While you can't play the campaign missions in co-op, yet, you can recreate them in the game's skirmish mode. Co-Op in a sense can be played two ways. The first is more traditional comp stomp where each player has their own keep and army but they are teamed up together. The second and more interesting way is two players teamed up controlling one keep.
What ends up happening is a division of labor where one player can focus on keeping peasants happy and supplied as well as building up the defenses, while another can work on building the army and attacking. In the co-op games I played we tended to call out what the plans were and figure out the resources required. If I'd hit a wall while building troops, I'd ask what the status was on the weapon required. Perhaps it was better to buy more instead of wait for them to be made, I'd leave the decision up to my partner because I was too busy worrying about breaking down the first line of defense in the enemy and didn't want to scroll back to town.
The game gives no limits to who can control what, so you can easily switch off duties, take control of individual troops or units, and do just about whatever you want. I think the only change I would have liked to see for co-op would be my partner's mouse cursor, though there is some slight feedback when they complete an action. Overall co-op is a ton of fun and for more complex skirmish missions against multiple opponents it's a great way to make it more manageable and less chaotic.
While I've been having a lot of fun with Stronghold Crusader 2, the game isn't without its problems. While it touts many different types of AI opponents, I haven't seen much difference other than their castle setup, what kind of troops and when they'll send them to attack. I ran into multiple quirky bugs too, though there's already been one patch released and I've seen several fixed. I've seen some path finding issues and just plainly weird AI choices in their strategy.
Overall I've found Stronghold Crusader 2 a great strategy game with plenty of payoff moments and a fun co-op mode that also helps people learn the ropes of the game. While there's quite a few missions available to play, it all boils down to basically the same skirmish style of gameplay. Luckily you can break things up with a sandbox mode that allows you to play LEGO castle builder until your heart's content. I think in the age of Steam games and cheaper digital downloads, Stronghold Crusader 2 feels a bit light for it's $50 price tag, but none the less is a solid and engaging title.
The Co-Op Experience: Players team up to work on the same castle - defending and attacking opposing castles controlled by the CPU. You can also play teams vs the AI.
Co-Optimus game reviews focus on the cooperative experience of a game, our final score graphic represents this experience along with an average score for the game overall. For an explanation of our scores please check our Review Score Explanation Guide.