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Stronghold 3
Publisher Southpeak Developer Firefly Studios Genre RTS Web


Hold everything for some tasty battles

The long-absent scion of Britains most original strategy game series returns, boasting an all-new engine.

ou can often identify the scions of an engine; theres something common to all Source or Unreal games, for example. So Stronghold developer Fireys decision to go with a thirdparty engine, the Settlers Trinergy code to be exact, for the third edition of its multi-million selling fortication franchise must have been a hard decision. But the benets its getting from it are huge. For example, its been able to implement both Havok physics and a custom pathing engine. This allows opposing troops to nd their way past the complex crenellations of a typical Stronghold 3 castle, and means that they collapse spectacularly when attacked. Buildings are much more exible in their layouts, allowing Firey to recreate classic castles such as Dunnottar accurately for the rst time, and to accommodate as many towers, buttresses and aming logs as you need to fend off your foes. Strangely, Firey has also taken the decision to bring in night battles but with a nicely defensive twist. At night only, a fog of war appears dissipated by your troops and peasants wandering about with torches,

by the light from your buildings and by building new constructions such as beacons and watchres that your troops can light with aming arrows. Miss an area and the enemy could be lifting ladders and over your walls in minutes, as returning villain The Wolf does in the rst campaign mission. The limited battles we saw were small affairs: a handful of knights charging through defensive lines (featuring sharpened spikes, palisades, caged war hounds and burning logs), up a slope, to be stymied by walls and picked off by archers. Our favourite touch was the siege catapults that hurled miasmic animal corpses into enemy towns with a choice of a single cow (...and your father smells of elderberries!), two pigs, three sheep or a bag of disgruntled badgers, all of which spread disease when they land. There will be two campaign strands, one solely economic and one military, along with a range of Steamworksenabled multiplayer modes, and historical recreations of famous castles (some taken from Google Maps satellite topography). With all this content and an intuitive map editor for endless variety, Firey just needs to get on and get the damn thing in the shops. Dan Griliopoulos Release me!
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A castle! An actual picture of a castle! Well, fort and palisade, but well take it Tis nought scarier than a dead cow ying towards you out of the darkness

You know what fort did, dont you? Fort fought wrong


The wolf has come a-knock-knock-knockinging on your castle door


September 2011

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Stronghold 3/Torchlight II

Lighting our way to action-RPG glory

Publisher Perfect World Developer Runic Games Genre Action-RPG Web

Torchlight II
The creators of Fate and Diablo reunite to make a co-op, open-world version of their classic dungeon diver; expect pets, grunt massacres and a shed-load of bosses.


Peer to peer co-op is part of the package

In Torchlight, as in life, size means everything for a boss ght Ghosts, skeletons, zombies; the undead

The worlds are large and hugely varied

Most of your enemies die pretty quickly

nly got one idea? Make sure its a good one. Putting together the teams who made Fate and Diablo, Torchlight was a classic action-RPG, a dungeon-crawler so saturated with loot it included a pet whose main role in the game was to go and auto-sell vendor junk in town. Torchlight II dives down again but also pops up and sideways, adding an overworld to link the various dungeons together and (meme of the moment) peer-to-peer co-op. Having got hands-on with it at E3, we can conrm that Torchlight IIs overworlds are huge; we ran through so many changes of clime and scenery during our 30-minute co-op romp that were loathe to focus on any of them. We were playing as the Berserker class a semi-shamanic fast melee ghter who uses animalistic powers while a producer was playing as the agile, fragile Outlander, who seemed to be carrying a portable cannon. Of the other two classes, only the mleoriented Railman has been announced. Thatll be customisable just like the other classes and also available for up to four-player co-op. Most of the enemies, be they spiders, ogres, kobolds or the living dead, died quickly, until we met a boss, which are easy to spot because of Torchlights use of the Warcraft size = strength visual mechanic. This one was at the bottom of a dungeon full of undead (all objectives and locations are randomly located on the Overworld), and hauled his great ogreish form out of a well, before vomiting maggots all over us. He was dispatched, slowly and very, very messily. With this, Diablo 3 and Bastion on the horizon, its going to be a great year for action-RPGs; our only concern will be playing them all. Dan Griliopoulos Dazzling
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If that aint heavy metal I dont know what is


September 2011


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