Stronghold: Warlords – Review
Follow Genre: RTS
Developer: Firefly Studios
Publisher: Firefly Studios
Platform: PC
Tested on: PC

Stronghold: Warlords – Review

Site Score
Good: Easy to learn, Fun for everyone
Bad: Misses some finer touches that would make the game stand out
User Score
(2 votes)
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VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 9.0/10 (2 votes cast)

Sometimes it’s quite hard to find a proper RTS experience with everything that is on offer. Not only is it hard to browse through all the available titles in the genre, but the nuances that each game brings to the RTS landscape also do not make things easier. This time we are having a look at the latest iteration of Firefly Studios’ Stronghold franchise, Stronghold: Warlords. In the game, it’s important to manage your resources properly, while slowly expanding your territory. The added warlords that are scattered along the different maps make things a bit more interesting.


While Warlords has a campaign mode with five different storylines to play through, the story itself is somewhat bland. It serves well as a frame for the actual gameplay, and it gives you an incentive to press forward, but it’s not going to win any Oscars for best story. Each faction has its own small background and a reason to fight its opponents. The formula proves to be quite simple, but effective enough to entice players into playing the campaign mode.


Graphically the game is a bit of a mixed bag. While the maps look fairly detailed and have some nice natural resources to look at, everything does feel a bit dated and simplistic. Of course, keeping in mind you can train massive armies, we reckon keeping the graphics simple was a design choice. The buildings are a bit more detailed and add the proper charm to your hustling and bustling towns. Some combat animations look a bit stiff, and the troops don’t seem to ‘connect’ with each other during battle. The latter is very clear upon zooming in on the action.


The sound design is quite nice. Even though the music may be atmospheric in nature, it complements the events of the game pretty well. The voice acting has a certain ‘accent’ to it, to accompany the East Asian setting. You’ll also hear actual voice acting in the language of your designated troops. The latter gives it a very authentic touch and should actually be done in more games. In most games, you’ll just then get to hear English voice acting with an odd accent.


Stronghold: Warlords is the ninth installment in the Stronghold series where it’s all about RTS gameplay. The game’s offset and mechanics are quite simple, as you choose your faction, start building up your town and your army. You try to take over the neighboring regions by conquering them, as well as overthrow the newly added warlords in this iteration of the franchise. Everything is quite clear and simply handled, where you’re playing in a matter of minutes. We have to say, however, that some base mechanics are not properly covered when playing through the first campaign (even though the game also had a separate tutorial mode).

As the name of the game states, Stronghold: Warlords introduces actual warlords that are scattered on each map. These warlords often come with a few troops of their own, which have to be defeated before overthrowing their rule. Upon defeat, you can claim their respective seat of power and then use it for your own personal gain. Depending on the insignia of the warlord, you’ll get different passive and active bonuses. This system also utilizes the new diplomacy points, which you’ll have to trade in for the active bonuses of the warlords. It’s a bit of extra micromanagement that has been thrown in the mix, especially seeing other players (or the AI) can come and overthrow your warlords as well.

The game’s forte is also its weakness, which actually boils down to the overall simplicity of how the game works. Resource gathering is easily done, managing the finer things of your community is also done with the press of a few buttons and even the warlords system has been handled in a clear and simplistic fashion. This makes the game very accessible to those who are in love with the genre but don’t have the time to go into full micromanagement-mode. At the same time, those thinking the addition of the diplomacy/warlords system will make the game more complex are somewhat wrong. Conquering warlords is easy to do with a proper army, and the bonuses they offer are also easy to manage.


Stronghold: Warlords is a very interesting and amusing RTS game that has easy-to-learn mechanics and proper difficulty settings. While never overly complex, it does take proper management skills to fully flesh out your settlements and armies. Even if you’re not really into the genre, you’ll find a fun and engaging experience in this title. Nonetheless, if you’re looking for something very complex with constant micro-management, this one might be a bit too superficial.

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 9.0/10 (2 votes cast)
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: -1 (from 1 vote)
Stronghold: Warlords - Review, 9.0 out of 10 based on 2 ratings

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