Majesty 2 - The Fantasy Kingdom Sim - PC - Review
People are always complaining about micromanagement issues in strategy games, but you’ll never hear it from me. My tendency to micromanage has led to many interesting situations in my family. But I digress. For those who want to liberate themselves and become free of tedious chores like ordering more wood chopped or more pottery sold down the river, Majesty 2 may be just what they desire.
Unlike most strategy games, Majesty 2 has an unusual feature of handling quests by an indirect method of staking flags on certain items and areas in the game to attract heroes. Attaching monetary rewards is the motivator. Essentially, the player will plant various flags of defense, attack, exploration and warning in order to attract heroes to carry out certain tasks. For instance, if there is a bear den that needs taking out, the player will simply attach a flag, set a reward, and then watch and see who answers the call.
Of course, there are other things to do besides hiring heroes. There are many types of buildings that can be built, such as guilds (which will provide the bulk of the units), temples, trade buildings, defense structures and entertainment structures. There is a magic system which can be developed further by research, and heroes can also be improved with more research into skill sets.
Building is fun, and makes the towns look pretty. But, the main strategy in Majesty 2 is about getting the heroes to carry out the necessary quests and tasks. This is easy early in the game, but further down the road it can get a bit tricky because it takes time for the heroes to decide they want to earn that purse of gold, and then to travel across the map to get to the flag. In the meantime, they are constantly harassed by local enemies such as minotaurs, ogres and various other undead creatures. Vicious creatures such as bears and wolves are a menace, as well, but at least they can be somewhat controlled by eliminating the spawning building. The undead buildings and sewers cannot be taken out and so the continuous stream of skeletons and rats has to be endured.
An interesting feature in Majesty 2 is the ability to resurrect dead heroes from the graveyards, for a price, of course. Heroes can also be taken along to the next mission, which makes building up the heroes worthwhile.
The main strategy lies in deciding what type of heroes is essential in the beginning of each mission, and quickly building up the various units. Building the correct guilds in the right order is important for this. In the more difficult missions, it can get pretty tough to finish a mission the first time around, as often the player’s units will get decimated before he or she has a chance to explore and defend certain areas of the map. My advice would be to totally dispense with rangers, and instead always use warriors for exploration, as they can defend themselves much better. Another good idea is to take advantage of the party system and group certain heroes together for optimum attack capabilities.
Another good strategy is to build defensive buildings early in the missions, as the wandering skeletons and the animals will keep coming into the town and attacking the peasants and the buildings.
There are more subtle types of strategy, in that certain types of units will not work together, such as the dwarves and the elves. In some missions players will have to decide which type of unit they will require during that mission.
While these later missions can be tough, they are not impossible and with a few restarts can be managed. The easy money that is earned in each mission also helps with getting things done. Players won’t have to worry about empty coffers in this game; the tax and trade revenue keeps rolling in without much effort.
The voice acting is quite good and features someone who sounds like Sean Connery as the king’s advisor. The spoken dialogue works well, but the accompanying text needs a bit of grammar reworking. The tone throughout the game is lighthearted and humorous. The graphics support this approach and are bright and colorful. The animations are busy and provide something to look at while waiting for the heroes to go about their business.
The graphics are nice enough, but are not cutting edge and don’t require a high-end machine to run. Therefore, it is a bit surprising that there are some serious load times each time this game is started. The game runs quickly enough once begun, but waiting for it to begin is tedious.
The hands-off approach to the units is interesting and adds a new dimension to real-time strategy games, but I have to confess that I would like a bit more control over things, especially the fighting. While I am not a warrior by any means, it would be nice to be able to direct the battles in some manner, rather than watch the heroes slash away in the same style each time. These skirmishes are boring to watch, and are not all that well-designed, as often the heroes and the opposing units aren’t even close to each other when they are supposedly hitting each other.
Majesty 2 is a fun strategy game that can be challenging at times, and is one that real-time strategy fans will be sure to appreciate. The strategy itself is mostly satisfying, but the missions suffer a bit from a lack of variety, so the longevity of the game may be questionable. However, Majesty 2 compares well to other current strategy games and previous Majesty fans will be sure to enjoy it.
Review Scoring Details for Majesty 2 - The Fantasy Kingdom Sim
This is an unusually accessible strategy game in that even novice players can sit down and begin the game easily. The tutorial is designed well and does a good job of demonstrating the basic game features and strategies. It does become a lot harder later, though, but the basic gameplay mechanics are fairly simple. However, it can be said it is a bit too simple, there isn’t a whole lot to do across each mission besides build, hire units and put out flags.
The graphics are nice enough, but nothing to jump up and down about. They fit the fantasy theme well enough.
The voice acting is excellent, the sound effects are good and the overall background music fits the theme well.
The game begins with easy missions, but ramps up the difficulty later.
The hero system is somewhat different than in most strategy games and works for the most part. Having heroes who are independent is interesting and adds a different strategy take on the genre.
Majesty 2 is similar to the first Majesty, which is good news for fans of the game. The graphics have been improved, which isn’t surprising as it has been a while since the release of the first game. The designers seem to have had a good time with the game, and the overall tone is a humorous approach to the world of fantasy in general. There is a good bit of challenge to keep everyone thinking, but not so much that John Q. Public can’t enjoy this game as well. The only drawbacks to this game are the lack of variety in the missions and the sameness of the strategy over time. Most real-time strategy fans will enjoy Majesty 2.