Stronghold 2 The Emperor And The Hermit Review | MOUSE n JOYPAD

Stronghold 2 The Emperor And The Hermit




When it comes to tackling DLC, most game developers take the easy route, as it was set up by Bethesda back in the day, with their ever-so- successful Horse Armour. Some, on the other hand, try to release additional content for free, CDPR being one of the most prominent devs taking this approach. Naturally, things are never black and white to the full, so you’ve also got DLC packs that carefully tread the line between egregious and stupendous. From what I can tell, Firefly are taking this approach by delivering DLC that is both superfluous to some, yet fairly cheap and useful to those who really want to make the most out of Stronghold 2.


Guess we’ll need more than one catapult to get in there…

The same as it was in The Princess and the Pig, The Emperor and the Hermit delivers a package consisting of seven single-player missions, a bunch of unique castle layouts, two new characters to use in multiplayer, some custom shields and 10 new Steam achievements to surmount. As you can see, it’s not an awful lot of content, but considering that this is a fairly cheap expansion, one might argue that it’s worth a look after all. Indeed, I can attest to the fact that those who enjoy the game’s singleplayer missions will find something to enjoy here, although those who focus on multiplayer, may not be interested quite as much.

The two titular characters featured in this piece of downloadable content, the European Emperor who’s fallen from his graces and the zealous Hermit, are arguably the most important feature here, as they bring two new interesting AI routines and castle layouts to the table. Naturally, you’ll eventually have to beat both of them, and thus looking into their weaknesses may well be a good idea.

The Emperor used to be an important religious figure with followers spread all over the world when something happened, turning him into a shadow of his former self. He was excommunicated by the Church, thus getting disgraced in the eyes of his people who now mostly turned against him. Still, he keeps a group of religious zealots close at bay, ready to do his bidding at his behest. His goal is to regain power by any means necessary, and the players will have to foil his plans in one way or another. As expected, the design of his castle reflects his personality nicely. It has a somewhat palace-like flair to it, with nary a few housings for the civilians and a whole lot of forts spread along its walls. With a massive amount of archers prowling about, direct assault is not a smart option. Instead, weakening the Emperor’s infrastructure with catapults seems like a viable tactic, followed by a massive infantry charge, of course. Once you’re inside the castle, it’s smooth sailing though, as there’s little in the way of defenses waiting inside after you’ve breached the walls themselves.

The Hermit is a departure from the classic Crusader mold Stronghold Crusader 2 treats us with for the most part. This is a figure led by zealotry, but one focused on liberating the soil we fight on, instead of claiming it for the Old Continent. His story is that of a religious upbringing, followed by guerilla fighting, only for him now to become an important figurehead in the Middle East. This man leads an army of highly skilled assassins without any pre-existing lineage, authority or anything similar that could act as a status symbol. This means he leads a war fueled by hate, a counter-crusade as it were, so as to oppose the crusaders and crush the onslaught mounted by King Richard. The Hermit’s castles prove to be a more difficult nut to crack than that of the Emperor, strangely enough. He’ll be sporting a double wall for the most part, but with less infantry around to support it. So, while you can chip away at his walls, the Hermit will be free to flank your chippers with his troops during that time. I found the process to be similar to breaking into a bank vault, really, with all the nice, tasty, gooey insides as shiny as ever.

Personally, I much preferred fighting the forces employed by the Hermit, mostly due to this interesting castle-building techniques, but both of the two newly implemented characters come with a fair few tricks up their sleeves. The new skirmish trail is thus a challenging one, and should provide something for you to deal with, should you be so inclined to invest in this DLC.

All in all, The Emperor and the Hermit might not be as flashy as its kin usually is, but it does offer what it promises. Nothing more, nothing less. I suggest looking into buying it if you want to spend more time in Stronghold 2’s skirmish trails, otherwise there isn’t much to look at here, really (the scores reflect the base game, as usual).