Playability: 3/5. Inspired by the previous review given to this map, I downloaded Castle of Ice in anticipation of a perfect siege map. Whilst the map as a whole has some good elements, I found that playability suffers somewhat and found the map to be rather drawn out. If you play on very hard as an attacker, as per the author's recommendations, you are faced with a huge castle, very well defended with over 320 troops, the majority of them archers and crossbowmen. You start the map and immediately come under fire. I don't mind this in a map design, but it can cause frustration as you decide how to attack the castle whilst trying to move your troops out of the way. Any light troops will no doubt be cut down within a short period of time and I decided to tailor my starting troops to give me a fighting chance. This map would have more playability if the enemy troops were of a more diverse nature. I played as a defender briefly, even though this is an attacking map. The enemy troops simply didn't attack my castle and highlights some work required in testing before submission to the site. A victory can be achieved as an attacker, but it can be painstaking, as you use the massive amounts of starting gold and build catapults to literally destroy a way through to the keep, taking out as many of the enemy as you can in the process.
Balance: 2/5. Castle of Ice is indeed a hard challenge. Extremely well defended, it restricts the way you have to attack in order to gain victory. In some ways I quite enjoyed trying to break through the walls and carve a path to the keep. The keep itself is walled in with no gatehouse access, as is the inner/outer bailey area. Huge walls means that siege equipment is required, or alternatively a large army of pikemen or macemen. The latter is not really a viable option, given the large number of defending troops of crossbowmen and archers. They will no doubt hack you down long before you are able to break through the walls. By gradually pumelling through walls and towers, I was able to send through some pikemen to the keep, but this took a great deal of time and patience. Losses were still very heavy as I sacrificed selecting crossbowmen to counter the enemy for pikemen and using brute force. Despite a very good battle that has some good tactical elements, I can't help but feel that this is a very unbalanced map with far too many enemy troops to make this an enjoyable scenario. It can be frustrating and annoying waiting for the moment when you can launch an attack and I would recommend that work is done playtesting this in depth before submitting the map.
Creativity: 3/5. Whilst not a realistic castle or landscape, it serves a function. Break through walls and kill the lord, but nothing more than that. The map would have come alive with a good story or an indication from the author what you are expected to do, or required to achieve for a more enjoyable siege.
Map Design: 3/5. In some ways I like the castle design. It's an irregular fortress set in the cliffs and looks quite mystical. The landscape surrounding the castle is on the bland side and would have really benefitted from more terrain modelling. A good effort nonetheless, but could have achieved a 4 score if more work was put into the design.
Story/Instructions: 2/5. Nothing really there to inspire you to download the map. The author has indicated how the map should be played and on what difficulty level, but with only a few lines and no real story to speak of I can't rate this any higher than 2 and find it bizarre that the previous review has been given a 5.
IN SUMMARY: There are good elements to this map that will keep you interested for a while. A difficult siege, and not a bad map as such. As a sidenote, I would be interested to know how the previous reviewer arrived at a perfect 5 score and would suggest careful reading of the review guidelines and expanded comments to support the generous rating given here.