Majesty 2: The Fantasy Kingdom Sim Review: In All Its Glory
Many moons ago, a small developer by the name of Cyberlore studios created an innovation to the RTS genre; instead of a game where you controlled units that will follow your order without question, you played a role of someone who would, sometimes, influence their actions. The original “Majesty” was set in a stereotypical fantasy setting, where you took on the role of a King, and your job was to make a prospectus kingdom by establishing hero guilds, guard towers, and other necessities to keep your heroes strong, your peasants happy, and your treasury full. Now comes “Majesty 2,” developed by 1C, and published by Paradox, which sticks to the same formula after so many years of “Majesty”’s absence.
Our story takes place 500 years after the first “Majesty,” when the realm of Ardania became unified. During this period, many kings have been honored as great leaders and warriors due to their duties of vanquishing dire threats. However, when King Leonard took the throne, he was worried about where his place in history would be, since there were no more enemies to slay, or challenges to overcome. To confront his worry, he gathered his wizards to summon a demon, which he will slay, affording him an honorable place in Ardania’s history. However, things went wrong, and he was slain along with many subjects of the Kingdom, returning the once peaceful Ardania into realms of chaos.
While the storyline does sound a bit campy, and doesn’t play an extremely huge part in the game, “Majesty 2″ doesn’t take itself seriously. If anything, “Majesty 2″ is more of a parody of the fantasy genre, as it constantly mocks itself, and rolls around in stereotypes like a careless dog. Elves are as annoying as you would expect them to be. Wizards are ridiculously powerful, but don’t have much HP. And, if you’re lucky, a portal to Hell would be only a few feet away from your Kingdom. This is all accented by the narrator, who has returned from the original “Majesty,” as he describes the bits of insanity during and before the missions.
“Majesty 2″ is more than just a standard plot, and parody of the fantasy genre. The mechanics are what makes the game very innovative and enjoyable, even for gamers who are not RTS fans. It’s somewhat a mix of “The Sims,” “Sim City,” and your standard RTS game. You’re the King, and your goal is to establish a worthy Kingdom, and to do this, you need to build hero guilds and recruit them to help with your offense or defense. What makes it unique though is you don’t control these units directly, and being the “heroes” that they are, they will do things if its rewarding (read: gold). You select targets that you want the heroes to explore, attack, or defend and put an amount for the reward. The higher the reward, the more likely a hero is “interested” and will do the task.
Fortunately, there are many ways to accumulate gold in this game. The first is quite obvious, which are taxes, and you will get more taxes if you have a bigger city. The other is by having a marketplace and blacksmith, where you will research new items for the heroes to buy (so a part of that money you gave them for their deeds will eventually come back to you). Besides accumulating gold, you will also need to spend gold to improve the hero guilds. You will research ways for them to use different abilities, spells, and sometimes classes that they can upgrade.
Races also play a vital role in “Majesty 2,” because just like any other stereotypical fantasy game, these races tend to dislike one another. For example, if you gather elves, you won’t be able to use dwarves for your mission. Religion also plays as big of a role as the races, so you will need think carefully about what to construct when you begin your missions, otherwise you might be shutting yourself off from vital strengths from the other races and religions.
While this should sound familiar to the “Majesty” fans out there, what’s new with “Majesty 2″? Not much. The game sticks to the original formula very closely, without getting too ‘creative,’ and for the minor changes made, they are welcomed. One of the bigger, major changes that was made is the party system. In the previous “Majesty,” players would act independently which would sometimes slow down the game since that meant that they would run away often, or not help a comrade in need. With a party system, they act as one unit where they are willing to stay longer in the fight and keep the fast pace of “Majesty 2″ going. The other big change is the Fear and Protect flags, and they sound exactly how they sound. Fear flags force heroes to stay away from a dangerous area, whereas the Protect flags make your heroes defend a certain building/person from harm.
Where “Majesty 2″ falls down is on the graphics and content. Freestyle Mode, a wonderful map generator from the original “Majesty,” is absent. What this means is you’re stuck with a single player campaign and very few scenario missions. Multiplayer is still available, although multiplayer was never been “Majesty”’s strong point due to the unique design of the game. “Majesty 2″ also suffers from extremely dated graphics and framerate issues. While the buildings themselves are nice, the landscape feels rather dull, flat, and empty. The fighting itself isn’t all that enjoyable to watch either, as you see characters perform the same animation in a loop and worst of all, they are fighting ten feet apart.
Despite its flaws, “Majesty 2″ is a great game. While the Freestyle mode will be missed, it is replaced with more polished mechanics from the original and more meatier content. The basics have remained the same so those who feared for the worst can be relieved. This is definitely a worthy sequel to one of the most underrated games and worth checking out.
“Majesty 2″ was developed by Ino-Co, and 1C and published by Paradox Interactive for the PC on September 19th, 2009.