and direct the affairs of their castle. Same choice of troops and buildings is available to both players.
Age of Empires 3
This game is primarily centered around selecting your civilization and then advancing it. You can select your civilization from a variety of choices available. Most of them are from the colonial era such as the British Empire, Spanish, Russians and the Ottomans.
Age of Empires has slightly better graphics in the sense that you can:
- Zoom in to the troops and buildings.
- Rotate your camera.
Both of these features are not available in Stronghold Crusaders but later versions of Stronghold have them. Though you wont be disappointed by the graphics of stronghold crusaders as you can compare in the game-play screenshots below, they are quite reasonable for the hardware acceleration they require.
A good strategy game no doubt must feel realistic in its game play, only then the players will enjoy the true God like feel of a strategy game. Both of the games do sufficiently well in this field but Stronghold Crusader takes the upper edge when it comes to being realistic.
Stronghold Crusader shows a great deal of detail in Castle life, resource gathering and utilization. For instance take these few examples.
- To produce one unit of bread (food), first wheat needs to be grown in wheat farm then a mill is needed to produce flour from it and then a bakery to finally bake milled flour into bread.
- Troops cannot be recruited all of the sudden and appear from nowhere, they are recruited from the civilian populace of the castle.
- To recruit European troops you will first need to produce weapons and breed horses for them.
- All the resources in stock can be physically seen in the granary, armory and the stockpile unlike in Age of Empires where they do not exist physically.
Age of Empire 3 does not show each and every minute detail of town life but every civilizations in the game is shown with considerable historical accuracy. Their special units, siege engine and elite units all have been brought to life from their history even their attacks and powers are also in close resemblance with their actual history. For example:
- The Falconate (type of a Gun owned by British colonial armies) was a much dreaded weapon famous for blowing enemy lines apart. It is shown with similar esteem in the game.
- The Great Turkish Bombard used in the Dardanelles operation is available with its full might with the Ottoman civilization.
It is set in the Medieval castle age when the crusaders were invading Arab lands. Considerable emphasize is placed on the desert environment and warfare scenario, like it was the case with crusaders. Game has two sets of troops Arabian and European, players have access to both.
Age of Empires 3
Set in the colonial era when great colonial empires such as the British and the French empires were rising and those like the Ottomans were falling.
Lets now compare the special features of both games.
The entire focus of Crusaders is castle building, you can select from a number of different towers, walls and gatehouses to build your castle, you can also dig a moat around your castle and place archers on the walls to defend your castle.
A distinguishing feature of the game is that there is a thriving civilian population at the service of his lord (you). People will only come and work for you if your popularity among the population remains above 50 (maximum 100). Popularity of a lord in the game can be determined by the quality of food that he makes available for the population, taxes he charges, religion and various other factors.
Collecting and Rationing Food in Desert
Most of the maps in the game are mostly deserts with small oasis (patches of green land) at some places. Farms can only be placed at the oasis and not anywhere in the map.
All the food grown by the farms is stored in a granary and can be rationed among the populace. (The speed at which the population eats food can be changed at the cost of popularity.)
To recruit a knight for example, you will need to establish a stable to breed his horse, a smelting workshop to cast his armor, and another workshop to cast his sword. All the weapons produced by the workshops are stored in an armory.
Age of Empires 3:
One of the new concepts in Age of Empires 3 is that there is a trade route on each map. This trade route has several trading outpost sprung along its length. Player holding a trade post will get a small free supply of resources via a train or a horse wagon which travels through the route every few minutes (pictured above).
Home city is another new concept, each player has his own home city matching his civilization. Players can call shipments of troops and resources via their home city and carry out researches. Home city increases in level as player's experience increases.
Special Powers of Heroes
Each player has a hero which has some special powers in the game.
© 2014 StormsHalted
TheMexicanLP on April 09, 2015:
Stronghold Crusader truly is an amazing gane because of its unique features, and no doubt the best RTS in my opinion.