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CastleStorm: Definitive Edition Reviewed by Cyril Lachel on . With an equal amount of action and strategy, CastleStorm is unlike anything I've seen before. Between commanding an army, firing projectiles and trying to destroy the enemy castle, Zen Studio's newest PS4 game can sometimes feel like a juggling act. But even with everything going on at once, CastleStorm is rarely frustrating and always funny. Not since Rampart has destroying castle been this much fun. Rating: 78%
CastleStorm: Definitive Edition
CastleStorm: Definitive Edition CastleStorm: Definitive Edition CastleStorm: Definitive Edition CastleStorm: Definitive Edition
  • Review Score:

  • B+
A week after they brought KickBeat to next-generation consoles, Zen Studios returns with CastleStorm for the PlayStation 4. Dubbed the "Definitive Edition," this brand new port not only delivers a better looking version of the 2013 original, but also throws in both DLC packs and even voice support. The result is a wickedly addictive action/strategy game that is unlike anything else on the PS4.

Best described as a cross between Rampart and Angry Birds, CastleStorm has players battling attacking armies, capturing flags and destroying enemy castles. By mixing fast-paced action with a number of clever strategic elements, Zen's newest PlayStation 4 game is as fun as it is original. So get ready to fling objects at the neighboring castle, because this is war.

CastleStorm: Definitive Edition (PlayStation 4)Click For the Full Picture Archive

At its most basic level, CastleStorm is a game about firing objects at incoming enemies and destroying their home base. We start with arrows that can be aimed at advancing foes and rocks that can be flung at walls. The idea is to kill off the blood-thirsty soldiers before they break down your castle gates and capture the flag.

If all you had to do was aim your high-powered crossbow at incoming baddies, then CastleStorm would be a breeze. But as you've probably already figured out, there's a whole lot more going on than just shooting projectiles. When not keeping the advancing army at bay, you'll spend your time flinging rocks, bombs, animals and other objects at the walls of the neighboring castle. The object is to bring down all of the walls through repeated attacks.

But as cathartic as it is to destroy your enemy's base, it's not the only way to win the match. On top of firing weapons, players can hire a number of different non-playable soldiers that can be used to break down the enemy gates and capture flags. Fighting through the single-player story mode also unlocks other wrinkles, such as a controllable hero unit and powerful magic that can be used against strong foes.

CastleStorm: Definitive Edition (PlayStation 4)Click For the Full Picture Archive

It's easy enough to keep a handle on one or two of these mechanics, but game expects players to balance everything while dealing with increasingly difficult challenges. It's incredibly easy to get so wrapped up in taking down the enemy's walls that you forget to hire computer-controlled soldiers or fire at the guy grabbing your flag. What starts out as easy and manageable can quickly spiral out of control as tougher enemies show up.

The good news is that the game comes prepared, offering players all kids of diverse attacks, soldiers to hire and magic spells to cast. On top of firing arrows and rocks, we're also given the opportunity to toss out homing eagles, a potion of conversion and rocket-propelled sheep. Our troops can range from simple archers to health-giving priest to mounted knight. Best of all, each of these attacks can be upgraded multiple times.

But don't think you can go into these levels ready to use everything you've unlocked, because the game limits the number of projectiles to five. The same goes for magic spells and hiring troops. This means you'll need to weigh all options and choose the best attacks for each battle. Thankfully, having fifteen possible attacks isn't as limiting as it sounds and still leads to a lot of exciting matches.

Not every war plays out the same way. Some missions will have players escorting donkey riders home, while another will involve clearing (and occupying) the local mine. There are also a number of bonus stages, which often involves target practicing and shooting down animals (birds, direwolves, etc.). CastleStorm is constantly finding new ways to take advantage of its unique premise.

CastleStorm: Definitive Edition (PlayStation 4)Click For the Full Picture Archive

All this talk and I haven't even begun talking about the castle editor. Big, tall, fat or reinforced, this surprisingly deep mode allows players to create the castle of their dreams. Not only is it fun to assemble the different rooms, but also see how each one of your troops makes it their own. Despite not being much of an architect, I managed to assemble a home that puts Casterly Rock to shame.

While the combat and gameplay is fun, it's the game's goofy personality that brings the whole package together. It's not just the rooms in your castle that are overflowing with humorous details, but the entire world you're fighting in. What could have been a painfully dull run-of-the-mill fantasy world is brought to life thanks to developers that know how to create a cartoon landscape. It makes me curious what a character-driven story game would look like in the hands of Zen Studios.

As you might expect, this PlayStation 4 version looks incredible. The game has been bumped up to 1080p and locked at 60 frames per second, and the difference is noticeable. And while I'm not a big fan of wearing the glasses, the 3D mode is breath-taking. If every game looked this good, I might be more willing to dust off the glasses.

Much like the PlayStation 3 game, the DualShock 4 controller feels inadequate for high level play. Players can certainly get by using the two analog sticks, but I found the PS Vita version the easiest to control. There's something about the convenience of the touchscreen that makes this game so much easier to manage, and taking this element out makes the game that much more challenging.

CastleStorm: Definitive Edition (PlayStation 4)Click For the Full Picture Archive

While not the main focus of the game, I was happy to discover that the multiplayer did not feel like an afterthought. Both online and off, CastleStorm is perfectly suited for head-to-head fights. And with a leveling-up system in place, it's easy to lose quite a bit of time trying to rack up the wins. The game is a lot of fun with both friends and strangers, and there's a lot of potential to expand the theme through more with sequels.

There aren't many games like CastleStorm: Definitive Edition. By mixing strategy and action, Zen Studios has created a fast-paced experience full of unique projectiles and wanton castle destruction. It also has a great personality that will make you want to see where each battle takes place. I hope this is the start of a long franchise.
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