Majesty 2: Monster Kingdom Review
Just when you thought Majesty 2 was ready to bite the dust, it rises from the ashes with yet another expansion pack. Does Monster Kingdom entice players with enough new content to return to the war-torn lands of Ardania and help the King reclaim his throne?
Resuming your role as the King who was overthrown by the Conclave and cast off by his people, with only the trusted loyal advisor still at his side, players start their journey by looking for allies from some very unlikely candidates. Since you can't rely on humans anymore, your quest will take you all across the lands of Ardania in 10 new missions to recruit Goblins, Ratmen, Minotaurs and the like and to ultimately overthrow the Conclave and take back what's rightfully yours.
Thankfully, unlike Kingmaker, all the units and even the buildings are new. Everything down to the marketplace gets an overhaul and looks to fit right in with the monster theme, with pumpkins decorating the outer walls, bloody spikes embellishing the walls and the roof, and the structures themselves lacking the structural integrity to support themselves. Even the citizens of your Kingdom now include Gnomes as workers and patrol guards and vampires as tax collectors. It's humorous and adds to the overall charm that the Majesty series prides itself on.
Other than the new units and buildings, the core game remains identical. Raising structures such as marketplaces for income, blacksmiths for better armor, guilds to recruit your monster units, and defense structures to defend your kingdom from the onslaught of monsters takes over the majority of the game, while placing down flags with a cash reward gives incentive for your units to carry out your wishes. Your highest level monster can then be appointed Chieftain and be summoned in coming missions with high levels intact. The monsters were generally more responsive to my requests, an attribute that eased my frustration a bit when compared with the previous expansion, but one feature that carried over was the insanely high difficulty.
Prepare to be challenged, and that's an understatement. The first mission, though labeled advanced in difficulty, has you thinking that the rest of the game will offer a tough but fair challenge. The missions to follow are definitely tough, but they're anything but fair. I had to replay the second mission alone almost 10 times until I was finally victorious over my enemies. The enemy AI is unrelenting and will constantly send a horde of enemies to your kingdom, and often your defense structures will be reduced to a pile of bricks by the time your units manage to return. In some missions, your objective is also to protect a certain structure from being destroyed. This would be acceptable if the game were to alert you that the structure is under attack, but because of this oversight, I was taken off guard, since up until that point I had been successful. Since every mission is labeled either Advanced or Expert, you will most definitely have your work cut out for you.
While Majesty 2: Monster Kingdom doesn't reinvent any part of the gameplay, the change of scenery and units is appreciated, but in the end you're still playing the same exact game with a new coat of paint. The unrelenting difficulty, arguably even higher than the last expansion's, makes this entry for Majesty die-hards only.