Is Stronghold: Definitive Edition, Worth Playing?
Honest Video Game Reviews received a free copy of this title for review purposes, however our opinions are our own.
Stronghold: Definitive Edition is a disappointing remaster of a niche title which fails to make any meaningful improvements to Stronghold’s ageing mechanics, pitiful AI, and glacial pacing.

The Lowdown.

Product Details
Genre: Real Time Strategy
Developer: Firefly Studios
Publisher: Firefly Studios
Price: $14.99
Release Date: 7 November 2023
Supported Modes:

It’s Not Much Of A Remaster.

Remasters are supposed to improve upon the original game meaningfully, not just make it look prettier, and sadly, Stronghold: Definitive Edition just does not live up to that standard.

Pacing is still off, and players will find themselves staring at the screen with nothing to do very often; AI is pitiful, and units throw themselves at one another without the slightest concern for their own lives or the mission’s success.

Even the visuals (which are slightly prettier) look dated, and after playing a truly world-class remaster such as Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition, Stronghold: Definitive Edition feels like the work of dedicated amateurs and not the work of a developer with over 20 years of experience in developing strategy games.

While Stronghold: Definitive Edition is not a bad game, as it maintains much of what made Stronghold (2001) a cult classic, time has not been kind to the franchise, and while it’s still possible to enjoy Stronghold: Definitive Edition in 2023 and beyond, the RTS genre has come a long way since 2001, and without a healthy dose of nostalgia, there is no reason to waste time or money on Stronghold: Definitive Edition.

Is Stronghold Definitive Edition Worth Playing


Stronghold: Definitive Edition has plenty of remastered content for a game of the price, including both a military and economic campaign, ensuring that warriors and builders have content to enjoy, and while the singleplayer campaigns pale in comparison to the type of high-quality singleplayer content found in Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition, and it has ironically more in common with the lacklustre Age of Empires: Definitive Edition (a title panned for its poor AI and uninspired singleplayer content), Stronghold: Definitive Edition certainly has enough content to keep the average gamer busy for a few dozen hours.

Remastered content aside, Stronghold: Definitive Edition launches with 14 new campaign missions, with an additional 14 missions to be released as DLC in future, which hopefully will be more interesting and less bland than those found in the base game, but honestly, due to the limitations of the engine, and the lack of creativity shown in both Stronghold: Warlords and the new content created for Stronghold: Definitive Edition, I am not holding my breath.

In addition to the campaign/narrative content, Stronghold: Definitive Edition allows players to attack and defend a wide variety of castles thanks to the fairly comprehensive Invasion, Seige, and Castle Trail modes, allowing players to jump right into the thick of battle without the need to construct buildings or raise an army or assume control of a partially constructed castle, which they can then tailor to their specifications.

Unfortunately, like many aspects of Stronghold: Definitive Edition, some of these additional scenarios are incredibly broken and will, at times, grant an instant win or defeat within seconds of selecting the mission due to misconfigured victory conditions or one humourous case, the lack of an opponent.

Is Stronghold Definitive Edition Worth Playing

Future Content.

Firefly Studios has adopted a Paradox style business model for Stronghold: Definitive Edition, with modest-priced DLC slated to be released alongside substantial free content updates.

I feel this is the perfect business model for the strategy genre and one that has proven successful for many years, with titles such as Stellaris, Crusader Kings II & III,  and Europa Universalis IV enjoying multiple years of substantial free content updates, funded by the sale of fairly priced cosmetic DLC and expansion packs.

Is Stronghold Definitive Edition Worth Playing

Unbalanced & (occasionally) Broken.

Stronghold: Definitive Edition is a strange remaster in that most of the game remains untouched, and that includes exploits, bugs, and pacing issues, while certain aspects have been altered, which ironically break several campaign missions, rendering them unwinnable without resorting to “cheese” (aka cheap or exploitive) tactics.

While I am sure the developers intend to fix some of these issues before moving on to their next title, I would never much like to see these issues addressed before the launch of the first paid DLC, as asking for more money when the base game still has issues will leave a bad taste in many gamers mouth.

Is Stronghold Definitive Edition Worth Playing
Image credit Stronghold: Definitive Edition - Published and developed by Firefly Studios.


Stronghold: Definitive Edition is fairly priced at just $14.99 and does offer a lot of (admittedly dated) content for that price, and while I would never recommend Stronghold: Definitive Edition over Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition ($19.99), both games have something to offer fans of the RTS genre, and for all of its warts, Stronghold is part of RTS gaming history, and after the disaster that was Strongold Warlords, its nice to see the developers returning to the series roots, even if they have dug a little too deep, and left too many issues unaddressed.


Stronghold: Definitive Edition performs ridiculously well on a wide variety of hardware, and I can easily run it at 300FPS on my 5700 XT build; that being said, Stronghold: Definitive Edition is rather ugly like the original release, so limited hardware strain is to be expected.

Is Stronghold Definitive Edition Worth Playing

Dead Multiplayer.

While Stronghold: Definitive Edition rarely drips below 500 concurrent players and hovers around 1500 for much of the day, it appears that the majority of the player base plays solo or in private matches, with the in-game lobby browser often having only one to two open games listed for much of the day.

Last Man Standing.

Stronghold: Definitive Edition is the work of a single coder, with the majority of Firefly Studios working on Stronghold: Unreal, a new title in the series built with Unreal Engine 5; unfortunately, this has resulted in a substandard remaster, which will do little to inspire confidence in Stronghold: Unreal, considering the developer’s poor recent track record and dwindling sales.

Is Stronghold Definitive Edition Worth Playing

Stronghold: Definitive Edition FAQ

Stronghold: Definitive Edition is a real time strategy video game developed and published by Firefly Studios, it was released on 7 November 2023 and retails for $14.99.

Platform Availability.

Stronghold: Definitive Edition is available exclusively on PC.

How Long Does Stronghold: Definitive Edition Take to Complete?

On average Stronghold: Definitive Edition takes between 15 and 35 hours to complete.

  • Main Story: 15 Hours.
  • Main + Side Quests: 30 Hours.
  • Completionist: 35 Hours.

Estimated completion times are derived from various sources and may vary based on the skill level of each player.

Is There Group Finding/Matchmaking Support?

Stronghold: Definitive Edition offers the following matchmaking options:

  • Server Browser

What Peripherals Are Supported?

The following peripherals are officially supported:

  • PC - Mouse and Keyboard.

Is There Any Mature Content?

Stronghold: Definitive Edition is rated PEGI 12+ and contains the following:

  • Violence

Final Verdict.

Stronghold: Definitive Edition is a decent game that offers a lot of content for a modest price; however, much of the content is very poor and repetitive, and unless you are already a huge fan of the Stronghold franchise, desperate for a new RTS to play, or have fond memories of the original 2001 release, Stronghold: Definitive Edition is unlikely to hold your attention for very long.

That being said, there are much worse ways to spend $14.99, and the average gamer will enjoy Stronghold: Definitive Edition, even if they are unlikely to see it through to completion or recommend it to others.

Is Stronghold: Definitive Edition Worth Playing In 2024?

Honest Video Game Reviews has given "Stronghold: Definitive Edition" a rating of 7/10, indicating that it is a good game, that is well worth playing, and while it may have a few shortcomings, the average gamer will enjoy it.

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