Majesty 2 is a game that released back in September of 2009, however because two new expansions and the Majesty 2 Complete Collection recently came out I am going to take time and review each game in the collection.
Majesty 2 calls itself “The Fantasy Simulator”. This is pretty much a true statement, the game uses indirect control where you don’t have any direct say in where to move your characters like you do in a normal real time strategy game. This doesn’t matter however, because Majesty turns out to be and engaging and charming experience.
The setting for Majesty is the Kingdom of Ardania, where a demon has taken over rule because of one foolish king. Over the years all of the Kings bloodline has been killed except for you the last remaining heir to the throne. The royal advisor finds you and from there your quest to defeat the demon and retake your kingdom ensues.
Story definitely isn’t the strong point of Majesty, but it does end up as a decent backdrop. The missions are all well thought out and fit in nicely to your overall quest. Though the story may be a bit hollow, the dialogue certainly is not. As I am quickly finding out, Paradox Interactive really likes humorous games. Majesty 2 fits the bill perfectly, and is actually quite funny. From the banter of your heroes and citizens as they go about their tasks, to the descriptions of enemies and their buildings, Majesty is meant to be a very humorous game and it pulls it off splendidly. Before each mission starts, you get a briefing from your advisor, the voice actor and writers do a tremendous job of writing these small sections, and there was more than one occasion that I found myself laughing out loud.
Simulator is indeed the best word for Majesty 2. The only thing you have direct control over is where to place your building and what upgrades to research. In this manner Majesty function much like any other rts. You have four different categories of building to choose from; guilds, economic, defense, and temples. Guilds are where you hire heroes who are your main fighting force, each guild can hold up to three heroes at a time and the different guilds have distinct roles. Economic building are how you build your market, which brings in revenue, as well as other building like a statue of the king, an inn, or an alchemists hut that makes stat boosting potions for your heroes. Defense as you may guess, is where you have upgradable towers that defend your settlements; the trick with this though is that for every tower you build the next one will be more expensive. Temples can only be built on specific places of power on your map. They function to recruit stronger classes of heroes like a paladin. However if you have a temple, you can promote a current hero to a higher level, such as a warrior to a paladin.
Characters go about their business on their own in Majesty, workers go to build the building you have selected, guards man their posts at you palace and towers you have built, and tax collectors go around collecting money for your treasury. Heroes also wander around on their own looking for adventure and buying new equipment. Having no direct control over heroes, you are given various flags to direct heroes to thing that you want done. You can set an explore flag if you want to reveal that part of the map, if you want a wolves den destroyed set an attack flag. Heroes won’t do these tasks just because you set a flag down however, you have to pile gold that you will never get back onto a flag. Heroes decide if they want to undertake the task or not depending on how much gold you put on a flag, in addition different hero classes will respond more quickly to different flags. Rangers will be quick to undertake an exploration quest, and warriors will respond to an attack order the fastest.
Even without having a direct hand in where your heroes go, the system works surprisingly well. Heroes are generally pretty intelligent, and when they don’t have a flag to go to they will wander around exploring small sections of the map or defend your town. There are enemy nests scattered around each map, that produce things like wolves, skeletons, and even werewolves that attack your town. In addition, as your town grows larger you need more sewers for it, from these sewers spawn rats that will attack the closest thing they can see. These systems mean that you town is constantly under assault form something, and it makes you put a focus on defense early on. Balancing defense of your city while managing your buildings and upgrades proves to be challenging, but once you get things really on track it’s a hugely rewarding experience. The different levels all feature unique objectives as well. One may have you laying a trap so you can destroy a rat king, while another requires you to save up 35,000 gold in a limited number of days. Each mission feels distinct, and none of them feel like a rehash of a previous level.
One thing to note is that the difficulty of Majesty really ramps up as you progress through the game. Each level gets subsequently harder, and the last few levels just start to feel really unfair. Difficulty could definitely be a mark against the game for some, but after you beat a particularly hard level you feel like you really accomplished something.
The controls work well in Majesty. You never are confused about what you should be doing, and the simple rts like controls let you easily build, hire heroes, and research upgrades. A nice added feature to the game is the ability to double or increase the speed of the game by five. This comes in handy at times when you are waiting to accrue a large amount of gold, or are waiting for an upgrade to be done.
Even though this is a game from 2009, Majesty 2 still looks decent. The environments all look nice and characters while not intricately detailed, look pretty cool and each of them is animated nicely. It also doesn’t take a lot for you to be able to run Majesty on highest settings.
Voice acting is very good where you hear it. Heroes and civilians will talk once in a while, and they all purposefully sound ridiculous. Your adviser and your enemy on the level is who you will hear the most, enemies also do a good job of sounding ridiculous but the adviser actually does an outstanding job on his voice work. The delivery of his lines is perfect, and the Sean Connery kind of voice fits well for the character. Sound effects generally seem like they are exactly the same as any other rts game, there isn’t a lot of variety in them but they get the job done. Music even though it isn’t used very often, is actually fantastic in Majesty 2. The few tracks that I heard, were really great to listen to and they did a good job of building up the game.
Majesty 2 may be a challenging experience that takes some players a while to get into. However once you do, you will find an engaging strategy experience that can suck away hours of your time. Between great humor, varied levels, and challenging game play, strategy fans can find a lot to love about Majesty 2 and luckily it can be picked up at a pretty cheap price on steam.
*Paradox Interactive provided SlimGamer.com with a promo code for a review copy.