Given how important building is to them, it's amazing how unkind most strategy games are to the noble art of construction. Click an icon, pop a little wireframe grid somewhere and boom - there's your neatly pre-fab base. Obviously, you don't want to hang around rotating walls and admiring how happy your workers look in the middle of a war against an unspeakable alien menace that means to extinguish all life, but once in a while it'd be nice to indulge your inner architect too. Stronghold 3, at least, means to indulge the exterior decorator in you.
Castle-building series Stronghold (the first game in which outsold GTA 3… in Germany) has been biding its time for a few years, following a mixed reception to the second game and its UK creators Firefly experimenting with other projects for a while. Now it's back for a full-on third instalment, with the long wait meaning a huge jump in graphical quality. More on that shortly, but perhaps the more important change is a back-to-basics approach.